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Digital advertising: what is retargeting?

Retargeting is an effective marketing method that helps convert customers from being interested to making a purchase. Here’s how it works.

Ever have that feeling you’re being followed?

We’re not talking about shadowy figures in the street, or the number of people checking out your Instagram page. No, it’s that pair of shoes you once looked at that are now mysteriously showing up in banner ads on unrelated sites, or that barbeque you once saw featured in a how-to YouTube video that’s now starring in ads populating your Facebook feed.

It’s called retargeting – a marketing method that businesses are using to move consumers from casual browser to purchaser, and it’s proving to be an incredibly effective element of digital advertising strategies.

Here’s what you need to know.

What is retargeting?

Retargeting is a method employed in digital marketing to massage potential customers through the buying cycle from awareness phase to purchase phase, by engaging people who have already shown an interest in a product or service.

When a customer visits a website and views a product, a piece of code (also known as a cookie) attaches to their browser. Retargeting uses this information to advertise to the person, even when they’ve left the site.

Retargeting ads can take many forms, including social media advertising, banner ads on other websites, and even direct email marketing.

You’re probably most familiar with pixel-based advertising, where the same retargeting ad shows up all over your internet activity.

Yet, if a store already has your contact details – say you have purchased from them previously – you might find yourself on the receiving end of what’s known as list-based retargeting.

When this happens, customers will commonly be emailed an offer or discount code, encouraging them to complete a purchase.

Retargeting ads are most commonly used to target those at the pointy end of the sales funnel but can actually be employed at every stage of the sales funnel.

How and when is retargeting used?

The most obvious example of retargeting is when you’ve viewed a particular product on an online store and suddenly ads appear for that product across your internet usage.

You might have viewed a vacuum cleaner from a certain store, and ads for that vacuum cleaner at that store start populating your Facebook feed.

This is a fairly straightforward and common way that businesses convert interest to sales.

Retargeting can also take the form of ads and other marketing activities, such as email, to target customers who have abandoned their carts and left before making the sale, or those known as fading customers – customers who have bought from you in the past but not lately.

Retargeting can also be a discrete form of digital marketing. This is often the case with search engine advertising.

Imagine someone has typed in “what size paddle board should I buy?” into a search engine. While Google will serve them up useful articles on the topic, that person will suddenly find suggested articles and paddle board sizing guides showing up as banner ads on websites they visit and in their social media feeds. And you can bet, those guides and articles will massage the customer through to the online store.

By addressing questions consumers may have, or providing tutorials and explainers, you can leverage existing content on your website as part of your retargeting strategy. This way, advertisers can reach consumers who haven’t shown interest in a particular item, but interest in a specific topic.

Why is retargeting useful?

Retargeting ads are super-effective in converting warm customers to buyers.

The nature of retargeting is that your marketing efforts are focused on people who have already shown an interest in what you have to offer. They already want it – your job now is to encourage them to purchase yours.

When creating a retargeting campaign, it’s important to remember to concentrate on two key questions: why is your product or service better than all your competitors, and why should the customer choose you?

Think about your brand positioning (e.g. What do people know about your product or service? What feelings do they experience when they see your brand?), as well as your distinctive brand assets (e.g. What is it about your brand that sets it apart?) You might be a family-friendly hardware store, with a reputation for service and advice – tap into those aspects.

Need help with digital advertising?

Retargeting is just one form of digital marketing that can be used to build businesses and bolster sales.

Assemblo is a full-service marketing agency based in Melbourne, with years of experience creating powerful and effective digital marketing strategies that deliver tangible results.

To find out how we can help your business, give us a call on (03) 9079 2555 or send us a note via the contact form below.

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