by Crystal deGoede*
Retargeting – when online targeted advertising is delivered to consumers based on previous Internet actions that did not result in a past conversion – has become more importunate (persistent) as we continue to increasingly use the Internet to shop, order food, book travel, monitor the news or for pretty much anything you want to do without leaving the house.
It is also becoming more widely used within the advertising arena. With so many similar brands in the market it is hard to differentiation yourself from the other guy, and this form of remarketing can help to successfully convert those lost opportunities.
Oddly enough, after reading Learmonth’s post I was having dinner with my friend Nancy who was “weirded out” by a similiar experience. Ever since she booked a room at Loews Hotel ads for the hotel began appearing on every website that she visited. She is a sales trader so PPC (pay-per-click), Twitter, retargeting, and cookies are not really in her vocabulary. So I thought it would be interesting to research if retargeting is as effective as marketing and advertising professionals believe and how it actually works.
According to Criteo, a company that specializes in scalable personalized retargeting, more than 90 percent of website visitors leave before converting (i.e., making a purchase, downloading a white paper, etc.) Other research has shown that it can take at least seven follow-up emails or phone calls with prospects to actual convert them to a sale. If we are only tracking those visitors that convert on our physical websites, we are simply losing out on a possible sale down the road. Websites these days are optimized for search and have the technology to place cookies on each visitor’s computers to measure the site’s true audience size, but that is only capturing IP addresses most of the time. Then they have us, until we remove all our cookies and empty our cache.
So how do these retargeting customized ads work? When a prospect/client browses your website they become tagged with a snippet of code, which tracks which products they have shown interest in. When they leave the website and begin visiting other pages that’s when the retargeting begins. Banner ads customized to their search on your site start appearing on sites all over the web, from news, social networks, blogs, etc.
Companies that are using retargeting firms, such as Fetchback, in their marketing strategy have seen a 592 percent increase in ROI and conversions up by 94 percent. There are many other benefits to this form of behavioral marketing. It helps streamline all of your campaigns and the frequency of the ads helps keep your brand on the top of prospects minds. (Most services have an integrated feature that allows you to place a limit on the frequency at which the ads appear, so you don’t bomb your potential clients and “creep” them out because everywhere they go they see you.)
Plus, your ads are not static on a particular site related to your industry, which usually does not yield a lot of traffic because that market is already saturated and are either already your clients or know who you are. With retargeting your ads you are only reengaging with new prospects that have already shown interest in your brand; you can focus on what their needs are and manage your ROI.
In short, retargeting helps build your brand and online presence, while increasing the chances of reengaging your audience. It is not going to convert all on its own and has to be used with traditional marketing tactics to be effective. So don’t eliminate your current strategies. It is also important to measure the effectiveness of your retargeting campaigns, ensuring it is worth the investment and that your conversion rates are higher.
There is one downside to the growing popularity for converting leads more efficiently via retargeting and that is the possibility that people may have the choice to opt-out (a do not call list for the Internet) of all behavioral targeting ads. What does that do for brands that are following the rules and not hunting down prospects on the web? We lose the opportunity to generate qualified leads for our sales team and revenue for the company. If you do use retargeting make sure you limit your reach frequency because when people begin to feel harassed and stalked by brands they will opt-out; I would.
Is your organization taking on the strategy of retargeting advertising? If so, how successful have you been with campaigns and reengaging lost prospects? Do you think we should have the right to opt-out of all behavioral targeting ad campaigns or just the irritating ones? Please share your thoughts and ideas with me and the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers.