Two tactics that are getting a lot of attention these days are remarketing and retargeting. These approaches allow us to get back in front of consumers that might have started—but not finished—the shopping process, or even those who never started at all.
Today’s analytics give us the ability to address issues like cart abandonment, incomplete forms, and interrupted visitor experiences by instituting remarketing and retargeting tools as part of our comprehensive online marketing strategy.
Have you ever visited a website and noticed afterwards that you’re seeing ads promoting it everywhere? For big brands, that could just be because they have the marketing dollars to actually be everywhere. But when you visit a dental office’s website in search of a local dentist and suddenly you see their ads displaying everywhere, odds are they’re leveraging retargeting tools.
Retargeting displays online advertisements to users who have previously visited a site. Since an average of 2% of web visitors convert on the first visit to a site, retargeting allows businesses to pursue the other 98% who have shown interest (by visiting) but not converted.
How It Works
When a user visits a website, small bits of information, called cookies, are sent from the website to the computer, and stored in the browser. Cookies remain on a user’s computer until they’re cleared by the user and serve as an indicator that the computer has visited a website at some point, be it hours, days, weeks, or even (if you never clear your cookies) years in the past.
Retargeting services utilize cookies to display your ads to these former visitors as they browse other sites on the web that are in the same ‘retargeting network’ (Meaning they sell digital ad space to the retargeting service).
Rather than attempting to introduce your brand to an indiscriminate percentage of the internet, remarketing reinforces your brand to users who have already had initial contact with it, building recognition faster.
By engaging in retargeting, you can give the user the impression that your brand is indeed ubiquitous. Just don’t take it too far and annoy them - they’ll think you’re stalking them.
Any user who visits your site will see your retargeting ads once they leave, but that little cookie is the only information we have about their visit. Remarketing also focuses on visitors who bailed, but not before providing you with some information first. Most importantly, their email address.
If your site allows users to create accounts for easy payment, shipping and reordering, you have the information you need for remarketing. When a registered user leaves items in their cart, you can contact them directly via email to encourage or incentivize them to finalize the purchase.
How It Works
Whether they got distracted or got cold feet, a visitor to your site began but didn’t finish the shopping process, but made it far enough along that you managed to capture a small amount of information (at very least an email address).
By instituting remarketing, you can get back in front of that potential customer but this time, via email instead of banner advertisements.
One Big Difference
One of the biggest differences between retargeting and remarketing has to do with the stage of the customer’s sales lifecycle. If someone is just getting to know your brand, doing their homework and going through the discovery process, retargeting works great. It will provide multiple touchpoints and push them towards the sales process.
For users who are further along in the sales lifecycle, they’re closer completing a transaction and simply need a little push. These users felt comfortable enough to submit their personal information to you, and remarketing via email will personalize the offer and close the deal.
In the context of a brick and mortar store, retargeting is for ideal for browsers and first time visitors to remind them of your store later. Remarketing is for the person who tried on the clothes, but had to run to pick up the kids, or was waiting until payday to make a purchase.
Here are a few tools worth looking into on the retargeting / remarketing front
As we said, times have changed. Search optimization changed the way we market to audiences by allowing us to get in front of people searching for our product or service. Retargeting and remarketing take things one step further, connecting businesses with the people who actually interact and express interest in their brand.
What are your thoughts?