Retargeting Dramatically Improves Conversion

retargetingThe term retargeting has been around marketing for some time as a reference to the practice of coming at customers and prospect from new angles. The Internet version of retargeting takes a slightly more modern approach.

Retargeting on the Internet is the practice of delivering customized ad content based on the sites a person visits. This form of site based behavioral retargeting is gaining in popularity with small businesses.

There are number of services that businesses can employ to run retargeting campaigns. They work by tracking (placing a cookie) when someone visits your web site and then delivering ads for your products and services to that same person on the sites they may visit after they leave your site. Your ads are part of an ad network’s presence on these sites, but the firm’s tracking code, installed on your site, is what helps determine that your ad is shown to your site visitors.

The ability to deliver repeated messages to this very highly targeted visitor is getting very strong results for users. Many people visit a web site one time because the saw something that interested them, but they never come back. With retargeting you can create ads that essentially follow the visitor around and gently remind them about why they came to your site in the first place.

Google actually employs this technology routinely to deliver more relevant ads to sites you visit and even ads based on the content of your Gmail emails.

Retargeting is very cost effective tool for small businesses as well because the spend can be so narrowly focused. Creative marketers will also find retargeting as an effective way to segment customers and actions.

For example you can retarget someone

  • who has clicked on a link on a link in an email
  • who visits a landing page from an ad
  • who buys one product and now is ready to hear about the upgrade

Because ads are shown individually to your site visitors, but on many large sites, advertisers gain the added benefit of appearing to be very active and this can add to the impression that a very small business is much larger.

The following services offer retargeting for small business marketers:

The one negative seems to be concerns that the technology used (installing a cookie) is an invasion of privacy and that retargeting is overly aggressive unless you inform visitors that you are installing the tracking cookie. Services are moving to make the practice more transparent, but you should visit your privacy policy if you intend to take this route.

Anyone have any experience with this tactic they would like to share?

Image credit: timlewisnm

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  • charlesneville

    I wrote about Adwords Retargeting a few weeks ago:
    For a while it was looking like a particular advertiser had bought all the ad space on the internet!

  • Rebecca

    Great post. You're absolutely correct – not only is retargeting highly effective, but it's also a significant cost savings. A recent analysis showed retargeting coming in at 20% less than that of site-targeted campaigns. And, to address privacy concerns, there are certain measures (like frequency caps) that can and should be used to avoid oversaturation. Here's an excellent article on how to retarget without being “creepy”:

  • Chris

    As Charles just mentioned, Adwords also provides retargeting abilities, although Google calls it “remarketing.”

    Using Adwords might be convenient, as many businesses are already on the system – although it can be a bit tricky to get remarketing setup. For detailed instructions, you can check out my guide at:

  • Time Clock Software Guy

    We've considered retargeting because we get so much traffic that we'd like to pursue for further interaction. So far we've felt the technology in retargeting is overly aggressive. Frankly, we've agreed it's a little creepy when we’ve had it happen to us. We would not want to risk that negative carrying over to ourthe brand.

    Keith DeLong

  • samirsoriano

    Great writeup. I think that one of the key beauties about ReTargeting is that it, as you said, 'gently' reminds a site's visitors of the brand. On top of building the brand, these gentle reminders of course lead to conversions, but additional value can be found from this as well.

    1. ReTargeting can be used to advertise Facebook Fan Pages ( ). Fan ReTargeting encourages users to like a company's Fan Page with a Facebook Ad unit that highlights a user's friends who already like the brand. Of course, the user has to be logged into Facebook for this to be very effective.

    2. Advertisers can actually ReTarget people who open their emails, not just people who click links from emails. Of course, transparency is always a best practice, and companies like ReTargeter offer great advice to advertisers regarding how to be transparent about it.

    3. Dynamic creatives can be advertised for up-sell and cross-sell opportunitues.

    With all of these use-cases, ReTargeting offers a huge value to SMBs within their budget. Check out this list of great companies, ranging from startup to enterprise, that already use ReTargeting:

  • samirsoriano

    That's totally understandable. As ReTargeting gets fleshed out, ad frequency caps in conjunction with good, subtly branded ads, can be very effective. Check out this great banner:

  • Will Hardison

    Nice article. Retargeting is actually new to me, but I'm very interested to see how it works. Often times, Small Businesses are limited to their financial resources, this technique of retargeting seems to help solve some of the financial issue by allowing smaller companies to appear to have a much larger advertising budget. I'll have to follow the links in the article to learn more.

  • Rob

    Sounds like solid advice. I'm still working on initial targeting, how to heck do you turn tech support and best practices for technology into a successful service/product site! I think retargeting would be highly useful considering repeat clients are much more likely to buy. Nice Apture bar by the way.

  • Reanna

    This must be a hot topic right now cause I just watched a video about this yesterday! I haven't implemented this to my site yet but I have come across this a couple times. I will definitely check out the links to get a move on this.

  • Brad Geddes

    I wrote two long articles on how to do this with Google Adwords Retargeting:

    The first one is a step-by-step set of instructions and the overview of how Google handles retargeting. The second one is how we set up our own campaigns for a new product.

  • ducttape

    thanks Brad – I'll have a look the Google AdWords approach sounds interesteing

  • ducttape

    I think it's worth testing Keity

  • Michael Van Osch

    Interesting marketing tool and once again the key here is your transparency. If you're not open about it, it could backfire on you. As they say, Transparency IS the new marketing.

  • Loularsen

    How effective is this going to be when more and more people are using products like Ccleaner and Glary Utilities to remove cookies?

  • Phil

    Brad….those are really interesting articles… experienced marketer, still many things which we come to know from blogger friends

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