People are turning to the Internet at each step of the buying process. Both consumers and corporate buyers are looking for answers to their problems (learners), researching information on various solutions (shoppers), and comparing competing offers and making final purchase decisions (buyers), all online. However, the quick pace of the digital landscape makes it exceedingly difficult to stay engaged with your target audience throughout this entire buying process.
What is remarketing?
Technically speaking, remarketing (also called retargeting) is the use of tracking codes to tag an Internet browser when it visits your site. It’s done with those infamous cookies we hear so much about. A remarketing cookie doesn’t keep track of every move through the Internet — it simply indicates when the user visits both your site and other sites on the display network that serves your ads.
Why use it?
Between the abundance of online content, fickle Internet audiences and the anonymity of the web, it’s difficult to know where to find our target audience and when to reach them. Online audience demographics are often difficult to determine. However, interest-based targeting is possible, and it’s a much better indicator of who is, well, interested in your offering.
When someone visits your site, they are showing a very specific and potentially valuable interest in your brand, products or services. Remarketing is like being able to talk to the window shoppers of your website — without having to stand outside in a hotdog suit.
Once you have a list of cookies, you can serve your ads on any site within your display network. These users have been to your site and are familiar with your brand, so they are more likely to notice and, in turn, click your ads. These prequalified individuals are potentially the most efficient targets of online marketing dollars. Remarketing allows us to put ads in front of them from early in the process until they reach the finish line.
Doesn’t it freak people out to be “followed”?
Remarketing gets a bad rap, because some brands are too eager to serve an ad whenever and wherever they can. As with all things, there is a time and a place for its use.
Google and other display networks provide tools to set boundaries for ads. Add context by showing ads only when the user is on a site with related content. Use frequency capping to only show an ad to each user “x” times per day/week/month. If all else fails, set a realistic expiration date on the cookie and stop serving to people if they don’t return to the site within say 5 days, 2 weeks or 30 days.
Remarketing could be the first step in developing the client-brand relationship.
Remarketing gives us the ability to construct and deliver an extremely relevant message, breaking through the noise and clutter of the Internet. These customized messages say “we’re listening, and we want to be your choice.” So while the abuse of the technology has led some to be wary, it is a strong tool that should be considered for most digital campaigns.