What is retargeting, and how does it work?

Kaitlynn Crane 02/22/16 - 8:27 pm

Let’s talk about one of the industry’s biggest buzzwords: retargeting.

Ever heard of it? We’d guess more than likely. Ever experienced it? We’d say it’s even more likely.

Have you, as a consumer, ever been on a brand’s website looking at a product, and then suddenly, you see ads for that product all across the Internet? Well, that’s retargeting. Those brands have marketing strategies in place to reach the people they believe are the most interested in them, because they’re the people who have already shown an interest.

How do they know who those people are? And how can they reach them so effortlessly? Read on to see what retargeting is all about.

What exactly is retargeting?

In the simplest terms, retargeting is when a brand serves an ad to someone who has previously visited their website. They target them with banner ads and video units across the Internet.

What makes retargeting different?

Like regular display advertising, retargeting is a marketing technique. The objective? Drive traffic to your brand’s website. The difference? With retargeting, you’re solely targeting consumers who have already visited your site. They’ve already had an experience with your brand, and it was probably pretty recently.

On the other hand, with regular display advertising, you’re targeting a much wider range of consumers, who maybe haven’t been introduced to your brand before. Maybe they haven’t even been to your website before. And maybe they’re not even in the market for your products or services. Sure, with regular display advertising, you can target by age, gender, region, interest, income level and more. But with retargeting, you can guarantee you’re only spending your budget on consumers who have been to your website before. With regular display advertising, you cannot.

How do I start retargeting?

Ready to give it a shot? Before you do, make one quick decision: Which viewers do you eventually want to target? Do you want to target anyone who visits any page of your website? Or do you want to target people who visit a certain section or page? Want to only serve retargeting ads to people who put items in their shopping cart, but didn’t actually purchase?

Once you decide, the next step is to place a retargeting pixel on those pages. As users visit those pages on your website, they’ll become part of your audience. Or, in other words, they’ll officially become the people you’ll be targeting. To do so, they’ll be cookied. Then, as they visit other sites in the display networks you’re running on, they’ll be seeing your ads. 

One thing to note: The bigger your audience, the greater your results. So even if you’re not ready to start running retargeting ads, you can start building your audience at no cost. Just place the pixels on your website pages. 

TIP: Add the pixel to every page of your website now—just to start building your audience. When you’re ready to start a retargeting campaign later, you’ll be able to reach more people.

How do I track retargeting?

To see how well your retargeting techniques are working, there are a number of metrics you can look at. Our recommendations? First, check the click-through rate of the retargeting ads themselves. Studies show regular display ads have an average click-through rate of 0.07 percent, while retargeting ads have an average click-through rate of 0.7 percent. (That’s almost nine times more!) Second, check your website visits. See if they increase as your campaign ran. According to a 2015 report from Rezora, brands that use retargeting ads see a 726 percent lift in website visits.

What brands are already retargeting?

This year, 49 percent of major brands set aside specific budgets just for retargeting. Which brands are devoting the dollars? Take a look.

More questions about retargeting? We’ve got more answers. Sound off in the comments below.

Why Brogan?

We are true partners. With a proven track record of delivering strategic marketing expertise, award-winning creative and real-time, data-driven media, we go above and beyond for our clients to get results. We even guarantee you’ll be delighted.