No matter what type of site or web-based brand you’re striving to promote, pay-per-click banner retargeting has the potential to be a major game changer for you.
Using retargeting technologies wisely means changing the models according to which you conceive of a target market. Instead of thinking about who is most likely to do business with you according to their various demographic traits, which is how older ad platform parameters operate, retargeting allows you to implement criteria grounded intent. How you identify intent and use it to your advantage with the potent tools of retargeting, however, depends largely on what type of industry you’re in.
Actions instead of demographics
With retargeting, digital media is finally delivering on its promise to change the rules of the advertising game. Demographics change slowly over time, if at all, whereas intent is short-lived and deserves to be built upon in real time.
You don’t have to assume that your best audience consists of people searching for specific keywords, those who visit specific websites, those who use specific devices or those living in a specific geographic area anymore. With retargeting technologies becoming available to small and medium businesses over the past two or so years, you’re now closer to being able to discern the motivations of people who come into contact with your brand.
Now you can serve ads to specific people no matter where they go online, simply because they demonstrated genuine interest by executing whatever set of behaviors you set the retargeting trackers to observe.
How marketing theory influences retargeting tactics
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Different types of brands have different definitions of conversions. With industry-specific user activity goals come industry-specific tactics for retargeting. Before you can know how to most effectively set the parameters of your retargeting campaign, though, take some time to meditate on a few conceptual aspects of your online presences.
1. Think about your site’s functionality, navigation structure and user experience journey. Try to correlate practical and trackable user actions with levels of interest in converting. Retargeting works best when its triggers are more specific than simply site visits. Acquiring new leads is more taxing on organizational resources than closing with existing ones, so make the most of the prospects you’ve already got.
2. Ponder your brand’s relationships with owned, earned and paid media and how contact with these messages influences prospects’ intent. You’re more likely to convert with retargeting when multi-channel touches are accounted for.
3. Consider your conversion funnel model and where the best opportunities to accelerate the process with phase-specific banners are likely to be. Compare these opportunities with the dangers of funnel dropouts at various points. Retargeting is powerful stuff, but it’s also highly volatile – sending the wrong message in the wrong quantities with the wrong time frames will come off as sinister stalking. Contemporary digital marketing is all about providing value, so make sure not to act like a predator.
Retargeting best practices for eCommerce sites
When it comes to online retailing, a conversion is defined as a successfully processed purchase checkout. Along the path to conversion, your aim is for sales prospects to execute a variety of trackable behaviors that can be understood as expressions of intent.
With Google AdWords, skilled eCommerce marketers drive traffic to their shops based on keyword searches that relate directly to product names and attributes; however, just because a user has clicked on a search results ad, that doesn’t mean he or she is ready for checkout. The more serious prospects will be those who click through from product pages to “my shopping cart” pages, shipping policy pages or “why buy from us” pages, so make sure to set your retargeting platform to serve the most ads to these visitors.
If some products you carry are especially popular, or if you know you’re pricing them lower than the competition is, then your retargeting message should be product-specific and should wave the flag of discounts and urgency.
On the other hand, eCommerce can often be an “easy come easy go” space, especially for stores that list hundreds or thousands of products. Merchant loyalty can be hard to come by, so don’t expect prospects to click on retargeted ads more than two weeks after they browsed your shop.
Retargeting best practices for app and service agency sites
Sites that offer software as a service, software on a license basis, custom service plans or subscription-based services have a lot in common with one another from a marketing standpoint. With brands like these, impulse buys are rare, the diversity of the product line is generally extremely narrow, and the selling proposition is pretty much always going to be some variation on “it makes your life easier.”
For marketing messaging, this means talking up the app or service’s ease of use, the industry expertise of its merchants and the product’s answers to the prospect’s various problems. The sales funnel in these cases, therefore, emphasizes authority content about the issues that matter to the relevant audience and leads are captured the for long-term nurturing via secondary conversions: contact forms that unlock downloadable pdf files, opting in for engagement via social media verticals and subscriptions to blogs and newsletters. By setting up a “thank you” page for these types of conversions, you can easily trigger retargeting platforms to serve ads to the most relevant users.
Following up on prospects who have already converted to a partial extent is tricky business here, though, especially considering the deliberation and organizational processes involved in buying. Retarget with care, allowing leads to take their time with limited pressure. Remind them of your products only indirectly, by offering more free wisdom. If you incorporate retargeting into your slow burn nurturing toolbox, then when it comes time to buy, your prospects will likely turn to you.
Retargeting best practices for niche interest content sites
When content is the product itself, then advertising is almost always the revenue model. The target market for niche content brands is often self-selecting, as site visitors who aren’t interested in the site’s content realm will bounce. If the niche is specific enough, then competition will be low and interested parties will find their own ways to content pages via organic search or referrals from related online communities.
Publications profit most when they directly sell the ads that they host – and when these ads are clicked on. Acquiring and inspiring repeat visits from readers makes the most business sense only when the audience is relevant to the content and the hosted ads are relevant to the audience. Keeping the audience visiting the publication often is usually accomplished by converting users to subscribers, followers and fans.
When content is the product, it’s wisest to define retargeted audiences as those who have viewed multiple pages in the past, but haven’t visited in some time. Make sure to set your campaign to exclude users who are already subscribers, since they’re likely already receiving plenty of reminders that the publication exists and has dynamic content.
Keep the retargeted banners themselves fresh by promoting the best of your new content and positioning it as something they can only get on your pages.
When it comes to content brand loyalty, Facebook can be an especially powerful tool, but beware of the costs per click on the Facebook Exchange’s retargeting engine and compare these expenditures (significantly higher than other retargeting platforms) to your hosted ad click through rates and payoffs. Your spend on acquiring an audience member needs to be proportionate to the likelihood that you’ll profit from him or her.
A new pay-per-click era is afoot and with enough knowledge of the specific branded experiences we serve up, we can make the most out of the opportunities offered by retargeted banners.
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