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July 09, 2019

Master the Art of Retargeting - A Complete Guide

According to Neil Patel, structuring your approach when optimizing for conversions is likely to double your chances of making a sale. In fact, if 92% of website visitors won't make a purchase, why are more than 60% of companies running less than five monthly tests gauging their conversion optimization?

Most businesses fall into the rut of conducting business without a second thought as to how they could raise their conversion rates. Here are a few facts about websites and marketing overall that could impact your rates:

  • You have eight seconds or less to grab your visitor's attention
  • Only about 4% of your visitors will make a purchase
  • More landing pages mean more leads
  • Product videos have the ability to boost that product's sales by over 140%
  • A mere second's delay in the speed of your site can reduce conversions by 7%
  • A/B testing can point out which of your retargeting methods work best

But what's retargeting? Should your company be doing it? And if so, how?

What is Retargeting?

Retargeting places online ads for the products or services you offer in front of people who recently visited your website. The ads are displayed on other websites like Facebook and websites that participate in the Google Display Network.

Retargeting gives you a second chance persuade people who visited your site to return and perform the desired action, such as making a purchase. The probability of getting a second chance is pretty good. Facebook has over 2 billion monthly active users. The Google Display Network contains more than 2 million websites that together reach 90% of the world's internet users.

Since only about 3% of first time visitors to e-commerce sites make purchases, retargeting is an attractive marketing strategy. Previous visitors to your website who see a related display ad on another website are 70 percent more likely to become customers. And the click through rate of display ads for retargeting is ten times higher than those that aren't.

How Does Retargeting Work?

To prepare for retargeting, you have to install some code on your website. The retargeting platforms you choose to use will provide you with the code and instructions on how to install it. Examples of companies with platforms that support retargeting include:

  • Google Display Network
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Once your website is setup to support retargeting, a tracking cookie (a small file) will be placed in the browser of your visitors. The visitor's activity on your website is recorded in the cookie. If the visitor leaves without making a purchase, retargeting uses the cookie to display online ads to the person on other websites. When the ad is clicked, the person is returned to your website to make their purchase.

Retargeting campaigns work because you're presenting ads to people who have already demonstrated an interest in your brand or products. Your potential customers are probably online everyday. When they are they'll receive your gentle reminder of what caught their interest on your website. It's your chance to reinforce why your brand or product is exactly what they need.

How to Gather the Data for Your Retargeting Campaign

Unlike the ads that appear to users when performing everyday searches in Google or Bing, retargeting ads use data you've collected. The two main methods of collecting this data are retargeting cookies and retargeting lists. Within these two methods, there are a variety of different strategies, such as sequential retargeting, cross-sell retargeting, and page value retargeting.

Both of these methods allow you to hone in on the ads that will work for each specific type of visitor.

Using retargeting cookies

Using cookies to help shape your retargeting audience is the most commonly used method. A retargeting cookie is a tiny piece of code that's placed within your site or landing page. Once you place this code into your site, a cookie is dropped anonymously into the site visitor's browser.

The cookie (Facebook calls it a Pixel) tells your ad provider (like Facebook, Twitter, or Google Ads) if the visitor needs to begin seeing ads from your company.

This type of retargeting guarantees your ads get delivered to individuals who have either been to your website or post-landing page. One of the benefits of this type of retargeting is that it begins instantly. Once this potential customer navigates away from your page, say, to check their Facebook, in the ads section they'll see an ad highlighting your product.

Using retargeting lists

This form of retargeting uses existing customer information. Email addresses are used to show a specific, targeted ad. You collected these email addresses when visitors subscribed to your site's blog - now you want those same visitors to download your newest whitepaper or ebook but they have ignored the pop-up on your landing page. These are the perfect individuals to retarget.

To begin, upload the email address list into the platform you will use for retargeting. The retargeting platform will create an audience by doing its best to match your list of email addresses to its users. Since people often have more than one email address, the retargeting platform probably won't be able to match up everyone in your list.

The audience will begin seeing targeted ads as they're browsing the web. In conjunction with targeted ads, you can send your potential customers a personalized follow-up email to help convince them to make their purchase.

Common Goals for Retargeting

The most important aspect of retargeting is understanding that you're limited to those users who've either landed on your site or specifically provided you with a point of contact - their email address. This number of users won't change unless you drive more people to your site - and you can if you learn how to increase online sales.

What should you do to increase your retargeting campaign's effectiveness, better spend your marketing dollars, and ultimately attain your revenue goals? Two of the most common retargeting goals are ROAS and CPA.

If you want your metrics based on the overall revenue generated by your retargeting campaign, choose ROAS, or return on ad spend. For instance, if your retargeting campaign generates $40,000 in revenue and you spend $20,000 on targeted ads, your ROAS is 4:2, or further, 2:1.

CPA, or cost per acquisition, takes a more conversion-based approach, in that you calculate revenue with the cost of each conversion in mind. If your retargeting campaign cost is $25,000 and it gained 1,250 conversions, your CPA is $20.

In these two examples, it's obvious you want the highest ROAS or the lowest CPA. What can you do to see an ROAS of 4:1? Or a CPA of, say, $5?

Of course, be realistic. Understand the context of your retargeting campaign and its limitations, and in time you'll know what weak, realistic, and ambitious goals look like. For instance, an ROAS of 1:1 would be weak, 2:1 a bit more realistic, and 4:1 or better might be ambitious depending on what you want to achieve. So, what is your aim? What do you want to accomplish?

Determining Your Specific Retargeting Goals

To decide on your brand's retargeting goals, there are some numbers to find that will aid in setting realistic ones. These numbers are the space in which your campaign can operate, such as:

  • Unique Monthly Visits (UMV) - How many unique visitors does your page get each month?
  • Conversion Rate - In the past, how many of your visitors became buyers? This value is the number of visitors who made a purchase divided into the total number of site visitors in one month.
  • Average Value Per Order - The average sale amount is total sales divided by the number of conversions and gives you an idea of potential revenue per conversion.
  • Retargeting Campaign Budget - How much visibility do you want your campaign to receive? The more you spend, the higher your visibility, and vice versa.

So, if your UMV is 150,000 and you have a conversion rate of, say, 3%, which is industry standard, multiply the two and arrive at 4,500 - or the number of conversions you can expect in any given month. When you examine your overall marketing goals, such as emails, social media ads, store displays, and so on, you can discover the percentage of those conversions that have come directly from retargeting campaigns in the past. This figure gives you a starting point for setting realistic retargeting goals for the future.

If you don't invest the time to crunch these numbers, you risk creating unrealistic expectations. For instance, your campaign performed incredibly well, but because you think your numbers are different than they really are, you might think it tanked. It's like trying to drive blindfolded - you think you're on Avenue A traveling to Avenue B when you're actually on Avenue D. You won't reach your destination.

Tips to Spark Your Campaign

So, you've put in the work, created your goals, and came up with some performance projections. You're ready to begin campaigning. Now what? What can you do to ensure your campaigns meet or exceed your projections?

  • Craft Your Message - Your ad's copy should be adaptable. You can make a connection with potential buyers if your message speaks directly to what matters to them.
  • Increase Your Ad Spend - The more money you allocate towards your campaign, the better potential it has. With a larger ad spend, you can try different avenues of ad delivery and reach the visitors most likely to make a purchase.
  • Use Creative Design - Ads that are beautifully designed with corresponding colors can grab a potential customer's attention better than any slogan.

Goal-setting and the implementation of sensible retargeting strategies can set your campaign efforts up for solid performance.

What are Best Practices in a Retargeting Campaign?

Retargeting is a strong digital marketing tool and, as with any tool, you must use it correctly. Some of the best practices in retargeting include:

Caps on frequency

If a visitor has only been to your site a couple of times, it's not necessarily an indication they're looking to purchase. If after visiting they begin to see your ads on every other site they visit, the overexposure can actually harm any chance you may have for a conversion down the road.

Cap the number of times your ad displays, and have a method for discerning the level of interest each visitor has so you won't overwhelm potential customers. A visitor who spent several minutes on your website and viewed specific pages is a better candidate than one who looked at your home page for 15 seconds before leaving.

A typical range of 15-20 ads per month for visitors with a decent level of interest is a good rule of thumb. You should also consider recency capping to make sure your ads aren't showing up every five minutes.

Converted user exclusion

Have you ever made an online purchase, navigated away from the site, and discovered that company was still inundating you with their ads? By serving ads to customers who've already converted, you run the risk of annoying your base. The answer? Exclude converted customers from your retargeting campaigns. It not only saves face - it saves money on impressions.

Now, this doesn't mean to exclude them from retargeting altogether. It simply means not to serve them the same ad that converted them. Once you've convinced a visitor to make a purchase, you can retarget with a brand-new ad. This is your chance to highlight discounts, offer upgraded items, or items that work with something the customer purchased.

Segment your audience

Segmenting your audience depending on the stage of the buying funnel they're in lets you tailor your message to that specific stage. If the visitor only visited once, give them a reason to come back and look again. If the visitor has products remaining in their cart, the cookie dropped into their browser can give them a heads up to return and finish their purchase. The creativity of your ads is up to you, but you should base it on engagement depth.

Targeting based on demographics, geographic location, and context

You can enhance your retargeting strategies by further subdividing your audience based on who they are (male, female, age, and so on), what they do, where they live, and other contextual aspects of their shopping habits. By subdividing this way, you're not wasting your valuable impressions on irrelevant shoppers. You show ads that make sense and save money.

Rotate designs and add A/B testing

You have brilliant copy, a highly actionable CTA, and the most beautifully creative graphic designs in your ad campaign. But, if you don't change it up for months at a time, you'll ultimately see poor results. When a person first sees a campaign ad, it piques their curiosity, but if they continue to see the same ads, those ads become invisible in a sense. Maintain a high level of interest by periodically rotating designs.

How can you discover which ads are performing better for your campaign? A/B testing provides data that informs decisions which result in high-performance ad campaigns. Don't just go with your gut. A/B testing can give you measurable data and results you can act on.

Optimize your designs

Your banner ads might have more to do with your brand's success than any other aspect of your campaign. Quite simply, your ads must be beautiful. You've seen it before: an ad that attempts to showcase every possible aspect of a company with too much copy, too many different colors, or too many different fonts. Providing the requisite resources to your design team means they can craft amazing ad content that doesn't distract the audience from the optimal goal - making a purchase.

This isn't to say that every person who clicks one of your ads will make a purchase, or that those who don't click won't be back. It's all about saying something as creatively and minimalistic as possible. That's the way you'll win attention. If you keep their attention, it can develop into brand devotion.

A retargeting campaign is an incredibly powerful method of generating sales. Master the art of retargeting and you'll enjoy the rewards of customer attraction and retention.

About Eniture Technology

Eniture Technology specializes in helping e-Commerce merchants grow by providing useful information, digital marketing services, off-the-shelf apps that solve common problems, and custom programming services. Please contact us if you need help growing your online business or implementing the concepts presented in this blog post.

Interested in learning more?  Start with our free guide on how to increase online sales, and subscribe to our blog!

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