What is Retargeting?
Retargeting (also known as remarketing) can be described as ads based on an interaction with your website.
You look at a pair of shoes online. Suddenly, promos seem to appear everywhere. Nearly every web page, Facebook, LinkedIn.
This isn’t by chance, it’s a planned marketing strategy. A strategy that small to medium sized business owners can easily adopt (also a cost-effective one, may I add).
Like most aspects of marketing, it can be wildly effective or completely abused. It can also be summed up by a cheesy Spiderman quote:
“With great power comes great responsibility.”
Let’s start by looking at the psychology of retargeting before we examine some real-world use cases and how you can get started. Because I’m obsessed with WHY things work, let’s start with the (simplified) psychology behind retargeting:
The Psychology of Retargeting
We’re all overwhelmed with information. For example, it’s estimated the average person sees over 5000 marketing messages per day.
Our brains use selective attention to filter out a vast majority of these messages. Processing all 5000 messages simply isn’t possible.
With retargeting, we’re essentially artificially creating The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. In short, it’s when you stumble across a piece of new information and suddenly notice it everywhere. In most cases, the information has been around you from the beginning. The reason you’re suddenly noticing it is that it has broken through your brain’s selective attention filter. Our brains are excellent at identifying patterns, which is what retargeting is when executed well.
This is why we tend to notice the ad for the pair of shoes, but the other ads are “visual white noise.”
That, my friends, is the huge difference between retargeting and typical “display advertising.” While they commonly occupy the same space on the screen, they’re completely different.
Display advertising is overwhelmingly ignored when the consumer hasn’t had a recent experience with your brand. But when they have? It stands out, and there’s a real opportunity to engage with the prospect.
Ok, so they’ve noticed it. Does psychology tell us anything about whether it’ll influence the consumer’s opinion? Indeed:
The recency effect is also in play, which is our bias that inflates the importance of recent experiences.
While few of us will admit it, our purchasing behavior is absolutely influenced by what we’ve noticed most recently. Noticed being the key word. Simply getting impressions isn’t quite the same thing.
Your prospect needs to feel a little of that Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon.
What are the most popular retargeting platforms?
Traditionally, it’s been display. Recently, we’ve seen a shift to video and social.
Display is executed through what’s called an “ad network.” An ad network is a group of websites who have agreed to dedicate a certain portion of their website to advertisements. A company like Google recruits advertisers and runs an ad exchange, where the advertisers can access this dedicated website real estate for a fee. A few of the leading ad networks are Google AdSense, AdMaven, and Media.net.
There’s also services called “Demand-side Platforms” where advertisers can access and aggregate of the different ad networks. Apparently instantly showing ads on a network of thousands of websites isn’t easy enough for us marketers, so we’ve created a network of networks. A little inception-y, huh? A few of the most popular solutions are Rocket Fuel, DataXu, and BrightRoll.
Social is exactly what it sounds like, ads shown in a person’s social media feed. The top three most popular options are unsurprising: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
For video, the overwhelming leader is YouTube (again, no shockers there), with Facebook likely to quickly make up ground with a new set of video advertisement tools.
So, How Does Retargeting Work? How Do I Implement It?
Implementing retargeting is pretty simple. When you create your desired campaign in a platform like Facebook, they’ll give you a short script to copy and paste between the header tags of your website.
The script will continually collect user data of the prospects browsing your site. You’ll now be able to show an ad to the visitors of any page the script is on.
A couple of the (many) money savings hacks…
“Google Analytics Website 1 Minute Rule”
In Google Analytics, you can create a ‘Remarketing List’ based off quite a few different criteria, such as pages visited, number of pages visited, and time on site. Most people are lazy and simply go with anyone who visited their website. By adding a filter requiring that the user spent 1 minute on your website, you’ll help ensure you’re only marketing to those with interest.
Use ‘Exclude’ Filters
Visiting your careers page can be a big red flag that the traffic isn’t qualified. Consider excluding anyone who visits it.
Exclude Your Office’s IP Address
Who wants to spend money marketing to their employees? By excluding your office’s IP address, you’ll ensure employees aren’t seeing and clicking your ads.
A Handful of Retargeting Ideas You Can Steal…
Think retargeting may be right for your business? If so, click here to schedule a strategy session with me.
If you forget, you may just be seeing an ad reminding you to come back and schedule that strategy session in the not so distant future ;)
I help small businesses find and wow their dream customers.