Retargeting Campaigns: Look Before You Leap

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Retargeting is an exciting feature to integrate into your internet marketing campaign, allowing you to display advertisements to previous visitors to your website.

Retargeting Objectives

Some simple aims of retargeting include:

  • Increasing sales
  • Increasing enquiries
  • Increasing awareness of your brand, products or information on your website

There are a few ways to achieve these objectives by using certain messages within your display ads:

  • Simply remind previous visitors of your brand using your logo, slogan etc
  • Remind previous visitors of specific products, or categories of products they viewed
  • Incentivise return visits to the website by offering discounts or offers exclusive to the visitor
  • Promote sharing of your website by asking previous visitors to share information they read

Retargeting for visitor feedback

There’s another use for retargeting that could help improve overall performance of your website in giving your visitors what they want —Ask for feedback on previous visitors’ experience of your website.

You’ve no doubt been looking through various pages of a website and had a survey window pop-up asking you to answer some questions about your experience. This request for feedback interrupts the visitor whilst they’re trying to use the website. By asking for feedback when they’ve left you may be able to get a more balanced overall view of visitors’ experiences.

By retargeting visitors in this way you also have the chance to promote your brand overall, and by incentivising feedback, potentially increase sales.

Before you retarget

It’s vital that you have answers to some fundamental questions about your website before you start a retargeting campaign. There’s are a few reasons that people found your website in the first place —and a few more reasons why they left without purchasing/making an enquiry.

Here are a few reasons people come to an ecommerce website and don’t make a purchase:

  • products are out of stock
  • pricing is not competitive
  • products they seek aren’t available at all on the website

There are many other reasons beside those above, but at a fundamental level, some visitors won’t convert not only because of aesthetic reasons, such as poor website design, no visual indicators of trust, or lack of “social proof”. The basic needs of visitors have to be addressed.

So it’s not just a case of adding retargeting code to a website and then promoting to every visitor, or every visitor who doesn’t purchase. That might work to an extent, but the conversion rate would be higher if you were able to qualify visitors on a retargeting list.

You can answer these questions already

Provided you are collecting some information on visitor behaviour already, there’s a good chance you can answer some of these fundamental questions.

Look at paid and organic keywords

Analysing keyword information from Google Analytics, or looking at keyword data from AdWords or other paid search platforms can give you insights into the intent of a visitor.

If they arrived on your website searching for a phrase unrelated to your products, there’s no point in retargeting to them.

If they found your site by using a very general search term then they might be worth retargeting to, but you might want to put them on a separate list to others.

Both short- and long-tail keywords are equally conversion-unlikely if your site doesn’t fundamentally give visitors what they’re looking for.

Internal Site Search

Use of internal site search will help you understand how visitors navigate your website. It’s crucial in this situation for finding out if visitors seek products you simply don’t stock.

For example, a visitor arrives on your website via a general keyword such as “power tools”. Then, they use your search field and enter “spirit level”. Perhaps they browsed the power tools first, and then realised they needed a Spirit Level as well. If you don’t stock this product, they are likely to go elsewhere, and probably aren’t worth retargeting to. They may not ever buy from you.

Consider all of the product attributes you find in your internal site search data and see if you are providing all of the products a potential customer is looking for —various brands, size, version etc.

Pricing too high?

This one is a little more straightforward, especially for ecommerce. If your pricing is too high that may be too much of an obstacle for people to overcome before they buy from you, especially if you’re not adding value in other ways (e.g. lower shipping costs, fast delivery, warranty, guarantees).

If you retarget to this type of visitor, you may be retargeting to someone who has already bought the product from another website.

 Landing pages

This may only get rid of a few people from the overall retargeting list, but it will still save you some budget: if someone lands on your ‘terms and conditions’ page, are they likely to buy at all? The same goes for “404 Page Not Found” pages, depending on how visitors arrived there.

If they’re not interested, why would they click an ad anyway?

If you do add every visitor, or every visitor that hasn’t converted, to your retargeting list, then they won’t all click on your advertisements. You could argue that visitors who didn’t find what they were looking for the first time aren’t likely to click on an ad.

However, your ads will no doubt be designed to be clicked on. They should be visually attractive and may still reflect a subject matter the visitor is vaguely interested in. If you use an incentive or offer, especially one with immediacy, then it’s even more likely to be clicked on.

Plus if you’re bidding with CPM bidding then click through doesn’t matter anyway. You’re either wasting money (because you can’t currently give them what they’re looking for, or won’t ever give them what they’re looking for), or you’re doing some slightly more relevant general display advertising, which probably isn’t your general intention.

Retargeting with any budget is a conversion aid. With a limited budget it’s not about getting in front of eyeballs, not a brand building exercise. It should be given the best possible chance of helping your website perform.

Segmentation for a successful retargeting campaign

By segmenting all of your visitors into categories and putting them into separate retargeting lists you are able to give your campaigns the best chance of performing, whatever retargeting platform you’re using.

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