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What is Retargeting? (Definition, Benefits & How It Works)

  • Andrew FolklerAndrew Folkler

Has something like this ever happened to you?

You are scrolling online and wind up at an online shoe store. You look at a pair of shoes you like but decide not to buy them, telling yourself you already have plenty of shoes. 

So you continue scrolling through the internet and then go on Facebook. And right there in your feed, is an advertisement for the same shoes you were looking at earlier! 

It’s uncanny! It feels like the shoe company is magically following you everywhere you go.

Over the next few days, you see ads for those same shoes everywhere – on different online stores, on social media, and even on some blogs.

Until one day, you finally give in and buy those shoes. You might have even gotten a good discount from one of the ads. 

But how did these ads pop up? Well, the truth is there is no magic to it. Behind the smoke and mirrors is a team that set up a retargeting campaign to move buyers like you to complete the purchase. 

In this article, you will learn what a retargeting campaign is, why it is beneficial, and how they work. 

What is Retargeting?

Thousands of people scroll through online stores daily and choose to buy nothing. Shopping virtually is quite different compared to shopping in a physical store. You can touch the product and interact with it at a physical store. A salesperson can answer questions and suggest additional products to fit your needs. 

However, these tactics are difficult to implement online. You get little to no feedback from these disenchanted customers as an online business. Did your prices turn them off? Maybe they don’t like your product? Or perhaps they are not sure they want to buy just yet? There is no way to know for sure.

But these hard-to-win shoppers are not a lost cause just yet. Online marketers have devised strategies to win over some of these potential customers by implementing a retargeting campaign.

Retargeting is using paid ads to target users who viewed a product but did not make a purchase. According to the Rain Group, customers need approximately eight touchpoints before making a purchase.

A touchpoint represents an interaction between your brand and the consumer. When your target buyer sees your ad, that is a touchpoint. When they visit your website or see your social media posts, all of these are separate touchpoints. 

Touchpoints vary greatly depending on the amount of resources you want to expend per interaction. Here are some more examples of touchpoints.

  • Seeing social media posts and ads
  • Reading Blog Articles
  • Website Visits
  • Filling out forms and questionnaires
  • Receiving Emails
  • Paid advertisements
  • Webinars and seminars
  • Downloadable resources
  • Visits to physical locations (Stores or office visits)

So what is the likely reason a potential customer visited your website and left without buying anything?

The answer is a lack of touchpoints. Without enough positive interactions with your brand, customers will not feel a strong connection with your company. In their eyes, they view your brand as they would view a stranger. There is not enough trust. And without trust, they will not feel ready to purchase your product or service. 

The retargeting campaign focuses on raising sales by building trust with the customers who are still new to the brand and have not made a purchase. 

Retargeting vs. Remarketing: What’s the Difference?

One common misconception is that retargeting and remarketing are synonymous. However, these two concepts are entirely different. 

As we mentioned earlier, retargeting is the strategy of employing paid advertising via Google and social media to encourage interested customers to complete a purchase. Through retargeting, you focus on the customers who chose to look at your products but did not buy anything. 

Remarketing is where you target existing customers to encourage them to become repeat buyers. While the methods of leading the prospective customers to the sale can be similar in a retargeting campaign, the focus is entirely different.

The setup of the funnel and the language used in the copywriting will be different. Each campaign targets different groups of people. 

So why should your marketing include retargeting campaigns?

What are the Benefits of Retargeting? 

There are many benefits to utilizing retargeting campaigns, and these are just a few of the most important ones.

Reminds Customers of Forgotten Information

One of the first benefits of retargeting is bringing your brand back to the conscious mind of the target buyer. Since the buyer has expressed interest in your product, you can share your most pertinent information with them throughout your retargeting campaign. 

With the abundance of information on the internet, getting distracted is incredibly easy and common. There is a strong possibility that after scrolling endlessly through different products, the buyer has purchased nothing. Maybe they just don’t know what to get. 

After seeing dozens or even hundreds of different products, it can be hard to stand out. That is where your retargeting campaign comes in. Your retargeting ads can repeatedly remind interested buyers about your product. These reminders will build desire until the customer makes the purchase. 

They Boost Return Visits to Your Website

Another advantage of retargeting campaigns is that they boost return visits to your websites. When consumers see your retargeting ad, your ads might prompt them to take a second look at your product listing or services.

In addition to looking at your offers, you are increasing the number of touchpoints with the target consumer. The relationship between your company and the customer will grow. If their experiences are good, they will likely continue engaging with your brand. 

Higher Conversion Rate

With more traffic to your website, you have a significant opportunity to grow your conversion rate. Perhaps you want to raise your sales margins, increase signups for an event, or direct consumers to a lead magnet. Implementing a retargeting campaign can help you improve your conversion rate and ensure you are not losing potential customers from competitor ads or customer indecision. 

You can craft a funnel to move the potential customer through a series of micro-commitments, all the way until you can get them to complete a specific call to action. Over time, you will grow your sales and your return on investment.

You Can Win Over Your Competition

In the business world, success often comes when you do things that other competitors don’t. Some businesses do not implement a retargeting campaign, costing them daily sales. 

Say, for example, you have two friends. One friend asks you several times a week, “Hey, let’s go out and grab a bite to eat. What day are you free?” The other friend, however, does not ask you at all. Who are you more likely to have lunch with?

If your company takes the initiative to be more visible, you will hold your target customers’ attention longer than your competitors. With more touchpoints, you will be easier to remember. Therefore, you will be the likely choice when the customer makes a purchase. 

How Does Retargeting Work?

Implementing a retargeting campaign effectively bridges the gap between your brand and the potential customer. You are taking the initiative to figuratively say, “Hey, I noticed you were interested in this product; let me help you clarify any doubts so that you can get exactly what you need and have the best experience.”

This approach is like how a store salesperson might help a customer staring at a shelf lined with different products. 

So what does this look like from a 30,000-foot perspective?

A retargeting campaign utilizes paid ads on Google and social media to encourage potential customers to take a specific call to action. Using cookies and trackable pixels, companies can track what the customer is looking at and personalize a retargeting campaign based on this data. 

Typically retargeting campaigns have one of the following calls to action:

  • Download a resource
  • Register for an event
  • Complete a purchase

Once you identify the call to action you want your customers to take, you are ready to set up your retargeting campaign.

Begin with choosing your platform. You can quickly get started with a Google Adwords account or use third-party platforms. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter advertising have their platform for retargeting. If you are using retargeting in your email marketing strategy, you will also need an email marketing manager. 

Once you set up your accounts, you can begin writing the copy for your campaigns, test them, and optimize them.

Setup Your Retargeting Campaign Today

Now that you know what a retargeting campaign is, you can start looking at how to implement one in your marketing strategy today. 

Retargeting is an excellent way to build trust and capture lost sales. Not only will you strengthen your branding, but you will also get a leg up over your competitors. 

So start planning your retargeting campaign today so you can take your marketing to the next level!