Practical Ecommerce

‘Retargeting’ Can Boost Conversions; A Primer

Using behavioral retargeting to aim online display and pay-per-click advertisements at shoppers already familiar with a brand or some particular products could significantly boost sales conversions, with some estimates suggesting that retargeted consumers are 70 percent more likely to make a purchase.

Retargeting — which is also referred to as remarketing — is the practice of exposing potential customers to either a greater frequency of online ads or to more specific online ads after that shoppers has already interacted with a store.

As an example, imagine a shopper who searches for snowboards on Bing; follows a link to a merchant’s site; peruses the virtual aisles; and even adds a new Burton board to the shopping cart before the phone rings or something else distracts the shopper and leaves the cart abandoned. Now imagine an hour goes by, that same shopper is looking for a quick recipe on Cooking.com when an ad for just the Burton snowboard the shopper had selected early appears, offering free shipping.

In that example, the shopper was retargeted or remarketed based on search and site behavior. Some marketers see this technique as an extremely effective way of converting sales that might have otherwise been lost. In fact, according to ReTargeter, which provides retargeting services, this technique could be something like 300 percent more effective than other PPC advertising campaigns and convert at a rate 3-to-5 times better than typical PPC advertising campaigns.

Retargeting in Practice

Google AdWords, the most recognizable name in PPC advertising, offers retargeting. Marketers set up a specific audience group, place a bit of custom code on their sites, and aim ads or ad groups at potential customers based on their on-site behavior.

Services like the aforementioned ReTargeter, AdRoll, Criteo, and Chango all offer similar services that use some form of tracking code in combination with behavioral data to help offer shoppers the ads that are likely to be the most appealing to them.

Segmentation Is Key

Retargeting tends to work better when the marketer had more or better information about the audience. For example, in a Google AdWords’ campaign, it may make sense to add monitoring code at each step of the sales funnel from product pages to the shopping cart to the checkout process.

In this way, shoppers can be retargeted based on how far they proceeded down the sales funnel. As an example, a merchant could retarget shoppers who abandoned a cart on the shipping rate screen with offers for free shipping or faster shipping.

It is also a good idea to segment shoppers based on what sections of a site or which products they are viewing most. Shoppers that frequently look at a particular high-dollar item should see ads for that product.

Summing Up

Retargeting in its simplest form is the practice of showing shoppers ads for products or services that they have already show an interest in. In this sense, it is a form of pre-qualifying would-be customers.

Most merchants that already use search-engine PPC ads will find that they already have retargeting available to them. And there are also some retargeting-specific services that can help a retailer get started.

Armando Roggio

Armando Roggio

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  1. Elizabeth Ball November 23, 2011 Reply

    I have just had this happen to me. I was about to buy my nephew some Airwalk boots and then realised I wasn’t sure about his size and texted my sister-in-law for the details. I have been a little creeped out by how many StyleTread ad banners have been popping up, some with images of what I left in my cart, others saying "forgotten something"?
    However it’s the fact that he likes them (she casually "showed" them on on-screen to him) that I’ll buy them. If I wasn’t that keen, it might actually turn me right off that retailer!