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How Retargeting Ads Can Boost Your Business


When considering the success of a digital campaign, the first metric that often comes to mind is the number of impressions. This is essentially the number of viewers who get a glimpse of your website, social media post, or any other company page during a campaign. Although impressions can indicate success for goals like brand awareness, your conversion rate may be a better measurement to track if your company is looking for tangible results.

In fact, on average only 2% of total impressions actually convert. However, that 2% can increase dramatically with the help of retargeting ads. By targeting those who have already shown interest in your brand, you can optimize your marketing by getting help from SearchUp this way your efforts increase your conversions per impression:

What are retargeting ads?

In this day and age, retargeting ads can be found on virtually any website. Whether it’s while scrolling through social media, searching for new information, or even reading the news, retargeting advertisements are meant to draw potential customers back to a website they’ve previously visited or shown interest in. Essentially, retargeting ads are a strategic way to optimize digital marketing efforts by targeting those who are most likely to make a purchase – first by tracking their browsing patterns and then by placing ads on the sites they visit.

These ads act as a reminder or additional “push” to get consumers to complete a purchase they may have previously started but not completed. From nonchalantly browsing to being on the brink of purchasing, these consumers have the highest buying potential because they are, at the very least, already interested in your brand.  

How does it work?

Retargeting works with a simple piece of code or pixel that is embedded into your website. This code then drops a cookie on anyone who visits your website. While the potential customer is browsing, the cookie tracks specific pages or products he/she views on your site. Much like a repeat customer at their local coffee shop may not have to explain to the barista “extra ice” every time, cookies use information gathered from a site visit to personalize and optimize a user’s future experience. Using this information, the retargeting platforms are notified of the most optimal place and time to serve your retargeted ads.

Once those ads are in place, they will repeatedly appear on other sites your customer browses through, serving as a gentle reminder for your brand, product, or category of products. With your business at the top of mind, potential customers are more likely to regain interest and navigate back to your site to complete their purchase.

Why does it work?

Retargeting ads are effective because they allow you to focus your efforts on an audience that’s already aware of your brand. Targeting these leads can speed up your sales cycle by eliminating the initial step of attracting interest from strangers. By targeting warm leads rather than cold leads, you’re able to minimize your time and maximize your return on your marketing efforts.

Retargeting also makes it easier for customers to be directed back to your site. With the simple click of a button, they can navigate back to your page with minimal thought and effort. The ad that gains their attention, most likely displaying the specific product or category of interest, makes it significantly easier to take them directly to the page they want to visit.

When/How should they be used?

Just like any marketing strategy, retargeting is most effective when used at specific times and with specific methods. No matter how good your retargeting strategy is, it’s never a good idea to rely solely on retargeting to drive your marketing efforts:

During sales and promotions

One of the best times to utilize retargeting is while your company is offering a sale or promotion. Since many customers abandon their purchase due to cost, the notification of a sale or promotion on a product of interest immediately increases the likelihood a customer will reconsider their purchase.

Not only does retargeting lead customers to complete their purchase, but it can also lead to repeat purchases. For customers who have invested in your brand, a limited time offer incentivizes them to further invest. Furthermore, retargeted ads displaying any type of promotion are more likely to encourage word-of-mouth marketing. Targeting those who are familiar with your brand can build loyalty among customers, helping establish advocates who are enthusiastic about your brand and ready to share the news with people they know. It’s a win-win situation!

Simultaneously with other marketing efforts

While retargeting is great for increasing conversions per impression, it’s important to remember that they only work for websites that already have traffic. Because of this, retargeting ads are most effective when used in combination with other marketing efforts. Whether inbound or outbound, your marketing strategy should first drive traffic to your site so that retargeting ads can effectively redirect these visitors.

What should they look like?

You’re in control of the actual content on the ads. With limited digital space, it’s important to keep your message clear and concise. Here are some things to consider in order to ensure you have the most effective design:

Engaging copy:

As with any ad, the message you send is of utmost importance. However, how you go about sending that message is just as important. Make sure your copy is short, sweet, and to the point for effective engagement.

Pictures, Videos, Boomerangs:

In addition to engaging copy, choose wisely for the type of media to be used in the ad. Depending on how targeted you want the ad to be, you can display a specific ad for a certain product or a generic ad featuring your brand name. Also, keep in consideration your target audience. Some questions to ask about your audience:

        • Are they more interested in a specific product?
        • Will a super-specific ad gain skepticism with my audience?
        • Would they respond more to a relevant video?
        • Is web privacy a big issue for them?
        • Are they more interested in sales/promotions?
Call to action button

While the purpose of an ad may seem clear, customers are more likely to respond with a specific call-to-action. The presence of an actual button calling them to “shop here” or “explore now” makes it easy for them to navigate right back to your site. For effective engagement, always be sure to include an easy access button directing your customers on the action you want them to take.