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How Ads Seem to Follow You Around the Internet—and Why!

Has this ever happened to you? You’re browsing a website looking for a new kitchen gadget or a new pair of shoes, then you leave without buying. But the website’s ads seemed to follow you everywhere you went online for days? It happens to most of us at one time or another, and it’s no coincidence: it’s retargeting.

Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is a form of online advertising designed to keep your brand in front of visitors after they leave your website. It works like this: A small, unobtrusive piece of javascript code called a pixel is placed on your website. This code is unnoticeable to your site visitors and won’t affect your site’s performance, except that now, every time a new visitor comes to your site, the code drops an anonymous browser cookie. Later, as your cookied visitors surf the Web, the cookie will let your retargeting provider know when to display ads, ensuring that your ads are only seen by people who have previously visited your site.

There are two kinds of retargeting. Site retargeting involves placing your display ads all over the Internet but only showing them to people who have visited your website and received the proper browser cookie. Search retargeting is employed when a consumer finds a website through a search engine, but leaves without buying. This site visitor will then get retargeted based on the search keywords he or she used to find your website.

Because you’re only spending money for ad impressions on people who were already interested enough to visit your website, retargeting advertising can be highly effective. This sort of reach used to only be available to huge businesses with million-dollar advertising research budgets. Now, it’s available to almost anyone. Thanks to modern technology, small and mid-sized businesses can now get the same marketing edge as the big boys. With retargeting, even the smallest businesses can create the impression of online ubiquity by only displaying ads to people who have expressed prior interest in the brand.

While retargeting is an increasingly common strategy for online retailers and other B2C businesses, it can work great for B2B businesses, too. If you are devoting traffic to a lead capture form or a landing page, retargeting can help keep your brand top of mind while users are in the evaluation process. Retargeting increases the odds that they’ll be back, and that when they do, they’ll convert.

In fact, there are plenty of benefits that retargeting campaigns can provide:

  • Better brand recall. The most immediate benefit of retargeting is that it helps in brand retention.

  • Better engagement with existing and prospective customers/clients. With retargeting, it is possible for a business to keep its brand name in front of nearly 90% of its cookied visitors.

  • Increased conversions. Returning visitors are more likely to convert than first-time site visitors.

  • A competitive advantage. Retargeting can help ensure your site visitors continue to see your display ads instead of your competitors’.

  • More effective promos. When your promos are targeted toward people who have already expressed interest in your site, you are likelier to get a greater response to discounts and promotional offers through retargeted ads.

  • Marketing related products and services. If a site visitor hasn’t already made a purchase, through retargeting, your business can display new products or other offerings to this person, increasing the chances of a sale.

Clearly, retargeting is a powerful branding and conversion optimization tool that any business generating sales or leads online should consider. But it works best if it’s part of a larger digital strategy. Retargeting is meant to be deployed in partnership with inbound and outbound marketing or demand generation efforts. That’s because, while retargeting can help increase conversions, it’s not useful for driving potential customers to your site in the first place. The best chance of success lies with using one or more advertising tools to drive traffic and then deploying a retargeting campaign to get the most out of that traffic.

Need help implementing a retargeting strategy? You’re in luck! Studio Brand Collective has the creative expertise to craft effective, retargeting display ad campaigns for any business. Contact us today to get started!

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