1: Whole Site Retargeting
This is  easy to think about. When a visitor touches any page on your site, they are subsequently retargeted. This is useful, for the act of touching the site, anywhere on the site, indicates intent.  As simple as it sounds, this can be effective. However, for many marketing usages, this is not always a granular enough approach.  A website has to be singular in purpose across all pages to make whole site retargeting pay.

2: Product Retargeting
This is a methodology  most marketers think of when they think of retargeting. When visitors touche a specific product or category on the website, you follow them with product or category specific ads. AdRoll made a meal of product retargeting by creating the first easy dashboard using URL variables to handle setting granular retargeting cookies and subsequent creative for large catalogs. It’s efficient enough that AdRoll can mark up the raw media costs substantially while still providing economically viable lift for marketers.

Product retargeting is easy to do yourself at a lower cost, especially if you only sell a few products. Google has similar tools. So does TradeDesk, for agencies. These days, multiple DSPs offer product retargeting. If you’re able to sell from product pages on your site, then product retargeting should amplify good results and bolster marginal ones.

3: Process Retargeting
Process retargeting is another common methodology. Marketers set retargeting cookies at a location in the funnel, often just prior to converting. If the visitor does not convert, they’re retargeted as they traverse the interwebz. If your funnel converts users on a regular basis, process retargeting can amplify results. Try segmented creative for bails at various stages of funnels with multiple cookies. Smart marketers already do.

4: Search Retargeting: More From Conversion KWs
So the saying goes: “Search is like lakefront property. They’re not making very much more.” Organic search (SEO) and search PPC remain amongst the most highly focused to fuel conversions.  Though new keyword permutations laced with classic search intent are continually generated, customer count does always go up. In other words, search is awesome but it does not scale past the vertical spaces in which marketers play.

Here’s where retargeting helps: Even profoundly successful keywords leave a huge percentage of visitors unconverted.  Search PPC can easily be tagged to set retargeting cookies at the keyword or AdGroup level. If you’re able to sell with search keywords, retarget the unconverted to squeeze a conversion percentage bump for your most successful keywords.

Google Analytics lets marketers build search remarketing lists from organic keywords. The caveats are that not all keywords are visible in analytics anymore and Google remarketing only retargets in Google’s network. YouTube remarketing is a subject all in it’s own. We’ll discuss it in another blog post.

Our friend Dax at Chango has a very interesting search retargeting service. Chango uses third party search data to advise banner buys. In other words, you can use Chango to purchase keywords for visitors who have searched for those KWs, but have never been to your site. Follow those users nearly wherever they go. A great trick is to advise the banner creative by what converts in search. Third party data allows us to retarget users from websites you don’t own.

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  • AQ

    I’m familiar with retargeting as a consumer but have not had an opportunity to use it with any of our clients. One thing that interests me are psychographics and how consumers’ perceptions influence what they buy. So my question is, have you ever seen two related brands partner to retarget each others’ business?

    For example, if I am a punk rock record label and I know my listeners like to skateboard, could I hook up with a skate shop to retarget visitors to both our sites and vice versa?

  • Stephen Marsh

    I had no idea this was even a thing.

    That is so, so smart (and oddly manipulative).

  • Justin

    This is a great tactic, but I see these ads all over different web sites for products that I have already purchased. However, it is not a repeat purchase after the initial purchase. It is a one time thing. Im not going back to theis company because the one thing I purchased is all that they offer. At that point it almost becomes of no use and a waste of money.

  • David

    I’ve tried adRoll and Adwords remarketing, targeted Facebook ads, each with moderate success-adRoll can get to be quite expensive very fast if you run multiple campaigns and don’t severely limit your target audience.

    Looking at Quantcast for next year, though it is highly reliant on targeting only Quantcast enabled sites it seems.

    The big hurdle we struggle with is how to identify those users who may be cookied on multiple devices but only convert on one. Any ideas on how to overcome this problem?

    • Marty Weintraub

      David, Remarketing is like a horse: crap in and crap out. If we’re amplifying great marketing it works way better than trying to squeeze blood out of a stone.

  • Philip

    Interesting article.
    I work in mobile gaming and the funnel system is a common area of analysis.
    psychographics is going to grow more important as a retargeting method.
    I agree with Justin, sometimes I’ve already bought the item and still get retargeted ads for the same product. There is certainly some work to be done in this field.
    On that note, which companies are getting it right in the field?
    I heard great things about Criteo.
    Look forward to reading more on this subject.