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July 14, 2016

Ad retargeting is a tactic that enables brands to follow up with consumers who showed initial interest in a product but then failed to make a purchase. It's an essential tool for brands looking to grow and maintain a relationship with their consumers, and it should be integrated into any digital marketing strategy. Here's some key info on how it works, why it's so effective, and what it will accomplish for your campaigns.

What Is It?
At its core, ad retargeting is a form of online advertising that enables brands to remarket a product or service to customers. It's the nature of the browsing consumer to click on your website, and even to show interest in your products or services, but not complete the path to purchase. According to Digital Insider, on most websites, only 2 percent of web traffic converts (i.e., follows through to a buy), leaving that other 98 percent of traffic potentially lost forever. Retargeting is the piece of the puzzle that allows your brand to re-engage the attention of the audience that, for whatever reason, drifted away.

Here's a common scenario: Let's say you run a shoe store with an e-commerce presence. A consumer drops onto your site and clicks on a pair of boots. Then, she gets distracted and clicks off the page without buying them. You could shoot a clickable ad for those boots, or simply for your site, to that same consumer when she's on another website, perhaps searching for boots elsewhere. This is a pretty basic remarketing campaign that you can launch on your own using something like Google AdWords. With a bigger budget, virtually any marketing agency thriving in the digital era can work on a strategy that's right for their brand.

How Does It Work?

As AdRoll lays out, the fundamentals are pretty simple: A piece of code is added to a brand's landing page that drops a cookie in every visitor's browser, adding them to a list for potential remarketing. You can then segment your audience and retarget to those who didn't convert. Simple as it is, this is where you have to get a bit creative and ask yourself, "How can I better engage my consumer the second time around?"

You'll want to consider enhancing the desirability of a product by offering an incentive such as a limited-time discount or an online-only promotion. The idea is to nudge a shopper without being annoying and to show that you know their wants, without being creepy. It's a delicate balance, but one that can be mastered, as numerous case studies show. For example, Mazda worked with retargeting software company Merchenta in a campaign that brought in a 53 percent higher conversion rate.

What Else Can It Do?
Keep in mind that retargeting can and should be used not just to push the product that the consumer showed interest in, but also to boost business in other brand-affirming ways. It can be essential to a location-based marketing campaign. For instance, if you have a brick-and-mortar business as well as an e-commerce presence, consider bridging the two by offering customers an additional 10 percent off an in-store purchase when they spend over $100 online. That's an excellent way to not only motivate an online purchase, but also encourage in-store buys. You could also send a mobile push notification to a consumer who's been searching your products online while they're physically in your store. This kind of "right time, right place" marketing can help you cut through the noise and stay top of mind to a consumer.

≥≥ Need a Shortcut?

1. Ninety-eight percent of online consumers won't convert when they visit your site, but ad retargeting can recapture some of that lost audience.
2. You can do this inexpensively on your own with Google Adwords, but more extensively and comprehensively with a full-service marketing agency.
3. Remember that this is a tool to renew your consumers' interest—not to pester or stalk. Be thoughtful about what is essentially your follow-up or reminder ad.
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