You spend a lot of money and effort to drive prospects to your website. But the reality is that perhaps only 2% - 5% of your website traffic will convert on the first visit, regardless of whether your definition of conversion is a product purchase, registration for a service or an event, completion of a lead form, or other action. But what about the other 90%+ who had at least some interest in what you’re offering?
Retargeting (aka remarketing) is a powerful way to keep your brand in front of bounced traffic after visitors leave your website, and to increase conversions. While remarketing is particularly effective for ecommerce sites (where it’s also referred to as shopping cart abandonment marketing), B2B companies can also benefit from using remarketing to improve brand awareness and stay in front of leads during longer purchase cycles.
Here’s how it works.
A user visits Website A, which uses tracking code or cookies to “remember” their visit. After they leave the site, an ad network uses the tracking to show Website A ads on other sites the user visits. The ad network charges for these ads on either a Cost Per Click (CPC) or Cost Per Thousand (CPM) rate.
Tracking codes (cookies or pixel tags) are placed on visitors’ browsers based on the actions they take on your site, and then they are remarketed to, using text and display ads. Unlike pay per click advertising, these ads are displayed on other websites, rather than on search pages. When your tagged visitor goes to websites with available ad inventory, your retargeting provider company will bid on that ad space in real time, and if you win the bid, your ad will appear as the page loads.
There’s a fine line between keeping your brand top of mind and becoming creepy by following prospects around the web like a stalker. Follow best practices to limit the number of impressions using frequency caps.
Not only can too many ads be an annoyance, but when visitors to your site see your ads following them endlessly around the web, it can make them wonder if their privacy has been compromised—even though retargeting codes only contain anonymous data about whether a certain user has visited a site, but not names, IP addresses or other personal information. Also use burn codes to stop serving ads to visitors who have already converted. It’s always better to use a burn pixel than to burn bridges with your customers.
You can vary the ad creative that is delivered based on the specific action a visitor took on your website. For example, branded creative might be shown to someone who simply viewed your home page, while a product ad (showing the same or related items) might be seen by a visitor who viewed specific products on your site.
Consider also using retargeting tags on the blog or articles section of your website so visitors to those pages can also see your ads as they travel the web.
Defining your goals for who and how you want to target will help with vendor selection. There are plenty of remarketing companies out there—AdRoll, ReTargeter FetchBack and Chango to name a few, and Google AdWords alone has a number of different options. Some are self-service while others offer more full service, depending on your needs. When researching companies, ask how wide a network of sites they offer. How much personalization capability do they have? Do they support A/B testing and provide the analytics you need? What type of dashboards and reporting options are available?
Once you do your homework, it’s probably best to use a single vendor at a time. Using multiple companies can lead them to bid for the same spots on the same websites and drive up media costs. It may also be harder to apply frequency caps across multiple vendors.
Retarget quickly, before website visitors forget about you and about what they viewed on your site…but not too quickly. Seeing your ads immediately can make you look desperate, and it doesn’t allow time for slower decision makers to do their research and consider their purchase or action.
Be sure to continue using other inbound and outbound strategies. Retargeting can help increase conversions, but you’ll want to keep driving initial traffic to your site through other channels.
Retargeting can help with website conversions, but you certainly don’t want to annoy the visitors you’ve been successful in attracting to your site. So do your homework and act cautiously in planning your efforts.