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What Is Remarketing?

Remarketing (or retargeting) is a powerful digital marketing technique that allows you to target ads to consumers that have already been exposed to your business; most commonly after visiting your website. Although it did exist prior to the Internet, remarketing has become increasingly popular with the rise of digital marketing.

How Does Remarketing Work?

To start a remarketing campaign you first need to add a snippet of code (known as a “tag” or a “pixel”) to your website. This code then places a tracking cookie on the computers of your website visitors. Any computer with that cookie on it is then eligible to see one of your remarketing ads.

As an example of how remarketing works, let’s say that you own a furniture store. You’re having a sale next week on your bedroom furniture. You could build a remarketing campaign and target people that have recently been looking at bedroom furniture on your website. Those people would now see ads for your furniture sale as they browse the internet.

Why Remarketing Ads Are Effective

Remarketing ads are effective for three reasons:

  1. They increase brand awareness with consumers that have shown an interest in your brand. By keeping your brand at the top of their minds, you increase the likelihood of them eventually choosing to do business with you.
  2. Second-time website visitors are much more likely to convert than first-time visitors. 95% of website traffic leaves without converting (buying something, filling out a contact form, calling your business, etc). 67% of them will buy something later, however. Remarketing ads bring previous website visitors back to your website where they are much more likely to convert into a customer.
  3. They can be highly targeted. Not only are you able to target all of your former website traffic, you can also target ads to a subset of that traffic based on shared characteristics, like what pages they’ve viewed.

Different Types Of Remarketing

There are many different types of remarketing ads available to small business owners. These different types can be split into:

Website Ads

The most common example of remarketing. Website ads are text, image or rich media ads that appear on other websites across the internet. These websites rent space to advertisers like Google and Bing who then auction it off to the highest bidder.

E-Mail Ads

Similar to website ads, except these ads are only displayed within e-mail clients like Gmail.

Search Ads

“Remarketing Lists for Search Ads”, or RLSAs, is a Google Adwords feature that allows you to tailor your search engine ad campaigns based on whether or not the searcher has already been on your website. RSLAs can be set up in two different ways:

  1. You can increase your bids when someone on your remarketing list searches for one of your chosen keywords. This helps make sure that your ads show in the highest possible position for these important searches.
  2. You can build a specific ad that only shows to users on your remarketing list. This allows you to show special ads to past website visitors.

RSLAs are powerful because they target someone that has both a past interest (they’ve already been on your website) and a current interest (they are actively searching for what you sell) in your products or services. Simply put, they allow you to target highly qualified people with ads customized to those people’s interests.

Social Media

Social media remarketing ads allow you to display ads to your past web visitors while they browse their social media feeds.

Remarketing Examples

All Visitors

The most basic example of remarketing. Your ads are eligible to be seen by anyone that has been to your site within a certain time period. This time period will vary depending on the average length of your sales cycle. It is most commonly set to target consumers that have been on your site within the last 30-90 days.

Visitors To Specific Pages

If you want to get more targeted with your efforts, you can also limit your targeting to people that have visited a certain page (or pages) of your website. For example, let’s say that you sell TVs and stereos. This targeting method allows you to target visitors that have been on TV product pages with ads specifically about TVs while leaving out those only interested in stereos.

Abandoned Cart Visitors

Taking this method one step further, you could also target website visitors that have been to one page (your cart page) but not another (your checkout page). The average cart abandonment rate for e-commerce stores is 69.23%. This remarketing technique allows you to target these consumers, giving them another chance to complete their purchase.

People That Have Already Converted

Do you have a hard time getting people to come back after making a purchase on your store? Do you want to automate your follow-up process after someone downloads your free e-book? Set up a remarketing campaign that targets users who have been on one of your “thank you” pages.

Remarketing FAQs

Don’t people find remarketing ads creepy?

When done incorrectly, remarketing ads can be a little creepy to some people. The vast majority of people, however, don’t seem to mind at all. You can also limit the “creep factor” of remarketing ads by reducing their frequency (the number of times they’re eligible to see your ad within a given time frame).

How much do remarketing ads cost?

Like regular digital ads, remarketing ads are charged on a cost per click (CPC) basis. They enter the auction process with other ads and are charged the same as a regular ad. Ultimately, how much you spend on remarketing ads is completely up to you.

What about visitors that have already converted? I don’t want to pay to show them ads.

Easy! Simply exclude website visitors that have been to your “thank you” page.

What advertising platforms support remarketing?

These days, there are very few digital ad platforms that don’t support remarketing! Everyone from Google Adwords and  Bing to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter support remarketing ads.

Is remarketing only effective for e-commerce sites?

Absolutely not! Remarketing ads can be effectively used on any website. They can be used to drive any website conversion; from e-commerce sales to contact form fills to lead magnet downloads.

Wrapping Up

Ask most people about remarketing ads and they’ll likely say something like “oh you mean those annoying ads that follow you around the internet?”. The truth is when they’re done correctly, remarketing ads can be the most effective advertisements available to small business owners.

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