An introduction to retargeting

By Bizclik Editor

Written by Adrienne Erin

Think about your website traffic and analytics reports. Chances are that, barring any outside marketing, your conversion rates fall around the national average for first-time visitors of 2 or 3 percent. Looking at that average, the number might seem okay, perhaps acceptable; but, take the time to examine that figure. On a first visit, 98 percent of customers leave without making a purchase.

Retargeting changes this and puts the control back into the hands of the companies that utilize the practice. Keep reading for more information on retargeting, its success rates and how it works.

What it is

Retargeting is an advertising tactic that serves ads to visitors who leave a particular site when to visit other sites. While other forms of retargeting exist — search retargeting, email retargeting, CRM retargeting and more — site-based retargeting is the most common.

After a visitor leaves a certain site, they’ll see ads for products on the original site around the web — on social media sites, search engines and any other site on which the original site advertises. The goal? Bring users back to complete a transaction by regaining their interest.

How it works

Site-based retargeting works because of cookies. When a potential customer visits a particular website, a cookie is dropped onto their browser. This is accomplished through a few lines of code being added into a website’s framework, requiring little extra effort or knowledge. The cookie saves basic information relating to the visit.

Later, when another site is accessed for which the cookie’s code was written, the cookie is reactivated, alerting the original site to the visitor’s presence on the other site — Facebook, Twitter or Google, for example. This gives the original site the opportunity to bid on a space automatically through controls that have been reestablished while taking only a small fraction of a second to display specific ads to that visitor.

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The statistics

As mentioned above, a first-time web visitor has a 2 percent chance of converting during that visit. Just as interesting is the fact that 72 percent of online shoppers abandon full shopping carts. Left alone, only 8 percent of those shoppers return to complete their transactions; with retargeting, the percentage jumps to 26. The key to bringing them back? Regaining interest.

In a recent study by eMarketer, three out of five survey respondents claimed to notice ads on other sites for products they’ve previously browsed or searched for. The interest is there, waiting to be piqued.

Taken one step further, companies who engage in retargeting have a 147 percent conversion rate on average in certain industries than those who do not with engagement rates 2.5 to 3 times higher than their competitors who use traditional advertising. According to Software Advice, website visitors who return through a retargeted ad are 70 percent more likely to convert.

The numbers are clear: retargeting is an effective, affordable method for raising conversion rates and increasing online sales.

B2B and B2C retargeting

While retargeting started as a primarily business-to-consumer practice, it’s now applicable for business-to-business operations as well. Put simply, all businesses can increase their conversion rates by way of retargeting.

Take Empire CATas an example of a B2B company that could utilize site-based retargeting. Because the company sells heavy-duty equipment to other businesses, it has no need to retarget consumers; they’re looking for businesses. By taking the time to retarget on professional, industry-related sites, Empire CAT will be more likely to attract its target customer — business owners — and to increase its online success.

Custom Car Covers, on the other hand, is a B2C company that markets car covers to consumers. Its target audience would be more likely to be found on social networks and search engines. By creating custom ads based on the products specific customers have viewed, Custom Car Covers will see higher conversion rates by bringing returning customers back to complete transactions.

For B2B and B2C companies, the common trend in retargeting is raising interest where it already exists, demonstrated by previous site visits.

The safety factor

With concerns over privacy at an all-time high, some advertisers are reluctant to use information that users perceive as private to market to them. It’s understandable; however, retargeting is a safe wayto use user data.

Because of the fact that cookies store non-identifying information, including browser information, the date and time of specific website visits and local time zones in addition to other information, nothing personal about the user is retained by the advertiser. This maintains anonymity while giving an edge to the marketer; it’s a win-win situation.

Furthermore, advertisers have complete control, unlike other forms of marketing. A company can control how many times a specific visitor is exposed to an ad, the time frame in which that ad is used and other areas of the practice to ensure ads are displayed in a natural, non-intrusive way.

For companies looking to gain an edge in the online space, while increasing conversion rates across the board, retargeting should be taken into serious consideration. The practice is safe, proven effective and affordable for companies in all industries and of all sizes. Consider retargeting for your next advertising campaign.


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