Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot? No, They Should Be Retargeted

When I was going through college our marketing professors all taught the “Four Ps:” product, place, price, and promotion. Ever since, it ‘s proven to be a helpful method for breaking down a marketing strategy but, when I started working with online advertising and the concept of remarketing emerged, there became a clear need for a fifth P: people.

Today’s online retailers face a difficult challenge to build brand loyalty and increase sales. Without sales, websites are simply online catalogs for viewers to gather ideas or inspiration and purchase elsewhere. The big question is: How do marketers reengage with consumers who are familiar with the brand as well as those who may have purchased from a competitor? The answer is simple: remarketing. While remarketing isn’t a new concept, there are several ways that retailers can use remarketing to gain attention, increase conversions and, ultimately, build brand loyalty.

Before remarketing most ads targeted a place, such as a billboard or television show, but the methods for targeting a key demographic were rudimentary and often still are. Here’s the main problem: Just because somebody likes watching Duck Dynasty, doesn’t mean her or she is in the market for duck call-related products. And while there have always been ways to target individual people through telephone, mail, and now email, there has never before been a way to effectively target individuals en mass based on their demonstrated interest in your business. When I introduce marketers to the concept of retargeting, they often have a hard time grasping the fact that they can target the user with ads rather than a specific website or category of website.

In 2014 it will be more important than ever for retailers to maintain a dialog with their existing audience and use consumer search behaviors to target new visitors. Try some of the following recommendations to optimize your retargeting efforts and improve your online store performance:

1. Combine promotions with site retargeting. This will help build brand loyalty with your existing customers and entice new visitors to come back and complete a purchase. Be sure to segment your visitors into those that have converted and those that have not so you can offer a relevant promotion to each. It also helps to factor in the lifetime value of a customer when measuring the success of the new visitors segment. I’m a big proponent of letting the data speak for itself, but we often need to supplement campaign performance with business intelligence to see the whole picture.

2. Utilize search retargeting to reach new audiences. This is a great tactic because it’s based on a consumer’s previous searches and therefore achieves a high level of relevancy in the moment. Promotions are also helpful here, especially when you consider that these consumers may be loyal customers of your competition. I’ve seen search retargeting campaigns achieve a clickthrough rate as much as 300% higher than site retargeting, but you should expect return on ad spend to be less.

3. Start using dynamic product ads. This is especially successful with new visitors to a site. They may not recognize your brand when they are retargeted with a display ad, but they will recognize the products they were browsing, so these ads will “pop” off the page. This is great for those consumers who still want to complete their transaction, but just need that extra nudge. The relevance of these ads can result in clickthrough rates that are 400% higher than static ads.

4. Activate retargeting for your paid search ads. It doesn’t matter how big of a retailer you are, you can always get more value from your existing audience. By bidding higher on searches made by people who have already visited your site, you will insure that they are not lost to the competition and you will see an increased return on ad spend. It’s also useful for bidding on keywords that you might not otherwise be able to afford because the competition and costs are too great. This is probably the greatest secret weapon in search right now.

5. Optimize your site retargeting campaigns based on click-through conversions and only use view-through conversions as supplemental data. The goal should be to design and display relevant ads that provide a positive experience and to encourage consumers to reengage with your brand. Clickthrough conversions can better inform your ad design and promotional strategy. It will also avoid overinflating the value of your campaign. Use view-through conversion data with search retargeting because it often reaches a new audience, which means there’s less chance that a view-through conversion is overlapping with another marketing channel, and therefore it holds more weight as a metric.

John is an account manager on the Webtrends Digital Strategy team with seven years of experience managing online advertising strategy for enterprises across every vertical.

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