I started in the marketing industry in 2005 as a marketing assistant for a web-based video retailer in Philadelphia. It was a world of print advertising in newspapers and magazines and CPM banner ads on various websites. Fast-forward seven years later and print ads have gone the way of Third Eye Blind (you didn’t think there wouldn’t be a music reference in my blog post, did you?) and display banner ads are slowing down as well.
This, my friends, is the time of retargeting advertising! Case in point: my wife noticed the other day that she had visited a clothing store’s website and then saw a banner ad for that very same store on the next website she visited. I told her that was the genius of retargeting advertising and, as usual, she rolled her eyes and went back to watching that stupid show with the nerds who people think are quirky and cool.
So what exactly is retargeting?
Retargeting is a way to market to a user who has previously visited your site and already has familiarity with your brand and what you have to offer. (My Irish Catholic family would refer to this method as “preaching to the choir.”) Back in the day of CPM advertising, your ads would be seen by thousands of people with very few clicks and even fewer conversions. It was frustrating and, in my opinion, had very little impact. With retargeting, we can strip away all of the users who might know your brand and might care about your product and we go directly to the source. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with going straight to the source, am I right?
How does retargeting work?
Now I know what you’re asking: how the heck do they know what sites users are visiting? It’s easy to set up a retargeting campaign by adding pixels to certain pages (such as landing pages with an offer) or across your entire site. Once a person visits your site, the pixel adds them to your “audience” list, tracking which websites they visit and then fires an ad when someone from your audience visits those sites. Pretty clever stuff!
Why should you add retargeting to your marketing mix?
There are a few people who think of retargeting as creepy; a sort of “big brother”-type marketing that monitors your movement across the web. In a way, they have a point, considering a user is being followed from one site to the next. My counterpoint to this argument is this: in our fast-paced world, people are subjected to so many different ideas, products and companies that it is almost impossible to retain all of the information. Retargeting serves as a gentle reminder of these products and services that are available to you. The products are also relevant, these are after all, sites that people have chosen to go to.
Heads up, at first, you cannot really control where your ads appear. However, you can circumvent this issue by checking your campaigns’ website history and requesting a removal from inclusion on that site in the future. This shouldn’t be an issue as long as you closely monitor your campaign (which you should be doing anyway!).
Looking to get started in retargeting? Check back in just a couple weeks for a few tips on how to launch a successful campaign. Until then, happy marketing!