You’re browsing your favorite cooking blog for recipes when seemingly out of the blue, you run across an ad—maybe a few ads—for the exact crock pot you’ve been eyeing for the last two weeks. If you use the internet with any sort of frequency, this should be a familiar experience. That experience is called retargeting, and it’s incredibly effective.
Retargeting is an audience building strategy that serves ads to consumers who’ve already engaged with your brand through website visits, email opens, searches, and other ways. It uses programming code called pixels to track the web activity of users after they’ve interacted with you, letting you serve additional ads to the user and keep your brand on their mind. That’s the gist, but let’s take a journey down the funnel and take a look at all the moving parts.
BEFORE WE BEGIN: Prospecting
Prospecting is the practice of serving ads to consumers who haven’t necessarily engaged with your brand before. While not itself retargeting, prospecting is vital for expanding your audience and raising actionable awareness. It’s also an important first step in any retargeting strategy, as it helps identify the best leads on whom to focus your retargeting efforts.
Following the funnel
The funnel, as it’s called, is how advertisers describe the journey consumers take to get from initial awareness to eventual conversion. It’s broken up into three phases:
Top of funnel
At the top of funnel (TOFU), consumers are generally unaware of your brand. This is where your initial audience is created through prospecting. Here, they will be served your ad and introduced to your brand for the first time.
Middle of funnel
The middle of funnel (MOFU) is often called the research phase. Here, consumers are aware of your brand; they’ve been served your ad and have visited your website. In this phase, retargeting is introduced to help drive further engagement.
Bottom of funnel
The bottom of funnel (BOFU) is the last step before conversion. Consumers in this phase have engaged with your brand regularly. They’ve visited your website several times and may have left an item in their cart. Retargeting in this phase is used to serve tailor-made ads, often including the products they were looking at.
Harnessing the power of the pixel
If retargeting is the vehicle that connects brands to consumers, then pixels are the engines that drive it. A pixel is a short line of code embedded in a website that collects various pieces of information—location, device, IP address, and more—about consumers who visit. The pixel sends this information to a data management platform (DMP) or other database for storage and analysis. By tracking behavior like page views and ecommerce activity, pixels help you identify consumers who have shown the most interest and are closest to conversion, and are an ideal audience for retargeting.
Retargeting at work
One thing is clear about retargeting: it works. In fact, statistics show that retargeted ads have as much as 10x the CTR (Click Through Rate) of traditional display ads* and that retargeted website visitors are up to 70% more likely to convert than first-time visitors*. But moving consumers through the funnel is only the beginning. There are several ways to make retargeting work for your business. For instance, retargeting is a great way to “reactivate” your previous customers. A simple “we miss you” email or ad can be exactly what they need to buy from you again.
Retargeting is a powerful tool. But like any tool, it’s at its most effective as part of a larger toolset. The right retargeting strategy depends on your business, your audience, and your goals.
Want to know how you can make retargeting work for your business? Get in touch. We’d love to show you.