Retargeting – What It Is, and Why It Creates Buyers

The idea and practice of social media marketing is something that is continually evolving. A prime example of that is that just 15 years ago if someone had mentioned the words Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, they would have had nothing in return except a lot of raised eyebrows wondering what they were talking about.

Today, even those who do not use the internet will have heard of them, and they are established mediums for social media marketing. The fact is that new concepts and methods of online marketing appear regularly.

One such method is retargeting, which might sound like something out of a military campaign, but the only things which get fired are not guns and missiles, but cookies.

What Is Retargeting?

To be honest, the clue is in the name. Retargeting is basically a marketing strategy that enables you to retarget people who have visited your website after they have left. The technology behinds it involves the use of cookies, which are tiny files that are stored in the browser of anyone who visits a website.

If you have been online, which you obviously have if you are reading this, you are bound to have seen pop-ups and messages asking for your permission to allow cookies to be used. Recent data protection laws mean that most cookies cannot just be automatically added to your browser without your permission.

Assuming you agree, the cookie will remain in your browser, and when you next visit that same website, it ‘remembers’ your last visit thanks to the information in the cookie. That is why if you have ever entered your name or selected preferences on a website which you visit regularly, they are all still in place when you visit it again.

To use this for retargeting, when you visit a website that has paid advertising, and where you have placed ads, the cookie in the browser activates your ad when they arrive. That means although they may visit dozens of different sites, if those sites show adverts, your ad could appear to that person each time.

Why Does Retargeting Work?

Thanks to increasingly sophisticated data gathering and analysis it has been shown that on average the number of visitors to websites who actually make the decision to buy and transact the purchase on their first visit is around 2%.

Think about that. It means if you managed to get 1,000 visitors to your website, which is no mean feat, 980 of them are not going to buy on that first visit.

Previously, once those 980 people had left your website, your chances of ever attracting them back were pretty slim, and so the vast majority of your marketing efforts to drive traffic were for nothing. That was until retargeting became a possibility.

As you may know, even in a normal sales scenario, it often takes the prospect being asked several times if they want to buy, for them to say yes. That may be ok in the offline world where they are sitting in front of you and going nowhere soon, however, online they are a click away from disappearing forever.

That is why retargeting has become such an incredible marketing tool because rather than them forgetting all about your brand or your business, they are given regular and constant reminders as they travel around the internet.

The beauty of this strategy is that in almost all instances your retargeting ads do not seem obtrusive. After all, they are on someone else’s website, so rather than this feeling to them like you are hounding them, it comes across as more of a gentle nudge or a reminder that you exist.

It may well have been that when they first visited your website, they were not in a position to buy or to commit to a sale meeting or whatever process your business has to turn prospects into customers.

Using retargeting you remain in their mind and when the time comes that they are ready to buy, you are in prime position for them to become your customer.

Where Can You Use Retargeting?

The beauty of retargeting is that there are so many places that it can be used, providing you with the maximum opportunity to benefit from it.

So, if one of your prospects spends a lot of time on social media, another one loves surfing through websites, and one spends their online hours watching videos on YouTube, each of them can be found via your retargeting.

The reason for that is each of these ad platforms will display your ad when a prospect with your website’s cookie in their browser lands there. If you think of the number of websites that have advertising there is an almost limitless array of places where your prospect can be found.

Considering adverts ranging from sponsored ads on social media sites like Facebook, Google’s display advertising platform which is used on millions of websites, and the likes of YouTube and other multimedia websites that have become popular places to advertise, you are spoilt for choice.