Retargeting techniques that are a must for retailers

For all marketers today the key challenge is to be relevant to customers at every touchpoint. On the web, it’s maximising every opportunity, every dollar you spend.

Of course, one of the most powerful ways to maximise the efficacy of your online display marketing is retargeting which effectively gives you another bite at the cherry. Site retargeting allows you to follow users who have visited your site – but have failed to convert – and serve them timely display ads as they browse other sites.

Dynamic retargeting is more persuasive still by instantly generating an ad that displays the exact item that the user had previously researched. Who hasn’t been influenced by that cunning display ad reminding you about those beautiful heels that you were looking at on ASOS just half an hour earlier?

Yet marketers who limit themselves to these retargeting practices are ignoring the many other powerful retargeting techniques at their disposal which include search, SEO/SEM, email, contextual, engagement, and social.

Search retargeting

Indeed search retargeting, which works more as a prospecting tool, is an increasingly potent option for retailers. Ads served from search retargeting platforms follow a shopper around the websites that they visit long after the initial search results page.

So when a user performs a search on any major search engine, the browser remembers that search term and targets the user with a display ad based on their search terms as they explore other websites. This means you can engage those users who have not yet visited your site, but have searched for terms related to your product portfolio.

For example, when a shopper searches for “designer heels,” and then browses online, through search retargeting the shopper will start to see display ads for designer heels from a particular shoe retailer. Since the shopper hasn’t yet visited the site of that shoe retailer, the advertiser has the opportunity to acquire an entirely new customer.

Just like traditional search, search retargeting takes advantage of user intent. The potency comes from providing display ads within a context that is relevant. The relevancy and recency between the search and the follow-up ad delivers a powerful one-two punch.

By retargeting search users with display ads, marketers can benefit from recency beyond the search engine results page. Furthermore, since search retargeting ads are served on display inventory rather than search engine inventory, marketers can take advantage of choice keywords without the cost of keyword bidding.

As a cost-effective way to prospect for new customers, retailers can benefit vastly reduced cost per click over SEM.

Social retargeting

Retargeting on Facebook Exchange (FBX) retargets ads directly into an individual’s news feed, allowing marketers to place the right ad in front of the right consumer at just the right time. As a retailer, you can benefit from using FBX by retargeting ads to Facebook users who have actually visited your website and looked at a product.

Indeed by all accounts, FBX is delivering exceptional results. AdRoll, one of the world’s largest retargeting platforms, recently analysed more than 1 billion impressions across 547 advertisers running retargeting on FBX right-hand side, FBX News Feed and standard web retargeting. The advertising company found that click-through rates for news feed ads were 21 times higher than for standard web retargeting, and 49 times higher than for RHS ads on Facebook. In addition, the average CPC rate in the News Feed retargeting ads were 54% lower than the cost of right-hand side campaigns and 79% lower than web retargeting.

Hot on the heels of the success at FBX, Twitter announced earlier this month that it is experimenting with ways to make advertising on Twitter more useful. In a trial that is currently running only in the United States, Twitter is allowing brands to retarget website visitors or people who match particular email addresses. Twitter will display promotional content in an individual’s tweet stream if that user has shown an interest in the advertiser.

Email and CRM retargeting

Email retargeting gives retailers the opportunity to turbo-charge their email marketing campaigns with online display advertising. With email retargeting, a user is cookied after opening your email, and added to your retargeting pool which allows you to retarget them with display ads in just the same was as you do with retargeting. This can be a highly effective technique during sales times or for bringing back customers after they’ve abandoned their shopping cart.

With CRM Retargeting, retailers can reengage past customers with online display ads even if these customers have not visited your site in a long time. CRM retargeting allows you to serve display ads to people with nothing more than an email address, and gives you the opportunity to expand your cookie pool and reach consumers during all stages of the purchase funnel.

While retargeting techniques deliver results, it’s important for retailers to know the difference between a helpful reminder and a full scale bombardment. Individuals can be spooked when they see ads suddenly appear for the exact same items that they had been researching, and no-one wants to be chased around the web with the contents of their abandoned shopping cart in hot pursuit.

Simon van Wyk
BY Simon van Wyk ON 26 July 2013
Founder, HotHouse Interactive. Tweet him @Hot_House