Internet shoppers have become an increasingly difficult crowd to woo. It’s partially our faults, of course — they’re being shown so many messages that it can be hard for them to focus on any single one. Even so, online marketers can use the power of repetition to capture those less-than-gung-ho customers on the second or third try if they properly harness the power of retargeting.
A Brief Introduction to Retargeting
There was a time when we didn’t get a second chance to impress a potential customer while they were still in a buying mood, but those days are long gone.
When an ad is served up to online shoppers, they may only see it for a brief time before they move on to another page or scroll down until it’s out of view. This means that traditional forms of Internet advertising have to catch the attention of a prospect in an instant — or they might miss the opportunity to engage them forever. Those are incredibly high stakes when you’re talking about an online marketing campaign. “Now or never” is a situation that leaves many products and services out in the cold, especially if they’re naturally expensive or complicated by nature.
So many marketers wish they had a chance to show that same ad again, to the same visitors, just in case they changed their minds or were suddenly in a buying mood down the road. This is exactly what retargeting was designed to do. Instead of an ad being a one-and-done situation, you can now re-serve that same ad to the same user again and again. Retargeting is the Internet equivalent of increasing a television ad’s frequency, and is a popular tool for online marketing professionals.
How Retargeting Works
When a shopper visits a site to browse or compare prices, those companies that are intending to serve re-targeted ads will leave a small cookie on their computer or other device.
This cookie won’t contain any personal information, it’s only a message to sites that host re-targeted ads that this person has been to a particular site. When other sites see this cookie, they show those site visitors ads for products or services on your site similar to the ones they were already contemplating.
Because retargeted ads are only served to users who took the time to visit your site, you can be sure that you’re remarketing to interested buyers. Maybe they weren’t ready to buy right away, but if you continue to remind them that you’re still patiently waiting for their order, shoppers are more likely to come back to finish their purchase — as much as 200 to 400 percent more often than with traditional banner ads. That means more conversions and more opportunities to create a lifetime customer base.
Retargeting and the Future of Online Marketing
It’s impossible to see where online marketing will be in even few years in the future, especially with the rate of change and innovation we’ve already experienced in its short lifetime. However, retargeting holds significant promise as a way to reach customers who have a habit of taking their time to complete purchases or who tend to comparison shop.
This technology can easily jump from traditional web browsing to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. You can literally be anywhere your customers might be, provided they’re in front of their computers, smartphones or tablets. These capabilities represent a huge leap in reach for marketers and businesses alike — finally, we have a way to remind customers about what they’ve left behind at online storefronts all over the web, without being forced to bombard them with email blasts.
Retargeting has already proven to be a valuable marketing tool, and I’m certain it will continue to increase ROI for all sorts of online businesses. After all, many in your target audience are willing and able to commit to a purchase – they just haven’t made up their minds yet if it’ll be with you or the other guy.