As online shoppers, we’ve all experienced it: while window shopping on a website, you decide you’re not quite ready to make a purchase and go back to skimming Buzzfeed articles. As you continue to browse the internet, you notice the products you just finished browsing hovering at the edge of your screen. How did this website know you were just ogling those products? If you’re an online merchant, you probably can’t help but ask yourself, would this work for my online store? The answer is yes, probably. We invited Garrett Gan from Thalamus, a digital advertising review website, to give us his insight.
1. What is Retargeting?
Retargeting is a type of advertising that is only shown to people after they have visited your online store. Here’s how it works: you place a pixel (or a single line of code) on your website, which will drop a tracking cookie onto a user's browser. With this tracking cookie, retargeting companies are able to see where the user travels across multiple websites on the internet, and serve them ads accordingly.
The best analogy for this is the tracking of animals using tags, which allows scientists to observe their behavior; in this case, the tag is placed on a consumer's' web browser so that later on, you can serve ads that correspond to their behavior.
One of the best use cases for retargeting is to serve ads to users that have looked at a specific product on your website - shoes, jeans, t-shirts, trinkets - and serve them ads for that exact product after they have left (and haven't bought yet) with a small discount to entice them to come back to complete the purchase.
2. What types of companies use retargeting? Why?
All types of companies use retargeting, including those in eCommerce, mobile apps, B2B sites -- even advertising companies!
Retargeting is a powerful tool for communicating with users that have already interacted with your website, to further add value to their experience.
It also makes their web browsing experience more relevant, as the ads you serve will be for specific items they have already browsed, now with discounts and/or giveaways. Without this technology, merchants are now left to decide which products could be relevant for a user.
When retargeting first came out, it was sometimes seen by consumers as “creepy,” but many companies have adopted the tactic for years and has come to be a rather widely accepted practice.
3. How much does it cost to run a retargeting campaign?
Online merchants can start for as low as $100 per week (or even less) with companies like AdRoll, or Retargeter. There are also larger companies like TellApart, Criteo, or Simpli.fi that offer more robust features like dynamic creative optimization (changing ads algorithmically to serve the highest performing one), or Product Catalog Feeds (where a consumer can see items similar to the item they just viewed on the e-commerce website).
4. How can online merchants get started with retargeting?
It's a good practice for merchants of all sizes to start running year-round retargeting campaigns. Many eCommerce companies have increased the number of actual conversions from consumers, simply by offering a small discount in a retargeting ad if a user abandoned their cart.
Once merchants are more familiar with how to maximize conversions from regular retargeting ads, then they can move to more sophisticated mechanisms, such as dynamic creative optimization, product feed catalogs (both mentioned above), as well as working with ad networks to drive new customers to the site.
Get started today by checking out reviews on retargeting companies like AdRoll and Retargeter on Thalamus. Then jump in and launch your first retargeting campaign. Already running a campaign? Share your tips and advice in the comments below.