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During this 3Q Accelerate Week, we are focusing on driving growth for retail and eCommerce companies and exploring challenges/tactics unique to them in the digital world.

Today, we’re breaking down the third stage of any eCommerce program: retention and upsells.

The purchase has been made: another new customer is in the door and you’ve gotten your product into more happy hands. This was the goal, right? Definitely – but if you think this is where digital marketing “finished” in this customer journey, you’re missing out.

Even if you’re leveraging custom audiences on Facebook or Customer Match on Google to target previous purchasers, if you aren’t creating a strong experience for these users, you aren’t actually going to increase your LTV significantly. Below are some of the most important considerations for a strong retention program.

Audience Segmentation (via pixeled audiences or Custom Audience uploads)

By attribute: Many advertisers simply dump their full purchaser list into an ad set on Facebook and think they’re good to go. Even just a few basic segmentations can make a world of difference, though. For a clothing retailer, for instance, segmentation by gender is the most basic. From there you can break down by product categories and seasonal offerings: someone who bought shorts might be interested in a tank top, or someone who buys linens from a home goods company might also be interested in pillows or rugs from the same place.

By time: Even if your offering does not span multiple product categories, all advertisers should segment their retention programs by the time since the last purchase. Someone who bought 60 days ago should not be seeing the same ad as someone who has not bought in 1 year. Segmenting by multiple time blocks allows you to more actively nurture your customer base, showing them different ads over time and bidding higher on the more engaged recent buyers, or the ones most likely to churn.

Audience Exclusions

In order to keep these segmentations running smoothly and your data clean, exclusions are absolutely vital. Consider the time segments: as people naturally flow from one bucket to another, well-placed exclusions maintain a clean experience. If you’re targeting people who haven’t purchased in the last 60-90 days, you need exclusions for: A) anyone who has purchased recently and isn’t likely to need another product yet; B) anyone who has visited your site in the last 2 weeks, who are already engaged and don’t need ad spend to bring them back; C) your other time groupings – especially if you’re offering different promotions to different sets of users.

RLSA

Facebook custom audiences aren’t the only way to proactively get back in front of your purchasers. Don’t forget that Google Customer Match is available for both search and shopping. For search, set up separate RLSA campaigns for remarketing and retention that go after broader keywords than you could typically afford, in pure broad match – remember, these are users who already like the brand, so they’re more qualified than the normal traffic on these queries. Still leveraging the segmentations that make sense for your business, add tailored adjustments to each grouping based on their potential value to you.

Creative

These users don’t need to be sold on your offering, they’ve already bought from you! Re-using your acquisition creative is not necessarily appropriate to pull them back in. Now is your time to show off your newest additions, upgrades, and seasonal products. Additionally, a little promo can go a long way, so consider using a unique promo code for retention audiences to entice them (while still maintaining cart values for new buyers).