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What is Retargeting and How Does It Work?

While we can dream of a time when every visitor to your site would lead to a conversion, that idyllic world is not reality.

Only 2% of consumers will make a purchase during their first visit to a brand’s site, and the majority of visitors require multiple touchpoints before converting. Fortunately, retargeting provides businesses with the additional touchpoints needed to recapture the 98 percent of consumers who left your site without a conversion.

Why should your organization work retargeting into your strategy? Because it works. If you don’t believe us, just check us these handy dandy stats.

Pretty promising, right? Let’s break down how retargeting works, where you can work some retargeting magic, and some tips on how to best utilize this cost-effective advertising tool.

What is Retargeting?

Retargeting is an attempt to re-engage consumers who have already showed interest in your brand by visiting your website or app. In most cases of retargeting, these consumers left before completing a desired action, such as filling out a form, downloading a whitepaper, or making a purchase. This idea of retargeting occurs once the consumer leaves the brand’s site and is later targeted and served an ad for that same brand.

Retargeting campaigns feature strategic online placements of display ads. Retargeting ads look the same as any other ad on a platform, except they target specific people who have already interacted with your brand. Because of the cookies set in the consumer’s browser, their information is collected and is eventually used to retarget on third party sites. These installed cookies help to recognize and follow your site’s visitors even when they visit a different site.

Retargeting acts as a strategic second chance to make a sale, convert customers, and/or promote brand awareness. In most instances, retargeting campaigns have higher engagement rates than the typical ad campaign does. This increased engagement is because it’s easier to influence conversions with consumers who have already shown an interest in your products or services.

Think about it this way – retargeting focuses on people who have interacted with your site. Even though users may have left without taking an action, they were likely there for a reason. That interaction is more promising than starting from ground zero with an audience who might never have heard of your company. On average, consumers are four times more likely to be encouraged rather than discouraged to buy something if they see a relevant ad during their research on the product or service.

What Retargeting Platforms are There?

There are many ad platforms marketers can use for retargeting, such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads, LinkedIn Ads, AdMob, AdColony, and StackAdapt. However, we will be focusing on the big three today: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google.

Google Retargeting

Google Display Network, or Google Ads, is the leading tool for remarketing to potential customers. Google Ads works by adding a Google remarketing code, also called a “tag,” or “SDK” for mobile apps, to the company’s website. This remarketing tag works simultaneously with the browser cookies to collect the site visitors’ information. With the addition of the remarketing code, any visitors to the site will automatically be added to the company’s remarketing audience for future retargeting efforts.

With the many benefits of the Google Display Network, there are two major perks that stand out. First, Google Ads offers large-scale reach, with the ability to retarget to customers on more than 2 million partner websites and mobile apps. The second big perk when utilizing Google Ads is the amount of campaign reporting available. Google Ads provides in-depth statistics detailing how well your ad campaign performs, making monitoring, evaluating, and improving your campaign an easy task. As a result of these benefits, Google remarketing ads are some of the most-cost effective ad campaigns to serve to potential customers.

Google’s move to shut down the use of third-party cookies in 2023 will impact the ability of marketers to remarket. That’s why it is important to advertise on platforms based on the use of first-party data such as your company’s website, lead gen forms, email lists, surveys, and CRM data.

Facebook Retargeting

Closely trailing behind Google Ads’ reach, Facebook is ranked as the sixth most-visited site globally, with 2 billion people actively using the site. With such high volumes of traffic, Facebook is another strong platform to boost retargeting efforts.

As Google Ads can track a company’s website visitors with the combination of browser cookies and a “tag,” Facebook retargeting works by utilizing the potential customer’s browser cookies and a remarketing code, called a “pixel.” This “pixel” can be set up to track specific events, such as page views, searched terms, and purchases. Facebook has the ability to deliver content through dynamic retargeting ads displayed on the user’s Facebook newsfeed. As a result, Facebook remarketing ads tend to receive three times the engagement of regular Facebook ads.

LinkedIn Retargeting

With nearly 800 million members worldwide, LinkedIn is another popular platform that can be used for retargeting efforts.

Much like Google Ads and Facebook, LinkedIn can track a company’s website visitors with a specialized “tag” or “pixel.” LinkedIn retargeting works by utilizing the potential customer’s browser cookies and a remarketing code, this time called an “Insight Tag.” This “Insight Tag” can be set up to track specific events, such as a company page, event, lead gen form, video, or website traffic.

In their pilot study, LinkedIn’s 2,000-plus Matched Audiences campaign reported a 30% increase in click-through rate (CTR) with Website Retargeting ads, a 14% decrease in post-click cost-per-conversion (CPC) with Website Retargeting ads, and a 37% increase in CTR with contact targeting.

Retargeting vs. Remarketing

The end goal for both retargeting and remarketing strategies usually aligns: to convert consumers who have shown interest in or are likely to buy from your company. While these two concepts are similar and often mistakenly swapped, there are a few key differences between these two strategies.

While retargeting focuses on delivering display ads to previous site users, remarketing focuses on delivering content via email campaigns. Remarketing works by collecting previous site users’ information to create a list of customers who will be targeted later with a sales email. One benefit of remarketing is the amount of content you can include in the sales email, as the content for retargeting ads is more limited.

Remarketing is the ideal strategy for reminding site visitors of your brand. In many cases, remarketing emails will include information on the items the consumers left in their online shopping cart or make attempts to upsell or cross-sell. Another benefit of remarketing is the option to include an incentive, such as a discount or promotion, to encourage consumers to make a sale.

If flexibility in the location of content is important to your campaign, then retargeting ads may be the ideal way to engage consumers who are likely to be interested in your products or services. While remarketing only allows you to reach previous site visitors, retargeting ads has more capabilities to get your brand in front of new audiences by targeting consumers who may have similar online actions or behaviors to your current customers.

Both remarketing and retargeting can be effective strategies to add to your digital marketing plan. Although the two strategies have many similarities, knowing the difference between remarketing and retargeting can help you better choose the right approach to reconnecting with your site visitors.

Connect with Your Customers

Still confused about whether your campaign needs remarketing or retargeting? Aztek specializes in both retargeting ads as well as email remarketing. Aztek’s highly skilled team of digital marketing professionals can work with you to implement the right strategy to generate qualified leads, drive sales, and increase awareness for your brand. Contact us today to start a conversation.