Who, What, When, When and Why of Retargeting

Lately I have been working with our clients on building out strategic retargeting campaigns to better enhance online marketing efforts and drive conversions. A typical retargeting platform that is used by many advertisers is Google Adwords utilizing the Google Display network. There is of course, other retargeting platforms such as Ad Roll, Chango and Clicko that are products designed for effective retargeting. Let’s not get to ahead of ourselves by saying “we’re going to do retargeting“. Like all effective marketing initiatives, there are processes, planning, budgeting, implementation, reporting etc… I’m going to go through the who, what, when, where and why of retargeting, with questions you should be considering when drawing up a strategic plan of attack.

Note: Since Demac Media is an eCommerce development shop, any example I am talking about is this post will be related to eCommerce Marketing, however can be transferable to content based websites as well.

Who are we Targeting?

In most cases, the first answer that comes to mind is people who have visited the site. Great, lots of people are coming to our site (assuming lots of people are in fact, coming to your site). The problem with the pray and spray way of thinking is that just because your site is getting traffic, does that mean it is good traffic? This comes back to keeping an eye on your analytics, and really using the data to leverage how people navigate your site, what they are looking for. The “who” can also meanour target market. Alright, well if you are a clothing retailer, and you sell many categories from tops, bottoms, accessories, and seasonal, is your target market a more focused an audience? The beautiful thing about retargeting is you can target whoever, but take into consideration some of these “who’s”:

– Visitors visiting specific brands or categories
– Visitors who did not complete the checkout
– Visitors who visit your clearance and sale section

These lists help you define more specific lists to build campaigns and promotions around. Which brings me to the “what’s”…

What are we Remarketing?

Don’t think of your marketing efforts as a way of allocating budget and guaranteeing results. Almost gone are the days (and by almost there is no definitive end) where you buy up ad space in a magazine, on a billboard, bus stop, subway, television and “guesstimate” a return on investment. This is the digital age, and if Science Fiction and Futurama tell me correctly, it is here to stay for a long time. Everything is measurable, so set yourself some goals and plan according to your trends.

– What are we promoting? Seasonal items
– What is our offer? 25% off your next order

You have your lists built, and your creative developed, this brings me to the “where“….

Where are we going to Advertise?

Do not just say “the web”, “blogs”, “social media platforms”. Google’s Display Network alone has thousands of websites your ad has the potential to show on. The good thing about the “Where” is these platforms do give you lots of options that ties back to the “Who“. So if you decide on what kind of websites, more specifically themed sites/blogs, you show your ads where your target audience is surfing.
For retargeting, ensure you have your list set up, but when using the Display Network, Google has options for narrowing down where your ads will show, make sure you use these options. I won’t be going through these placement options in this post, but you can see you can narrow down everything from Keywords, Placements, Topics, Gender, Age. You get the idea.

Why are we Retargeting?

Don’t just do something because everybody is doing it. It is a very common mistake to just put up ads and hope for the best. In most cases, this method is used to keep visitors awareness of your site/brand in mind when they are browsing around the web. Overall, that is “why” we do it, but let’s look at it from an operational standpoint.

Why are we doing it?

– To clear out overstock
– To save abandoned carts
– To promote sales on specific items

There are a few reasons why we run retargeting campaigns, but once we have this place in place, the key to a successful campaign is “when

When do we run this Campaign?

Timing is everything. The one criticism about re-engagement of your target audience is the same most people have with advertising, it can become overwhelming. Essentially, the ad just becomes part of the site, and that interest is gone. While you may have accomplished your brand awareness goal, what was the overall return? The point is to act now and engage customers as they are further down the buying funnel. Plan your moves ahead of time and map out when you are going to flip the switch. My recommendation is to have a calendar of events, and sort out what creative is going live when, and for how long.