What Is Retargeting and Does It Work?

What Is Retargeting and Does It Work?

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As we travel the country exhibiting at Internet based trade shows, people constantly come up to our booth and ask us about retargeting. “How does it work”, “is it effective”, “what’s the best method”, are just some of the common questions.

Retargeting seems to be a hot topic and discussion point these days on the show floor. There are always a couple of retargeting companies at these shows and there are a couple of different types: email, display media and text messaging are the most popular.

How does retargeting actually work?

Let’s take display retargeting first: When a consumer visits a website using display retargeting technology a special cookie is placed on their computer. This cookie identifies the user and what website they were on. The cookie relays that information to other websites they visit. If the consumer lands on another website using retargeting it reads the cookie information and shows the consumer an ad based on the cookie. So, for example, if you were looking at shoes at shoes.com and abandoned the site without making a purchase, you could end up seeing a banner from shoes.com at the next website you visited. At that moment you have been “retargeted”.

As an advertiser there are some cool things you can with display retargeting. If you have multiple websites or a multiple step process you can adjust the cookie settings to move the consumer from one site to another depending on their actions. You can also set specific information in the cookie that will show the consumer an ad based on the type of shoes they were looking at. If you want to wet your feet in display retargeting Google Display Network is a good place to start. They have all the tools you will need from beginner to advanced and they also have a vast network. However, they are really big and you could spend a lot of money quickly so make sure you cap your daily spend and analyze your ROI.

Email retargeting can be a little trickier and requires more complicated management and strategy. You also need to collect the user’s email so this method is more popular for ecommerce sites and used to retarget someone who has abandoned a shopping cart. However, this method can be very effective if you employ one-to-one marketing principles. For example, a user has a pair of Nike Lebron XiD, size 14 in your shopping cart. They fill out your registration form but abandons your cart when he gets to the credit card page. Since you collected his email address on the reg form you can “retarget” him with emails offering a discount on the Nike sneaks he was looking at. A couple of things to remember here:

  1. Keep the email clean and simple. Include a discount or incentive and a picture of the product they were interested in.
  2. Timing on the first email should be within the first 24 hours.
  3. You should then follow up with 2 or 3 more emails spaced out approx 6 days, then 10 days from the users visit.
  4. You will have to remove the user from receiving subsequent emails if they purchase. Otherwise you could piss off a lot of customers who purchased the product and then got an email with a discount for the same product.
  5. You now know a lot about this user: gender, is probably active and likes basketball, he is a large person, etc. So, this data will be valuable and help you market this user one-to-one on future promotions.

We’ve covered two of the most common methods of retargeting. Regarding the text message retargeting I can’t say I have much experience to relay. I think the biggest hurdle here is collecting the mobile number and delivery costs.

But when we are exhibiting at trade shows one of our banners boasts “instant retargeting” and this message evokes most of the retargeting questions. What is instant retargeting? Well, it’s a method of retargeting a consumer the split “second” they abandon a shopping cart, website or lead gen form. Both email and display retargeting are not capable of grabbing the consumer this quickly. Email has challenges touching the consumers and overcoming low open rates and junk mail filters. Display retargeting has to rely on the user visiting another website that can interpret their cookie and display their banner. Sometimes a user can wait several days or weeks before visiting such a website.

Our method of instant retargeting involves using an automated chat agent to engage a user the second they leave your website. This is done by using javascript code that evokes a virtual chat agent when the user closes a browser or tab, types in another URL or uses the back button. The virtual chat looks and feels like a live operator and answer questions and offers incentives and discounts in an effort to driving the user back to your website. More than likely a user is headed to your competition when they abandon so this is the most effective time and method of retargeting them. A good automated agent campaign takes a little time setting up and getting off the ground but the majority of the heavy lifting including creating the agent scripts is done by us. Once the campaign launches valuable feedback is collected from the chat and passed back to the consumer.

Retargeting is here to stay and will only get better as technology improves. I have mentioned a couple of methods that will help to monetize your current traffic and if done correctly will add to your bottom line. When evaluating companies and technologies I’m sure pricing will be on the forefront. Try to always get a performance based price plan. This puts most of the risk on the solution provider but the big players usually don’t work this way. It will be hard to convince Google to go performance based. But this is how we price our solution and there other providers out there with similar structure including no setup or monthly fees. If you have any questions regarding retargeting or automated chat agent solutions feel free to post a reply or contact me directly. For more information on “instant retargeting” please vist TeamSalesAgent.

write by Harold

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