Understanding Retargeting Part 1: Introduction

With the practice of retargeting on the tip of every marketer’s tongue we’ve put together a three-part series dedicated to the different angles on this topic. Read Understanding Retargeting Part 2: Dynamic Search here. 

Attracting buyers and nurturing them through a sales funnel can for many brands be a song-and-dance between capturing and retargeting interactions with customers many times over before a purchase is made. If the rule of seven is true and consumers need an average of seven brand touchpoints before making a purchase, retargeting can help. The terms retargeting and remarketing are often used interchangeably in the context of search to describe the marketing technique of showing an ad to a user who has already interacted with your brand in some measured form.

The repeat exposure to your brand that retargeting provides builds familiarity with the consumer. Consumers aren’t always looking to buy, but when they are, you can ensure that your brand will be remembered by staying on their radar online and remarketing to them. Since this technique is based on a first touch point on the website, retargeters (if you will) do so based on IP address. This is totally foreign to search marketers who have never tried remarketing, because it’s the first time in their seo-lives that they’ve gone after traffic without it being on the basis of keywords.

It’s now common for search marketers with something to sell to synchronize online inventory with remarketing ads to dynamically create retargeting campaigns. Today these types of campaigns can even be powered by machine learning, leading to results surpassing expectations ever seen before.

Although many types of marketers invest in remarketing ads in search and display, ecommerce websites often have more to gain (or lose!) when it comes to bringing back website traffic. Arguably though, anyone with a business presence online also stands to gain a lot from remarketing.

AdWords Remarketing 101

When a person spends time on a website or mobile application, marketers have the option to show them ads during their next search experiences reminding them of the products they didn’t buy or the desired action they didn’t take – in turn “remarketing” to them. Google provides a clear definition of what remarketing/retargeting means in the context of search:

“ A feature that lets you reach people who have previously visited your website. Your ads can show to these people when they visit other websites in the Google Display Network or when they search on Google using your keywords.”

While this is Google’s definition, you can also practice retargeting in other channels like Facebook, but that’s another chapter of the story.

Retargeting comes down to placing a tracking pixel or a piece of code on each page of your website, for each network that you’d like to track as well as for each audience type that you’d like to track (Google Tag Manager simplifies things slightly). However anyone wanting to make use of remarketing on the Google Display Network has to have a minimum of 100 active visitors or users in the last 30 days. Anyone wanting to make use of remarketing on the search network has to have a minimum of 1000 active visitors or users in the last 30 days. Retargeting ads also have to comply to Google’s ad policies and certain sensitive categories aren’t allowed. Additionally Cypress North warns that anyone wanting to make use of retargeting should first update their privacy policy since more sensitive information like location is being collected about website visitors regardless of the network.

Remarketing in the Display Network allows marketers to retarget users with ads on websites they visit in the Google Display Network (GDN). Remarketing in the search network allows marketers to retarget users with ads when they search in Google. With two types of retargeting campaigns possible, display or search, each setup is different.

Search Engine Journal has previously provided a guide to simple AdWords retargeting campaigns in 6 steps:

  • Step 1: Install Your Remarketing Code
  • Step 2: Create Your Audience
  • Step 3: Set Your Cookie Period
  • Step 4: Set Up an AdWords Remarketing Campaign
  • Step 5: Choose or Create Ads
  • Step 6: Start Testing

The guide above is the best place for new search remarketers to start. Today though the practice of remarketing has become very sophisticated making the lives of marketers easier and more dynamic. Tomorrow we’ll explore dynamic retargeting campaigns, so stay tuned!

Image Credits

Feature Image: Unplash/Gabriel Beaudry

Chandal Nolasco Da Silva

Chandal Nolasco Da Silva

With nearly a decade of digital marketing experience, Chandal has created content strategies for both the biggest and sometimes the most unexpected markets, while developing strategic relationships with editors and publishers. Chandal contributes to some of the highest authority industry publications, has been featured in industry events and is thrilled to be Acquisio’s Content Director.

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