Retargeting: How Ads Can Play Follow-the-Leader

Online businesses often have a more difficult time getting their products sold than in-person shops. Why is this? For one thing, consumers and customers can see, touch, and smell the product when they view it in-person, and this is far more powerful than the 2-D effect of a picture of the item on a computer or smartphone screen. A picture is worth a thousand words, but next to the real thing, the picture is useless.

Big companies have it easier: they can send advertisements out into the world that will pop up virtually anywhere the consumer goes. TV commercials, print ads in newspapers and magazines, billboards, radio ads, and more are all available when you have big guns. So, what do you do if you’re a small, online-based business with limited resources in regard to advertisement? This is where retargeting ads can swoop in.

What is Ad Retargeting?

According to USA Today, retargeting (or “remarketing”) is an online ad strategy where, once a customer visits a website, a cookie is attached to their browser. This small, bite-sized snippet of code is then able to track where the customer browses and relates this information back to the company. The company’s programs can then send ads out to where that customer is browsing.

In this way, ad retargeting can make it seem like a specific ad is “following” the customer around on the web. This isn’t terribly far from the truth, either. In this way, the company can remind the customer about their initial visit and entice them back to clinch the sale.

This strategy is an important one in the face of a statistic that says that, out of first-time visitors to a website, only 2 percent will stay to make a purchase, while the other 98 percent will leave without a sale (perhaps never to return), according to the Columbia Daily Tribune.

How Effective is Ad Retargeting?

Quoting statistics from a study by Criteo, the Columbia Daily Tribune says that this ad strategy is incredibly effective. For instance, it can help new customers, or customers the business wants to lure back, become familiar with the brand and remember the name.

It also encourages increased interaction and engagement with other products and services – when the customer returns to the site as a result of ad or Facebook retargeting, they will likely spend more time there and learn about all the business’s other offerings. This second experience has a better chance of leading to a sale.

Search Retargeting

Another way to get online ads noticed is to use the retargeter strategy through other means. One way to do this is through search engines. Even if a visitor has never been to a site, they can be targeted based on keywords and search terms they enter into search engines, according to US Weekly.

Unfortunately, this strategy for advertising on the web can backfire. Some customers get so fed up with ads they see popping up on every site they visit, they will actively look for ways to stop this game of follow-the-leader, according to US Weekly. One way to avoid annoying potential customers with ads is to carry out the ad campaign well. This means constantly measuring and refining the ad’s effectiveness, as well as setting frequency caps to prevent oversaturation (a point in time when the customer has seen the ad so many times, it no longer has any effect).

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