Everywhere you turn, you see ads: on shopping carts (real ones), on the freeway (billboards), in airports (kiosks), in Times Square (signage), on websites (banner ads) and more. But the digital world has an advantage over the other venues. The retargeting ads you see in your browser can follow you around.

It starts when you visit a site and look at a product or service. If you don’t purchase anything, and leave the website to visit one of your favorite sites, you’ll often notice that an ad — for the product or service you just reviewed — is displayed.

What is retargeting?

When this first started happening, it seemed a little bit “Big Brother” creepy, but it’s used so often now that I simply expect it and find it quite natural. It’s called “Retargeting” and it works by keeping track of people who visit your site and displaying your ads to them as they visit other sites online.

If you’re an advertiser or running an commerce store, this lets you display your ads repeatedly to pre-qualified prospects as they navigate the Web. This helps your bottom line tremendously. Generally 2% of shoppers convert on their first visit to an online store. So those PPC ads start to get expensive.

Retargeting

Using this technique, you can prod the remaining 98%, encouraging these nearly-customers to return to your website and convert.

How does retargeting work?

Retargeting vendors (and there are a lot of them) provide you with a snippet of code that you place in the footer of your website. This code uses cookies to create a list of people that visit your site. As these potential customers visit other sites, this cookie tells what ads to display.

Why retargeting is so effective

This marketing strategy addresses “window shoppers”, those prospects who visit your site and, for whatever reason, leave without buying. By keeping your information front and center, your brand gains traction and recognition, which helps you increase your online sales. By increasing your exposure, this typically delivers high click-through rates and increased conversions.

Best Practices

This tactic is most effective when you segment your website visitors by product or category (e.g. people who looked at sweaters vs accessories) and then provide tailored ads that feature a clear call-to-action and offer.

Timing windows vary by product category. For example, people shopping for cruises should be retargeted immediately, while people shopping for cars should be retargeted later.

Social retargeting?

This is a new concept that extends the increased conversions and ROI to social media channels. The basic principle is the same. You can generate more qualified leads by keeping keep your brand in front of social media audiences after they leave your social media network.

Using social, you use links shared through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social channels to create retargeting lists. When a prospect clicks on a shared link, a cookie is saved on their browsers, and they are placed into a retargeting list.

How social helps increase your conversions

Let’s say you share a link for a downloadable whitepaper on a social channel. When people click on the link, you hope that they will fill out a form to receive the whitepaper. But as we all know, many people don’t complete the process.

With social retargeting, you serve these dormant web visitors with highly relevant display ads after they leave your social media channel, which increases the chances that they will convert later on. This whole process works even when you share links to third-party content, where they are not directed to one of your landing pages.

How do I measure my social retargeting campaigns?

Social retargeting ROI is easier to measure than social media ROI alone. With social media, you can keep track of followers and likes on Facebook, clicks and retweets on Twitter, and so on? But with social retargeting, you can track actual conversions, whether the conversion action is visiting a landing page, signing up for a webinar, or downloading a free trial.

Social is just one additional way to retarget your prospects. You can also use website retargeting and email retargeting to increase conversions and cut costs per lead than.

Get Started with Social Retargeting

Whether your company sell B2B or B2C, retargeting should play a role in building your brand and increasing lead conversions. It’s not difficult to get started and the results are sometimes spectacular.

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