Retargeting Guide for Dummies

Yaniv Nava
Yaniv Nava
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Have you ever visited a website, and then the next day, while browsing online, you saw an ad for the very same website? Congratulations, you were “retargeted.”

Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is a very common and popular form of digital marketing. It’s an effective way to target people who have already visited your website (which means they have shown some interest in your business or brand).

Because you are targeting past visitors or customers, it’s called “re”-targeting. Think of it as a second chance to convert, up-sell, or retain customers with online ads or campaigns. You can do retargeting in different ways and with different ad platforms, like Outbrain, Google ads, or Facebook ads.

Whichever way you use it, retargeting is an absolute MUST in every marketer’s playbook.

If you are new to retargeting or you want to try it out for your business, we‘ve put together the ultimate beginner’s guide covering all the basics of the “what, how, why, where and when” of retargeting. Plus a few bonus pro tips as well. So don’t wait, start retargeting today!

Retargeting (or Remarketing) for Dummies: The Beginner’s Guide

Retargeting: What Is It?

Retargeting is a type of online advertising tactic in which marketers serve ads to users who have visited their website, or a specific web page, and who have or have not taken a specific action.

Here’s a fictional example: Joan visits the “Shoes R’ Us” ecommerce site, looks at a particular pair of shoes, but doesn’t purchase them. Later, Joan visits another website – say, her favorite entertainment news site. Shoes R’ Us is running a remarketing campaign via an ad network that works with this entertainment site. Joan sees an ad by Shoes R ‘Us featuring the same or similar shoes to the ones she was looking at the other day.

The aim of the retargeting ad is to remind Joan of those shoes she was interested in, and maybe by seeing the ad, she will be convinced to click and make the purchase she didn’t make previously.

Check out this graphic, courtesy of Wordstream, which gives a simple, visual overview of the retargeting process:

Pro tip: You can use first-party data lists from your DMP to create remarketing lists. Here is how to do it with Outbrain.

Why Should I Use Retargeting?

Your website may be attracting lots of traffic, but the fact is, the average conversion rate for first-time visitors is low. According to research on ecommerce sites, the conversion rate is just 1.6 percent. What does this mean? Although you’re getting the traffic, you’re not getting the sales. Remarketing is your best option to capitalize on all that lost traffic.

Targeting people who have already shown an interest in your business is one of the most effective ways to remind them to come back to your site. Retargeting can be used in all verticals and industries, though it is obviously an important tactic in ecommerce. Check out this success story of a European fashion retail and ecommerce chain that saw a 66% increase in conversion rate by retargeting their customers on the Outbrain network.

Pro tip: Use retargeting ads to offer special deals that were not available on the first visit to your site, like a discount coupon, “buy one, get one free”, or some other offer to entice the customer.

How Does Retargeting Work?

It’s not difficult to set up a retargeting campaign for your website. When you create a campaign with a particular ad network, the network will provide you with a small piece of code to add to your website. Every time a new user visits your site, the code will drop an anonymous browser cookie and the user will be added to your retargeting list. When the same user visits another site that hosts display or native ads from your ad network provider, the system will serve your ad to this particular user. This will occur as long as you have an active campaign running.

Pro tip: Every time you start working with a new ad network, the first thing you should do is to add their pixel and start populating audience lists. Here’s how to do it with Outbrain.

Example of Outbrain pixel (code) to add to your website for retargeting campaigns

When Should I Use Retargeting?

When to retarget? That’s a great question – and a tricky one. Some marketers use the “always on” tactic, meaning they constantly run a retargeting campaign for all users who visit their website but don’t convert (ie. don’t make a purchase, or complete a form, or download an asset).

But many marketers opt for a more advanced and personalized approach to remarketing. You can focus your retargeting campaigns according to predefined criteria. For example, you may want to run retargeting campaigns only for visitors who land on certain pages, such as a particular product page, or only for users who visit your website at a certain time of day or year (for example, during a special sales period). It will really depend on your overall strategy, and what you’ve got going on at a given time.

Pro tip: With retargeting, it’s really important to avoid ‘overkill’. You don’t want to risk annoying potential customers by showing them too many ads. Put a cap on how many ads can be seen by each user – no more than two to three a day.

Where Can I Retarget My Customers?

There are a number of different platforms and channels that you can use for remarketing. And here they are:

  • Simple display remarketing – The most simple and popular type of remarketing. Just display an ad to people on other sites after they have visited yours, on display ad networks like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
  • Native remarketingMarketers can re-engage their website visitors with valuable content, recommended across premium publishers in native ad placements.
  • Search remarketingRemarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) is a feature that lets you customize your search ads campaign for people who have previously visited your site.
  • Social media remarketing – Show your retargeting ads to people on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn after they’ve visited your website.

Retargeting is a great way to increase ROI on your ad spend. If your budget is limited, or if you already feel you’ve paid enough for that first click, you can experiment and finetune your approach for retargeting purposes.

Pro tip: Dig into your data and find out which devices, OS and even geo locations bring you the highest conversion rate. Create remarketing campaigns according to these segments, and see how they perform. You may well be able to reduce your costs and increase your conversion rate, at the same time.

The reason why visitors to your website didn’t convert is something you can never really know for sure. Maybe they became distracted and simply left. Maybe they didn’t like the offer. Maybe the offer was outside of their budget range. Maybe they are just browsing now, but plan to purchase in a few months. Whatever the reason, retargeting/remarketing is a great way to keep your business or brand at the front of their minds. Keep giving them reminders and reasons to come back. Eventually, they might! Then you’ll be on your way to generating more leads, conversions and sales for your business.

Feeling more confident about retargeting now that you’ve read our “dummies” guide? Check out these advanced retargeting tips and take your retargeting campaigns a step further.

 

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Yaniv Nava

Yaniv Nava

Yaniv is a PPC Campaign Manager at Outbrain digital marketing team. He previously worked at Google AdWords support team & IBM Digital headquarters in Dublin. When he's not living the PPC world, he loves to surf, play basketball and travel the world.

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