What exactly is Retargeting on your website?

You have setup your website and are raring to go forward with your website. You have heard of this term “retargeting” from alot of marketers but what exactly does it mean? Here is a quite synopsis of what retargeting actually is.

What is retargeting?

As you would have read from its name, it’s a way by which ecommerce marketers can ‘re-attract’ previous visitors who perhaps abandoned a shopping basket, or who browsed some product pages but then left the site for elsewhere. Basically, trying to “pull back” visitors who have been to your website.

From date of numerous sources estimated only 2% of web traffic converts on its first visit. Retargeting is the tool companies use to reach the other 98%.

How does retargeting work?

It’s a fairly straightforward, cookie-based practice. An invisible JavaScript tag is placed in the footer of a website which leaves a ‘cookie’ in their browser of every visitor.

That visitor will then be targeted with theoretically relevant adverts when they visit other sites. Depending on the laws of each country, sometimes it is required by law to obtain the permission of the visitor to get the cookies.




What types of retargeting are there?

It seems there are many different types of retargeting methods available to marketers, not just ‘site retargeting’ (the display ads on third party websites as discussed above). Here’s a brief overview of other practices:

  • Search retargeting: This is a form of ‘behavioural retargeting’ where a user of a search engine will be targeted with display ads based on their search queries. The searcher didn’t necessarily visit the advertiser’s site previously.
  • Email retargeting: This should be pretty obvious from the name. Perhaps if a basket has been abandoned by a registered user of a site, an email can be sent to the user to say: “Hey, why don’t you come back and buy that stuff you wanted?” There are automation softwares such as Pardot , Hubspot etc that helps to achieve this.
  • Contextual retargeting: Slightly more complicated than site retargeting, but all it really means is that when websites share similar customers, they can partner up to share their cookies. So if a visitor leaves one site and later visits a partnered site, adverts for the previous site will be displayed on the current one. Brands don’t have to pay for highly targeted ads, as chances are the people visiting these similar sites generally have the same interests.


Benefits of retargeting

On a very basic level, every time the potential customer of your site sees the retargeted ad, or retargeted email, this will remind them of their former desire to purchase and possibly steer them back.

Cart abandonment can happen for many reasons. Dodgy UX, hidden shipping costs, excessive security checks. In these cases chances are you won’t get that customer back until you improve the functionality of your site. Therefore the importance of having a good UI/UX for your website.

However if it was a simple matter of an outside distraction, a temporary website crash or a last minute check of the bank balance, then it’s always worth retargeting these customers.

Retargeting also helps to create brand awareness and traction through repeated exposure. This could be the by product in your marketing dollars should it not convert.

The problems of retargeting

There are a few short comings of retargeting and they are mainly listed in the 3 points below:

Effectiveness – There’s also a major practical concern when it comes to site retargeting effectiveness. Data statistic state that 60% of consumers do not remember the last display ad they saw.

Bothersome – Sometimes we land on a website accidentally or we are just curious what it offers. We are never the intended audience/customer. However, because of retargeting, we are always served up ads on the website which we find bothersome and is a waste of marketing dollars to the advertiser.

Increase Cost – Very often advertisers have to set aside a separate marketing budget to do retargeting. This increases the overall cost of advertising. Retargeting in general is relatively cheaper than native advertisements.

Despite its short comings, it is still worth considering retargeting for your website. Statistic has shown that 26% of customers will return to a site through retargeting. This is up from 8% of customers who return to a site without retargeting.

Here are some hints and advice for ads retargeting:

  • Ads shouldn’t be retargeted to any customer who has already purchased that product.
  • Retargeted ads should be tailored to individual customers through segmentation. Just because the website I visited happens to sell slippers doesn’t mean I want to buy slippers. I hate slippers. Target me with graphic novels and obscure horror film soundtracks because that’s what I browsed through on your weird graphic novel and obscure horror film soundtrack website.
  • Don’t hit customers with the same ad over and over for weeks on end. If that customer hasn’t come back to your site after a few reminders they probably never will. In fact that ‘brand recognition’ will turn into something far more negative.
  • Provide a clear call-to-action button in the ad, and upon clicking through, take the user to a relevant landing page or product page,  not just the homepage.

Would like to explore retargeting for your website? Drop us a note and we can help you with that.

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