RECAP: Getting Your Brand in front of Bounced Traffic with Retargeting

retargeting to the max

What is Retargeting?

Retargeting is a tactic of online advertising that can help get your brand in front of bounced traffic once they leave your website. If you’re investing in any amount of SEM, SEO, social media or other online initiatives that direct users to your website, then you should be ensuring you’re converting as many prospects as possible.

Often the terms retargeting and remarketing are used interchangeably. The biggest difference between remarketing and retargeting is the strategy that’s used to reach prospects who have left your website without converting or completing an action. Remarketing is a component of CRM and often relies on re-engaging customers with email while retargeting usually relies on cookies serving display ads.

Types of Retargeting

  • Site Retargeting: retargeting based on a user’s interactions with your site
  • Email/CRM Retargeting: retargeting special targeted whitelists based on people you’ve already had contact with
  • Social Retargeting (Twitter and Facebook): retargeting based on a user’s interactions with your brand on social media
  • Remarketing Lists for Search Ads: retargeting that combines a user’s website behavior with their subsequent search queries on Google
  • Search Retargeting: retargeting based on a user’s search behavior

The Current State of Retargeting

According to a comScore study, retargeted ads cause a 726% lift in site visitation after four weeks and can increase conversion rates by 147%. Only 2% of visitors take action on their first visit to a website, leaving a pool of 98% of users to retarget. Rather than seeking out first-time visitors who may or may not convert, retargeting strives to get repeat visitors who are more likely to convert.

However, marketers don’t dig deep enough into their data to determine why customers ended up converting or how long they were in the pipeline prior to taking action. Plainly put, marketers aren’t taking advantage of the power of retargeting campaigns, neglecting to cross-pollinate different data points and apply learnings to other channels. Below we delve into how marketers can leverage retargeting for maximum conversion.

How Retargeting Works

The aim of retargeting is to build lists of users who have already interacted with your brand’s website and acted on a series of events (tracking is key). Once this audience list has been identified, they can be targeted on an ongoing basis as they peruse different sites across the web.  

  • Collect user data: Although an oversimplification, retargeting works by attaching a JavaScript tag to your website. Once applied, your retargeting platform assigns cookies to each website that a user visits, subsequently collecting information and behaviors.
  • Building out lists: Once user data is collected, retargeting and remarketing allows marketers to define and segment their audiences based which pages a user visited. Depending on the platform, you can enrich these lists by segmenting it to target, for example, users who abandoned their shopping cart. Additionally, you can retarget users who had purchased a product or exclude users who have converted.  
  • Creating and building out campaigns: Once your retargeting or exclusion lists have been created, your ad campaigns should correspond to the appropriate list. There’s opportunity to get creative here, especially as it pertains to ad messaging. If you’re an e-commerce website and a user abandoned their cart, then it might be beneficial to retarget the user with a display ad that offers a discount.

Type of Data to Analyze

In order to get intelligence into what type of data you should be looking at, leverage Google Analytics and data points through DSPs that you work with. Consider looking at:

  • What pages people are looking at on your site
  • Past purchase behavior on a site
  • Geographic
  • Spend threshold
  • Type of products a user is interested in

You can then further refine targeting with additional data layers, which can inform marketers on the best approach to make big adjustments against a particular target audience.  

Retargeting Optimizations

Just like with any digital campaign, we highly encourage marketers to employ optimization layers to ensure they’re getting the most out of their efforts. Consider the following insights and intelligence to improve your retargeting campaign’s performance:

  •  Frequency capping and recency: Deciding reach and frequency capping is an important component of retargeting because it accounts for how many times and how often you’re showing an ad based. This is contingent upon the industry your brand is in and the value you place on each visitor. Shoes, for example, have a shorter purchase turnaround while a car/furniture/new home typically have longer cycles. It’s also important to account for exclusion lists so that a campaign doesn’t retarget a user who has already completed the action.
  • Latency: This refers to how long it takes, on average, for users to convert once they’ve visited your site. With this intelligence, you can then start building a threshold or cap and this can help inform different bidding structures to control cost factors.
  • Multi-Messages: As best practice, you should be serving different ad messages throughout the retargeting cycle. This is especially crucial for higher ticket items and industries, such as furniture or car sales. Brands are sometimes challenged with creative costs, but it’s important to have different messages that correspond to where a user might be in the purchasing cycle. Furthermore, each ad message should have a unique landing page that corresponds to the ad’s offering or message.

Best Retargeting Platforms

While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all retargeting platform, each platform offers unique audience reach, bidding costs, advantages, and disadvantages. Below we list three popular retargeting platforms, but you can check out a full retargeting platform analysis here.

  • Google AdWords: Google offers static/normal retargeting, dynamic remarketing, search ads (RLSA), video remarketing and email-list remarketing (also known as customer match). It’s platform easily integrates with existing AdWords accounts to re-engage audiences when they visit sites that are part of the Google Display Network/Google Adsense while browsing on YouTube or using Android apps.
  • AdRoll: At their most basic plan, AdRoll offers site retargeting with both contextual and behavioral targeting capabilities. Known for their transparent dashboard offerings, AdRoll offers a buffet of controls and viewing options. However, their platform is best oriented for site retargeting and contextual targeting versus search retargeting.
  • Retargeter: Retargeter’s platform offers comprehensive retargeting options and solutions, including CRM, search, short tags and email retargeting.  

Final Tips for Retargeting

  • Typically, expect that you’re going to pay a higher price to reach users in your retargeting pool (these are considered higher quality prospects), so you could end up paying three, four or five times as much for someone who’s been to your site before than someone who never has.
  • We recommend that marketers use their first party cookie pool and email addresses for both retargeting/remarketing efforts AND for brand exposure.
  • Be sure to cap your retargeting frequency and exclude users by IP address. Users shouldn’t be served the same ad or message more than two to three times a day.

Applying advanced retargeting techniques against audiences can save significant amounts of money and equate to meaningful increases in performance. However, as a final note, it’s important to monitor the cadence that retargeting ads are being served. While retargeting can dramatically improve a campaign’s performance, serving too many ads can be detrimental to a brand’s image. For more information about retargeting and how it can help your brand, contact andreas@katana.media or refer to the SlideShare below!