Effective Retargeting


Brandon Pindulic recently wrote an article, reckless retargeting, which highlights the rise of retargeting or remarketing that many companies are taking advantage of.


Retargeting simply means that a visitor visited a site, took a specific action on a site, read a certain piece of content, etc. that had a cookie installed in it, which allows that business to ‘retarget’ that individual through various types of ads.


It’s a smart strategy, and very effective when done right. However, the article makes note of how companies are abusing their retargeting ad spend and essentially trying to activate visitors who were never interested in the first place.


For example, you go onto a site because you saw an article that had a bunch of pictures of cute puppies, and it was written by a business selling dog collars. The article did its job by bringing in relevant, ‘top of the funnel’ traffic, but this doesn’t mean the visitors are looking at dog collars or even have a dog, and now for the next month you’re seeing dog collar ads all over the place.


While that strategy may work sometimes, it’s better to not remarket to that person unless they took specific actions that qualified them as a potential lead. Maybe it’s visiting the ecommerce portion of the site, or adding something to their cart and not checking out right away. Regardless, most businesses are just implementing retargeting cookies all over their site and content and are wastefully spending a portion of their ad budget.


This is a tough thing to see a lot of times because you may have a positive ROI on your retargeting spend, which is good, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be better.


Paid marketing is a very tricky space to get into, and a lot of marketers waste A LOT of money trying to get it right.


Just look around your Facebook and Twitter feed, and the next site you visit. How many irrelevant ads are on there from sites you’ve visited and had no intention of purchasing from?


I know for me, it’s about 1 of 5 ads are relevant. And that 1 is a site that I purposely clicked on to, checked out a few items for sale and left because I didn’t want to buy right then and there.


The rest are just sites I randomly stumbled on or read an article on about a month ago. Wasted as spend.


Now, I know no one can get this perfect. It’s difficult, and quite honestly, it’s not worth over-optimizing your ad spend unless it’s your only job and your managing millions of dollars. But, every penny counts, and implementing some basic measures to ensure that you’re targeting a more relevant audience of potential customers that are a bit further down the funnel than most of your site visitors can be very cost-effective, and it’s something more companies should pay attention to, especially those that are just getting into paid marketing.


I highly encourage companies running display ads to allocate a portion of their budget to retargeting, but I also encourage testing various strategies to ensure you’re not casting a wide net and spending money on unqualified leads.

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