Technology to Keep Prospects and Boost Returns

In the past, a sales prospect might have received an intriguing offer on a postcard, gone online to get the details, and maybe even added an item to the site’s shopping cart, but then moved on somewhere else without finalizing the purchase. Never visiting that business’ website again, that prospect was most likely gone forever. But now, with technology like retargeting and remarketing, a business has the capability to stay in touch with that prospect online, dramatically increasing its chances of closing the sale.

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Retargeting/Remarketing: Are They the Same Thing?

Yes and no. Retargeting is a general marketing technique in which visitors to a website are tagged and targeted with banner ads on display networks across the Internet. Retargeting is effective because it only targets users that have already visited a website and have a familiarity with its brand, unlike regular online display ads that target everyone and must introduce a brand and build trust with an unfamiliar audience.

Remarketing, such as Google Remarketing, is a specific form of retargeting that was launched by Google in the fall of 2012. Through remarketing technology, the world of direct mail marketing is now integrating with Google to offer better marketing results for less money, according to a report on Forbes.com.

Retargeting Basics

According to AdRoll.com, only 2% of online shoppers actually make a purchase during their first visit to a website. The purpose of retargeting is to allow a business to keep track of the other 98% by displaying relevant ads to them while they visit other websites.

Retargeting works by placing a JavaScript tag in the footer of certain pages of a website.  A business can take a broad approach by targeting every visitor to every page of their website, or a more specific one that targets only visitors to a certain page of their site.

As these visitors browse the pages on which the tag appears, they will be added to an audience that is cookied, so that as they visit other sites in the display networks in which the retargeting ads appear, they will be shown specific ads from the business employing the retargeting techniques.

The bigger the audience, the more effective a retargeting campaign can be. Once someone in a business’ audience converts, or makes a purchase, a “burn pixel” on their post-transaction page will remove them from the audience being retargeted, or at least show them different ads.

But just because someone visits a website once or twice doesn’t mean they want to be inundated with ads everywhere they browse. A frequency cap can limit the number of times a tagged member of an audience will see a business’ ads, and thus prevent potential customers from being annoyed, bored, overwhelmed, or stalked by you.

By using a frequency cap, a business can strategize how and when to serve ads to prospects who are still researching, browsing, or just not quite ready to buy. According to a retargeting case study on Get Elastic, there is no magic number when it comes to frequency caps, but knowing your industry and running test campaigns can help a business determine how many exposures might be optimal for its audience.

How Google Remarketing Works

Google Remarketing allows businesses to create an AdWords campaign to show highly relevant messages to people who have visited these pages as they browse sites in the Google Display Network. Google has also announced a beta program called Remarketing in Search, which is designed to leverage the benefits of remarketing by helping sites achieve higher ranking on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The idea is to create remarketing lists by utilizing the customer knowledge gathered through retargeting to help convert more customers.

Setting up Google Remarketing is not difficult, according to Search Engine Watch. A business will need to define its marketing strategy: Does it want to target all visitors, or visitors to a specific page on the site? Just one simple-to-install retargeting pixel is positioned where you choose, and you’re all set.

Is Retargeting/Remarketing for Me?

The major advantages to retargeting and remarketing for businesses include the ability to reach more potential customers, continue the conversation beyond the initial website visit, maximize the impact of their brand, and perhaps most of all, spend their advertising dollars on an audience who is familiar with their company and, based upon their browsing habits, has expressed an interest in their products and services.

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