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Increasing conversions with retargeting / Red Cow Media

What is retargeting? Retargeting has seen a huge surge in popularity throughout the online world in the past year or so, yet many companies and digital enthusiasts alike are still unfamiliar with the concept, particularly at an in-depth level.

Red Cow Media are a specialist search marketing agency based in Manchester. They have a wealth of experience in retargeting and conversion optimisation strategies for a vast range of clients locally, nationally and internationally.

With estimates suggesting that only around 2% of shoppers convert into a purchase on their first visit to a website, retargeting can prove an invaluable addition to the marketing mix, targeting the remaining 98% who weren’t yet ready to buy, but may be at a later date.

Employing an educated, relevant retargeting strategy can have a range of desirable results, not least of which being increased online conversions and a higher return on investment from your overall online marketing activities. So what is retargeting? Why is it so great? And how do you get started?

Retargeting is a form of paid online marketing that keeps track of your website visitors and sends relevant adverts to those who don’t convert when they are browsing elsewhere on the web after their visit. The aim is to bring them back to your website to drive a conversion, whether that’s a sale through your online store, or an enquiry through your contact page. Retargeting essentially takes your existing website traffic and maximises the conversions that are being generated from it.

The idea is that when adverts are shown that are highly relevant to what the user has been viewing, the traffic coming back to the site is already pre-qualified as interested in your products or services, making a conversion more likely. People who have converted on the site can be excluded so that once a conversion is made by a certain user, your adverts no longer get shown to them and your budget isn’t wasted. This, along with higher conversion rates than other channels, makes retargeting particularly cost effective.

Software & Analytics

There are various retargeting platforms to choose from with Google and Facebook (FBX) being the most prominent choices, although there are now several options that incorporate multiple ad networks in one place, such as AdRoll. These dashboards allow for greater coverage of the internet as they show ads across all of the main ad networks rather than just one, meaning more potential customers can be reached after they leave a website.

Retargeting works particularly well on websites with online stores, as well as sites where the services involved require research. For example, a travel customer may research several holiday companies before deciding on which one to opt for. When they leave your website to browse elsewhere, retargeting allows you to keep your site, rather than a competitor’s, in their focus. This can even be narrowed down to the particular holiday destination, or even hotel that the user viewed on your site. Similarly, on a website that sells products, retargeting allows you to display the exact item a user has looked at to entice them to buy it, providing you have enough traffic to that page.

Segmentation is extremely important to retargeting and can really be the difference between an excellent and an average return on investment figure. The segments you use should reflect your site and be split out into sections accordingly, with corresponding creative for each website segment. For example, if one section of your website sells fitness t-shirts, and another sells sports shoes, the creative materials for the t-shirts segment should only contain images of t-shirts, and the sports shoes section should only contain images of sports shoes. Although this may seem like common sense, there are still many companies using generic banners for their retargeting, which won’t be driving conversions as much as specific banners.

Generally, the more specific you go with your creative materials, the better your conversion rate from retargeting. In instances where you are on a budget, or are running retargeting campaigns for the purpose of brand awareness rather than conversions, banners that reflect your brand itself (such as lifestyle shots) can be used instead, but it is definitely worth noting the difference in retargeting campaigns. Similarly to other forms of online advertising, brand awareness campaigns and conversion driving campaigns in retargeting require a different approach, strategy and analysis, both in terms of segmentation of the site and the creative materials.

Allocating Budgets

The budgets you set are also important, and it can be difficult to know how much you should be putting into retargeting. As a general rule, your retargeting spend should scale up and down depending upon your monthly website traffic levels. The higher the traffic numbers, the higher your retargeting spend will need to be to ensure you are reaching as many of your visitors as possible.

As there are often high return on investment figures involved with retargeting, it can be tempting to throw as much of your budget at it as possible in the hopes that the ROI figure will continue to be achieved. Whilst this isn’t necessarily the worst approach in the world, it’s also not the best – retargeting budgets should be thought about strategically as, unlike other channels, there is such a thing as allocating too much budget. If your site doesn’t have sufficient traffic to support the spend you have allocated, then the money will end up sat in the dashboard not being spent. For budget allocation, analytical tools such as Google Analytics can be incredibly useful in allocating spend and splitting budgets out into segments.

With more and more companies seeing such excellent results from retargeting, this increasingly popular channel is set to become a standard element of the online marketing mix.

Author Bio

Red Cow Media are a specialist search marketing agency based in Manchester. They have a wealth of experience in retargeting and conversion optimisation strategies for a vast range of clients locally, nationally and internationally.