Not only will you save on your current acquisition costs, but you will increase the number of paid customers you get from any traffic source you are currently using. It is quite common to get a return on investment of x10 (make $10 for each $1 invested) !
So what is retargeting?
In simple terms, retargeting is the process of keeping your brand in the minds of visitors to your website who left without making a purchase or providing you with their email address.
Approximately 2% of visitors will be ‘converted’ into customers.What retargeting can do is ensure that the 98% who leave are not lost forever. In essence, it keeps track of everyone that has visited your site and involves displaying retargeting ads to them as they visit other websites.
Benefits of Retargeting
Instead of losing money by waving goodbye to prospects that failed to complete a transaction, you can use retargeting to win their business and increase your ROI. Here are some quick benefits of retargeting that are worth bearing in mind:
- Advertising click rates are much higher with retargeting than with Google Adwords or Banner Ads.
- As ads are shown to previous visitors to your website, conversion rates increase because these individuals have already shown an interest in your brand.
- Retargeting reaches previous prospects or customers in an extremely targeted way.
- It builds your brand and strengthens customer relationships.
How Retargeting Works
What actually happens is that a small piece of code (also known as a pixel) is placed on your website. Don’t worry, this pixel won’t be seen by your audience nor will it negatively affect the performance of your website.
Every time a new visitor arrives on your website, an anonymous browser cookie is dropped on the computer of your potential customer. Now that these individuals have been ‘tagged’ by the code, you can effectively follow them all over the web.
The main reason why it is so effective is that you are focusing on people who have previously demonstrated interest in your brand. The result is a higher ROI than with other digital marketing channels.
Enough of the theory I am convinced! How do I retarget my site’s visitors?
Retargeting is easy to set up and manage. I would recommend EVERY online business to start collecting an audience (a list of prospect to retarget to) right away. Setting up retargeting will not take you more than 10 minutes.
Steps to setup a retargeting campaign.
- Select a retargeting partner
I have personally used Adroll , Perfectaudience. and Sitescout I’ll discuss my experience with each provider in a moment.
- Generate your retargeting pixel
- Place your pixel onto all the pages of your site.
Just copy and paste the code onto all the pages of your site. Just like you would dd a Google Analytics tracking code on all the page
- Start collecting prospects
That’s it. You’re done. Every time a visitor lands onto a page of your site which has your tracking pixel, he or she will be added to your list of prospects. The retargeting provider you selected will then let you push ads onto them as they visit other websites.
The next stage is to obviously start a display campaign with your retargeting provider. Decide on a maximum daily budget and how much you are willing to pay each time someone clicks on an ad (max CPC) and voila…
You are now able to retarget with your lost customers
As mentioned, I have personally used several retargeting vendors. They essentially all work the same and their business model is to take a commission on top of what they get charged by the sites where your ads will appears.
They buy traffic in bulk and tend to have a better deals than if you were to contact each individual sites and networks directly.
I have noticed that my campaign costs go down over time. I have also noticed that some network are more expensive at first but the cost tend to level off over time, regardless of the provider.
I am unsure what percentage each retargeting provider take (there is a lack of transparency in my opinion) but they do want to keep you in the long term as an advertiser and want you to succeed (i.e. they want your campaign to generate a positive return on investment).
I have had a few instances where my campaigns did not work and after getting in touch with my account manager, my cost per click ‘magically’ went down. I can only assume they have a bit of a leeway when it comes to the mark-up they add to each campaigns.
Adroll: 2 week free trial, very responsive account manager, can retarget pretty much anywhere including on Facebook. Easy to use interface. I did find that the cost of my campaigns were a little bit higher at fisrt than with the other providers. Maybe by 10-15%
Perfect Audience: 2 week free trial, Feels a bit like a copy cat of Adroll. The interface has similarities and is as easy to use. There seem to always be someone to live chat with. Same retargeting inventory as Adroll (pretty much anywhere including on Facebook).
Sitescout.com: This is more an ad network which also allows you to retarget your prospects on 16 ad exchanges around the world. The main advantage is that you have full transparency on where your ads will display and can also buy traffic on sites that other network may not offer (although this is rare). I found that this was the cheapest provider to run ads from. They published a little while ago this great tutorial: http://blog.sitescout.com/2012/01/a-simple-guide-to-retargeting-with-sitescout/
Other retargeting providers:
- Google Adwords (yes, you can retarget your visitors if you run Adwords campaigns. Google calls it Remarketing)
- Dispop (offer a free trial and can design creative)
- Criteo (entreprise level)
Tips and tricks, and lessons learnt
1 – Have a Focused Strategy
Before beginning the process of site retargeting, you need to decide where and when to run your adverts as well as a plan on how long the campaign will run for and how often prospects will see the ads. Here is some information in handy bullet point form:
- Location: Don’t look for an international audience if you are looking for local business. Otherwise, you will pay for PPC advertising for customers that will never make a purchase since they are miles away!
- Cookie Duration: The cookie duration depends on what you are selling. If you are selling enterprise software for example, you could set the cookie duration to 2 months but hotels and businesses that specialise in holidays should set it for a matter of days as most people plan their holidays in that space of time. Continuing to bother them after this point will be seen as harassment.
- Daily Visitor Impressions: You should limit the number of ads seen by prospects to 10 a day or less as a higher number will merely irritate them; especially in an age where ads are everywhere! Additionally, the longer the ‘buying cycle’, the fewer daily ads you expose prospects to.
- Rotation: You should have several different creative and offers in your ads ranging from e-books, to newsletters to a free trial. This is because different prospects will have varying desires and while one may want an e-book, another may only be interested in a free trial. Rotate your ads to see which offer is the most successful.
2 – Audience Segmentation
Once visitors leave your site, it is essential to segment your prospects because they are clearly not all interested in the exact same thing. A handy method of audience segmentation is to divide up your site into areas of interest so you may segment based on industry or type of products you offer.
3 – Test Various creatives
Even the slightest changes to ads can make a significant difference. A rule of thumb used by experts in this industry is to test four different ads to find out which one performs the best.
You can make changes to even the smallest ads by altering the copy, headline, size of ad, background colour, images and calls to action. It will probably be the case where shorter, snappy copy with a clear message wins the day.
Most agencies will run these ads for around 3 months to get a real feel for what works and what doesn’t. Another rule of thumb is to allow a minimum of 500 clicks or 50 conversions per ad to see just how effective it is.
Always test within the largest segment first to see if it performs and if it does, you can then send it to smaller markets.
When prospects haven’t clicked on an ad after 10 impressions, use rotation to give them a fresh message.
If you need creatives to be designed, I can vouch for a company called 20DollarBanners. They are not the cheapest but the quality and the turn around time is excellent.
4 – Attribution
When you are testing your site retargeting campaigns, assigning a value to a marketing activity based on its outcome (attribution) is not always easy.
For example, how do you attribute a conversion from someone who came across your site after a PPC campaign, bounced but ended up converting from a retargeting ad?
Additionally, prospects could convert on your site after seeing the ad but did not actually click on it; how do you attribute that? You can pretty much only give complete attribution to your site retargeting campaign if the conversion came from a prospect clicking on a retargeting pixel.
Retargeting Best Practices
Don’t Change a Winning Formula
Before attempting to retarget, take a close look at the data you have to hand in order to find out the kind of content that is successfully converting visitors and the type of content that is failing. When retargeting individuals, common sense dictates that you use what is already working. Discover what makes your visitors and leads convert and use this information to create a retargeting effort that leads to more conversions.
Look at the behaviour of those that convert AND those that don’t. Important metrics to focus on include how they got to your website, the amount of time spent on the site and any past purchase history they may have. You can use these metrics to figure out where you went wrong and what you did correctly. Check these statistics every couple of weeks to make sure that your material continues to appeal to visitors and drive sales.
You won’t be able to fully understand the types of people you are dealing with until you find out why they are visiting your website in the first place. You may find that those who look at sports websites provide a higher conversion rate than those who look at websites with technology-related content for example. When looking to retarget your content, this is something you need to take into account. Additionally, you will need to look into your customer demographics before proceeding with any retargeting campaign.
Hopefully, it will be clear to you that retargeting involves a lot more than just throwing pixels on your site. There are a variety of techniques at your disposal and each serves its own unique purpose.
When retargeting is used correctly, you can expect a significant boost in sales!