Why Aren’t You Using Retargeting?

by Avatar in PPC, Technology August 25, 2017

It’s 2017, and Retargeting isn’t expensive.

As I write this, I’m sitting on the Acela Express from Washington, D.C. to New York. A colleague and I are heading to Google’s Advanced Audience Lab to discuss and train on RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) technology. I’m looking forward to the event, and to a drink on MacDougal afterward. As I think about best practices and use cases for retargeting across both Search and Display networks, I’m amazed that more small businesses aren’t taking advantage of this fantastic targeting mechanism. Let’s define retargeting. This is the process by which advertisers can “tag” visitors to a website, then serve ads to those individuals who had previously visited said website. If you have ever added an item to your cart in Amazon and then left the site, only to see ads for that exact item, you have been retargeted. Many of the growing businesses that work with agencies are doctors, lawyers, home services professionals, auto repair experts- all of whom have purchase paradigms that fall into a longer tail funnel than, say, Nike shoes do. In fact, large-scale ecommerce operations can place a value on a site visit alone since purchases are so frequent on their websites. The fact of the matter is that buying a $150 pair of sneakers is a lot easier for consumers to do than scheduling a root canal or replacing a roof.

Retargeting & Long-Tail Conversion Funnels

We’ve all been there. It could be a car repair or a leaky faucet; there are plenty of things that we know we need to get done, but put off for any number of reasons. Maybe we don’t feel like spending the money, or maybe our lives are just too hectic to even schedule an appointment. Many of these cases don’t even fall into spaces in which we have brand loyalty, and this is especially the case for millennials (98% of whom use smartphones to aid purchasing decisions). A major value of retargeting is staying top of mind. Imagine that you’ve already visited the website of the handyman you found online, but you haven’t gotten around to calling yet. Now, you’re seeing ad creative reminding you to do so when you visit your favorite websites & social media platforms, use popular apps, etc. When you finally have the time to book that appointment, which brand is going to be top of mind? One brilliant element of retargeting is that advertisers rarely (if ever) pay for impressions. Since most retargeting ads are served on a PPC (pay per click) basis, you can serve an ad 30 times to someone who as already visited your site, and still only pay for one click. Did I mention that CPC (cost per click) in retargeting is usually far less expensive than it is in search?

Getting Creative

In 2017, saying “retargeting” is like saying “PPC.” It’s a blanket term that refers to a huge number of delivery methods, platforms, and methodologies. There are so many different options out there that there’s almost certainly a retargeting product out there that fits your needs. For example:

  1. Add Remarketing to your AdWords Campaign: “Remarketing” is just Google’s term for “retargeting.” Google Remarketing allows advertisers to serve IAB Sized Ads across the Google Display network.
  2. Use a product like AdRoll to target Users on Facebook: People spend almost an hour per day on Facebook. If you aren’t targeting them there, you could be missing out big.
  3. Running an Ecommerce site? Check out dynamic retargeting. You can use the Google Merchant Center to create a product feed, then retarget users who viewed a specific product with ads for that same product.
  4. Get More out of AdWords: Okay, back to AdWords since we are heading to Google training. Did you know that you can build remarketing audiences using Google Analytics, then use those lists to do all kinds of cool stuff like make bid adjustments within your search campaigns?
  5. IncentivizeYou can even create retargeting campaigns that know how long it’s been since a user has visited your site. Why not incentivize them to return by offering a discount?

…With Actual Creative

See what I did there? Your actual Ad Creative- your visual collateral is hugely important. Visual messaging is tricky, and when crafting a retargeting campaign, it’s one of the most important keys to success. This is one spot where DIYers tend to run into a big brick wall. Although most ad networks will give users the option to craft their own ad using stock images or (shudder) Google’s option of creating image ads that are actually just text, it’s always best to have talented graphic designers on your team. Creating a display ad that simultaneously reminds a user of why they initially visited your site, how you’re different, and why they should return is a deceptively complicated task. Make sure to consider your creative carefully, and don’t hesitate to get professional help for this piece, if not the campaign execution as a whole. Agency help really is a game changer on both sides.

Data, Numbers, Proof

The most important thing about digital marketing of any kind is that it is measurableThe same is true for retargeting. We can measure clicks, engagement, user behavior, conversions, and more for retargeting just like we can for other campaigns. There’s also some fairly good data out there about how effective retargeting is these days. According to Invesp:

  1. 75% of consumers now notice retargeting ads.
  2. In terms of CTR (click through rate), retargeting performs 10x better than traditional display.
  3. Website visitors who are retargeted are 70% more likely to convert on retail websites.
  4. 26% of consumers will return to a website because of retargeting.
  5. 50% of marketers said that their retargeting budget will increase within the next 6 months.

It should be noted that 34.8% of consumers reported being “somewhat concerned” at being retargeted, while 18.87% reported being “very concerned.” We should be aware that there may be some risk of friction in retargeting website visitors, though in many cases the risk is worth the reward. Keep in mind that a lot of friction can be reduced by segmenting audiences by age and ad content, editing cookie windows, setting frequency capping, and more. Consumers are becoming more and more used to seeing retargeting ads, and it may be time for you to re-evaluate your digital marketing plan if retargeting is missing.