April 11, 2016: There’s been a lot of talk about retargeting lately. Back in mid-2014, Twitter announced that it would implement new ad retargeting options. Facebook provides retargeting — on and off the Facebook service. Especially when used with Custom Audiences, retargeting can be tremendously successful in terms of moving the awareness needle.

Of course, Google’s had retargeting as a standard PPC feature for some time now. So do many 3rd party ad networks.

Retargeting provides an inexpensive way for businesses that want to increase conversion rates and reach. But hold on — retargeting isn’t a panacea, and some businesses may find that their dollars are better spent on other advertising options.

Retargeting Needs Traffic Volume

Here at Didit, we’ve found that purchasers of retargeting should have a few caveats in mind before engaging in retargeting. According to Andrew Galasso, from our client services team, “every client we work with has a different set of products and marketing goals. It’s important to understand that retargeting isn’t a magic bullet. What’s really important is to do anything you can to increase website traffic and volume.  The more traffic you have, the larger cookie pool that you have. More cookies = more volume. More volume means you will deliver hyper-targeted ads to more users. This, along with a well defined retargeting strategy, can better your chances in attaining that long tail conversion. Generating that traffic can come from several techniques. I especially like strong SEO, Email marketing, social media programs that supports PPC campaigns, and anything else that drives customer traffic to the landing page.”

Major and Micro Conversions

Retargeting may result in visitors who’ve abandoned your shopping cart returning and converting on the product or service they viewed before. But retargeting can also be useful in getting visitors to convert on that they weren’t initially interested in when they were in the initial stages of the conversion funnel.  It’s useful to categorize these two types of conversions into Major and Micro conversions. A major conversion is a revenue earning fulfillment of a call to action, such as a purchase or filling out of a lead form. A micro conversion is a marketing-related action that is not a revenue producing or call to action-related act but is still useful, such as signing up for a newsletter or social media engagement that takes place on the site.

Because volume creates the usable cookie pool, more data in the pool will increase the accuracy of your campaigns. Use SEO and social media, content creation, paid media such as PPC, e-mail marketing, and any other methods required to achieve the required volume.

Putting It All Together

Here is a useful 5-step model to use when setting up your retargeting:

  • Specify a set of landing pages for various products and services that you wish to promote. Identify appropriate keywords from these pages.
  • Create content through your blog and social streams centered around these keywords, driving content to these pages. Make sure to optimize these pages, both in general (site navigation, metatags, etc.) as well as specifically towards the keywords you’re promoting
  • Use Google Webmaster Tools to identify traffic trends and see which keywords are driving traffic. Write content and optimize towards these keywords. Measure results via A/B and other testing. Analyze your results, refine, and repeat.
  • Perform a small paid media test with keywords. Test your results, repeat as you increase your cookie pool.
  •  Buy your retargeting on your best performing pages.

Additional Decisions You’ll Need to Make

Now, a number of very important additional decisions need to be made – do you buy run of network (RON) ads or target specific sites in the network? This can affect budgeting and ROI for retargeting. Do you create your own creative for each ad or do you use dynamic creative insertion? If you have a large number of products, individualized creative may be impractical for you. If you’re a niche marketer, specific creative may be necessary to compete.

Above all, you need to identify customer segments for your customers, depending on your products and sales goals, and create an according sales funnel plan. Only by understanding your ideal customer can you map the path that leads to transactions and conversions. (This is where an agency working alongside your in-house team can be of a tremendous help).

Retargeting is best used as leverage – it increases the efficiency of website traffic and boosts conversions, but it needs to function under a solid base of wise social, SEO, paid media, content creation, e-mail marketing and other good sales funnel practice.

Have a question about retargeting? Didit can help.

Didit Editorial