3 Top Retargeting Strategies for 2013

Dec 31, 2012 11:09 PM  By

Many advertisers have made adding or expanding retargeting advertising a priority for their digital marketing campaigns in 2013. As this opportunity continues to be a cost-effective means to increase conversions from existing traffic sources, the space will get more competitive and prices will continue to rise. This points to the need for marketers to be more sophisticated in deploying retargeting programs, leveraging stronger strategies than many currently in use.

Get creative, not repetitive!
Ad fatigue. We’ve all had the experience: you visit a site and browse around without purchasing, then for weeks after it seems the only ad you see is the one for that site again. This same old ad is the result of a very uncreative campaign.

For better results, and less annoyance on the part of those you target, make sure your ad changes over time. Rather than keep serving one ad, one offer, and one experience to those you are retargeting, mix it up. Here’s how.

Set multiple cookies with different time parameters for the same event on your site
As each cookie expires, you can change the ad and offer. This way you can keep your ads fresh, and if one offer didn’t get a click, the next one might.

When you get clicks for a particular ad/offer combo that isn’t converting, stop serving that offer. Instead, set a new cookie to get people into a new marketing path with different offers or incentives, or at the very least a different image.

Marketing beyond abandoned carts
Sure, one of the easiest ways to get quick results is to simply target visitors who were so close to a purchase but didn’t finish. But don’t stop at cherry picking the easiest prospects. Set longer lists for customers who did purchase and then try to reengage them later.

This will again require two durations in your tagging, one for, say, 60 days and one for 120. That way once the 60-day tag expires, the 120-day is still active, so you can get in front of your customers again to remind them of your brand at just the right time.

For retailers of consumable products especially, knowing when your customer will need more is critical to get in front of them before they begin searching for a new supplier.

Speaking of abandoned carts, don’t forget the all-important…

Perform a holdout test
Many times an ad campaign is set up to retarget abandoned carts and the sales it generates are attributed to the ads. But how many of those sales may have come in naturally? The ease of setting up segmented lists, especially in Google AdWords, means you should put each ad campaign to the test.

It is a simple process to split visitors into two groups using URL-based tagging in AdWords, each group with staggered cookies expiring in 7 and 14 days. Then market only to half for the first 7 days and watch the overall conversions of both groups.

Ideally you’ll find the right length of time that allows visitors to come back naturally and complete the purchase without costing you needless clicks. And by popping up a few days later for those who don’t return, you’ll not only be far less wasteful in your budget, but less annoying to those who planned on coming back anyway.

Michael Briggs is president of digital marketing agency Website Publicity.

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