Today’s post is by Ada Pally, Client Services Manager.

Retargeting (or remarketing, in some circles) is a straightforward means of targeting website visitors who have left without converting. Typically, this number is upwards of 90%, so it’s well worth it to take the traffic you know is already interested in your product or service, and continue the conversation to bring them back and/or keep them engaged. It’s an ideal audience to target – and an easy way to get your feet wet in digital display advertising.

Like any SEM adventure, retargeting offers some easily made mistakes and some general best practices to follow to put you on the path to success. Here are my top 5 picks for best practices:

1. Segment Selectively, Target Tactfully

Just because placing one smart pixel across your site is easy, it doesn’t mean that every visitor should be targeted the same way. Think about the low-hanging fruit and start with the visitors most qualified to convert.

Review your conversion funnel and go from there. Look for Cart abandoners, those who dig deeply into product pages. Think about retargeting converted users who may benefit from purchasing an accessory or complementary product.

Once you’ve identified the highest-value segments, ensure you are targeting them appropriately. Have custom display assets and offers for each segment; consider your pixel length and frequency settings for each segment.

Putting a pixel on your home page and retargeting to everyone who reaches your site should be the last retargeting campaign you create (if you ever create it).

2. A/B test everything

Since retargeting traffic is already somewhat qualified, this is an ideal audience for testing. You can easily A/B test incentives and offers, messaging, and display assets.

Establishing a winner in a controlled retargeting campaign environment is a great way to validate the quality of a banner ad or display asset before rolling it out to broader-reach, higher-cost (and risk!) campaigns.

Also, test impression frequency (per user/per day). There’s almost always a sweet spot that gets visitors’ attention without annoying them- set test cycles to find it.

One thing to consider when looking to test in a retargeting environment is the amount of volume you’ll have available to you. In a niche, highly targeted cart abandonment campaign for a low-traffic website, it’s going to take a long time before you’ll accumulate enough data to make a well-informed decision.

3. Control your frequency and look for feedback

The general public is a lot more savvy to retargeting now, and people don’t appreciate their browsing experience being overtaken by your singular ad. Don’t be annoying and creep your visitors out by being a complete troll. Listen to what people are saying on Twitter and Facebook for possible complaints about the frequency of your ads. If in doubt, turn down the frequency.

4. Invest in better display assets

It seems so simple, and yet how often do we see terrible banner ads? With retargeting, having quality banner ads in place is even more important as your ad will be displayed across a user’s entire browsing experience for some time.

Consider that these ads will be appearing on all different types of sites; have a full set of ads of all sizes ready to go. Remember that you are appealing to already qualified visitors- you can be less ‘grabby’ and more conversational. And of course, brand integrity is very important- the banner ad needs to match the experience the visitor recently had on your site, and even better, on a particular page of your site.

5. Control your placements

Be very careful to limit where your retargeting banners are placed. Since you’re following a cookied visitor around, they may take you to sites that you do not want to be placed on. Use negative keywords and exclude inappropriate categories.

There are endless possibilities to the reach of retargeting, so don’t be afraid to get creative. Consider integrating retargeting with your email and social media campaigns. Retarget converted users who may be looking for support or accessories, or schedule your campaigns so that they begin to show when items are in need of replenishment or renewal.

Be considerate of regular visitors who will quickly tire of you hijacking their browsing experience, serve banners that match the users experience, and retargeting will quickly become a valuable component of your SEM mix.

Ada Pally, Client Services Manager

20 Comments

  1. SeanNowlin June 29th, 2012

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  7. re targeting July 1st, 2012

    Thanks for sharing your take on retargeting, as I think this is a nice overview. Would be interesting to see how you work with segement retargeting, unpixel placements, and dynamic search results based on retargeting data.

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  17. AdReady July 2nd, 2012

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