What is Ad Retargeting and Why Do You Need It?

This article was written by our friends at Fifth & Cor

Strategic digital marketing is vital to enhancing your online presence and driving sales. In order to guarantee the best search engine optimization, you need to be sure you’re getting exposed to the right audience, and one of the best ways to do that is by utilizing retargeting. Retargeting is the best way to gain further exposure from previous visitors to your website, which is more likely to result in conversions. 

What is Retargeting?

Retargeting utilizes a user’s past interactions with your site to entice them into visiting again. This is especially useful if you find potential customers leaving carts abandoned at checkout. With this tactic, users who have previously visited your site are shown ads that relate to items they may have interacted with in the past - such as adding to a cart or a wishlist. Retargeting helps to remind users what they were looking for and why they liked it, which increases the likelihood of completing their purchase.

How does it work?

The main factor of retargeting uses a browser’s “cookies.” These are small bits of data that are stored by the web browser that tracks who visited your site, your profile, or your ad. Cookies are implemented via a retargeting pixel, which is a JavaScript code embedded into your website. When a user clicks through to your site, the pixel places an anonymous cookie in their browser. These cookies then ping the user again when they make a web search similar to items they were browsing on your site. When this happens, banner ads begin being shown to the user as they browse, with the goal of enticing them back to your site. 

The best part about retargeting is that it’s typically done through a third-party application. Google Ads is a great resource for this since they allow you to easily show your ads to a tracked audience across Google and the websites it associates with. Plus, with Google Ads being part of Google’s site management toolbox, integrating Ads with Google Analytics is an incredibly simple process. You just need to sign into Google Analytics, navigate to your admin section, and click the link to connect your Google Ads account.

Adroll is another third-party app allowing you to run ads across Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and more. While you might not want to add another third-party app to your assortment of site management tools, these apps allow you to automate and streamline your marketing process. This means in the long run, you’re saving yourself time, money, and the headache of juggling multiple analytic applications at once. 

Retargeting vs Remarketing

When you go to Google, you may see that retargeting and remarketing are used as interchangeable terms. However, this is not an entirely accurate description. Retargeting, as discussed earlier, refers to ads and ad placements that occur based on users’ activity. This is typically automated or semi-automated with the use of cookies and the tracking of users’ search histories. 

Remarketing, on the other hand, refers to the re-engagement of customers via email. Remarketing is great for abandoned cart reminders, upselling and cross-selling, and lifecycle marketing emails. Essentially, retargeting is for users who have failed to complete the marketing funnel, while remarketing is for those who have completed it previously, but you’d like them to complete it again. 

Ad retargeting is incredibly important to utilize if you’re looking to bring wandering potential customers back to your website. It might seem like just another marketing tactic to stay on top of, but retargeting has a high success rate of turning abandoned carts into completed conversions. By reminding your consumers that they found the item they were looking for on your site, they’re more likely to move forward with completing their original purchase. Then, when they’re happy with their product or service, they’re even more likely to become a repeat customer down the line.

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