Here are seven quick adjustments you can make to take your retargeting program from “Yuck!” to “Yay!” (Listen up all of you who just use default settings and one giant bucket of targeted visitors, and don’t skip the last point below.)
1) Frequency Caps
Overexposure to ads can quickly annoy visitors and result in decreased campaign performance. Limit the number of times a tagged visitor is exposed to your ad. Understand your sales cycle and take into account how frequently you want visitors to see your ad within that time frame.
2) Audience Segmentation
Visitors arrive with different goals and needs. Are they a customer? A prospect? What content have they viewed, and how does that help define their needs? Target messaging in ads to different stages of the funnel. Keep ads relevant to the audience segment.
3) Use One Provider (to start)
Many retargeting providers, such as Google AdWords, AdRoll, Steelhouse, and Perfect Audience have a high level of overlap in their publisher network. Use one out of the gate to avoid dilution, then add unique publisher networks as your program grows and becomes more sophisticated. Start with a network that provides a broad reach and good feature support, such as frequency capping.
4) A/B Testing
As with all aspects of digital marketing, retargeting offers a fantastic opportunity to improve your engagement numbers through ad testing. Ideally, optimize to increased conversions.
5) Use Targeting Options
Many retargeting networks offer sophisticated add on targeting for geography, context, demographics, or more. If these help you better focus your retargeting spend on the audience that will most likely bring you value, you should be using them.
6) Switch Up Messaging
Many marketers reiterate messaging in their retargeting ads. But retargeted ads are also an opportunity to say something different. Perhaps the reason the prospect didn’t convert in the first place was that the key piece of your value proposition for that person was missing in their experience on the site. A/B testing different ads that have different value propositions is a powerful one-two punch, and a path to success.
7) Evaluate Correctly
Repeat after me: “Retargeting is not a Channel”. Unlike other media, retargeting only works as an add-on cost that pays for itself by increasing conversion rate. Without your other channels, retargeting cannot exist. Yet companies still commonly report on retargeting performance with channel-based metrics, such as a unique cost-per-action. The right metric is cost-per-assist, and this can only be evaluated in terms of overall cost of acquisition and conversion rate. Thinking clearly about how to evaluate retargeting is key to success, as the increased use of retargeting is quickly increasing the cost and competition in the display networks.
Retargeting is quickly moving through its awkward adolescence as marketers begin to understand user behavior and find tactics that work for them. Keep trying new ideas and you too will find that retargeting becomes a key piece of your digital marketing program.