If you’re a regular online shopper, you’ve probably seen an ad recently for a product or service that you’ve previously researched (or may have even purchased already) and thought, “How did that company know I’ve been checking out their products?” You’re not alone: in fact, 3 out of 5 online shoppers say they’ve noticed ads for products they’ve looked up on other websites. No, these companies aren’t stalking you, they’re just retargeting you.
What is Retargeting?
Retargeting, which Google calls “remarketing”, is the practice of displaying an ad on one website for something viewed or searched for on another site. One key aspect to keep in mind is that retargeting exclusively focuses on people who have already visited your website: so it works best combined with other digital and traditional advertising methods. Retargeting ads are like a digital postcard you send to your favorite customers: implemented properly, retargeting improves the results of all your other marketing channels.
How does Retargeting work?
Just a small snippet of code on a webpage, sometimes called a “pixel”, is required to make the magic happen. This pixel collects anonymous visitor data, including pages visited, time on site, and location, and places an anonymous retargeting “cookie” in the computers of visitors. This cookie leaves a trail of crumbs (get it?) as potential customers surf the web, which can then trigger ads for these same visitors on different websites across the internet, from Facebook to ESPN to the New York Times.
What can Retargeting do for me?
By serving relevant ads, retargeting helps convert window-shoppers into buyers. Generally, only 2% of shoppers convert on their first visit to an online store- they may still be kicking the tires or comparing prices. Most brick-and-mortar businesses would be in serious trouble if 98% of people walked out of the store without purchasing anything – unless those people can be wooed back to the store. Retargeting gives advertisers the ability to stay in front of those people to bring them back and close the deal. Ultimately, by serving ads that are more relevant to each individual, you boost your chances of converting customers and bringing past visitors back to your website.
What are the major Retargeting platforms?
The use of retargeting is steadily increasing across the digital marketing landscape – 71% of marketers spent 10-50% of their budget on retargeting in 2014, according to Akami’s State of the Internet report. There are 3 major players you need to know in order to understand the retargeting industry in 2016, and you’re already familiar with 2 of them: Google and Facebook. The Google Display Network is the largest retargeting platform in the world – a collection of millions of non-Google web properties that all display text and display ads. The ads you see on ESPN’s website or the Weather Channel’s mobile app are delivered via Google’s standard AdWords platform, but retargeted ads in particular are served through Google’s AdChoices program. You can tell a retargeted display ad was served by Google as it will contain a tiny blue triangle in the upper right corner:
Facebook entered the retargeting scene in the summer of 2012 with the launch of their Facebook Exchange program, or FBX. The initial results in the first few weeks were impressive. Within a year, they were astounding: Facebook retargeting ads in the news feed had click-through-rates 21 times higher than standard web retargeting ads, besting the almighty Google at their own game. According to AdWeek, marketers that implemented Facebook to existing display retargeting campaigns saw a 92% increase in impression reach, 9% drop in cost per thousand impressions (CPM), 27% decrease in cost per click (CPC), and 26% increase in click-through rates (CTR).
The last major player in the retargeting industry is one you may not have heard of, but if you’ve spent any time on social media this week, you’ve almost certainly seen an ad that was served by them: AdRoll. AdRoll is the global leader in retargeting services with more than 15,000 customers. When megabrands want to break into retargeting, they contact AdRoll. Why AdRoll specifically? Because they have the most data, and data, like time, is money. AdRoll processes more than 130 Terabytes of ad data per day, which is 90 times bigger than the volume of data of all the stock exchanges in the United States. AdRoll buys ad inventory slots on all of the largest exchanges, and they boast the ability to reach 98% of the internet on their website.
Feeling overwhelmed? An experienced marketing agency can sort through all this retargeting data and help grow yor business. Contact beMarketing today and start sending digital postcards to your favorite customers!