Most businesses may have heard of retargeting and thought it’s too complicated and “we’d never use it”. Some may just have never heard of it. In, this article I am going to explain what it is and why you should use retargeting.
As a internet user, you will have been caught by a business that has done this. Ever visited a website, gone to another and suddenly ads for the first appeared offering you a deal?
That is retargeting and is what businesses are doing to keep their business in your mind.
Some call this scary and creepy, but if you want to get the best deals, then maybe you want them to able to do this.
The best businesses are upfront about their use and will warn you cookies/tracking are being used, so there shouldn’t be any surprises.
However, that was what all you had to do up until 24th May 2018, you just warned people you used them.
After this date, the 2018 GDPR legislation means you now have to tell them what cookies and tracking you use and get them to accept them being used.
Under GDPR, if the information needed for that cookie/pixel collects any personal data, you need permission to collect and tell them how you use it.
Also, it means as a business, you need to provide a mechanism to switch off these and still allow the visitor to use the website.
As I said, those businesses that respect potential client’s data will offer this when they first visit their website.
This will put businesses off, as it’s too much work or they are fearful of breaching GDPR, but I want to show you what it really is happening and why you should use retargeting.
What is retargeting?
Take the example of a visitor to your website.
When they first land and accept your cookie/tracking policy, a small piece of code is placed in their browser and/or they are added an audience list for whichever ad platform used.
This snippet of code is personal to the user and your business. It allows you to then target them with ads when they visit websites you advertise on.
There are different ad platforms that have different types of codes and you’ll hear different terms – cookies, pixels, target code, click events, tags etc. They all do something differently but when geared to help you market, this is retargeting.
When you see ads on other websites.
The ad platform knows having visited website for Business A, they insert a cookie on your browser. With your permission of course!
This cookie recognises if you visit website B, where they place ads for businesses, it recognises you, and show ads from Business A.
When you see related Ads on Social Media Platforms.
Having visited their website, the tracking code captures the website visitor and adds them into their audience list.
If you want to see what data is used, here’s their blog on at a high level about what they capture.
Now when the business places an ad, they can say to the platform, only show this ad to people who are on this list.
This is re-targeting in the simplest form.
Businesses can get very sophisticated when you add event or specific funnel tracking e.g. abandoned cart, did not buy, bought the front-end product but not the up-sell.
Why do you want to use Retargeting?
There are several reasons why but here are my top 4.
Reason #1 – Another chance
What makes this powerful tool for you as a business, is it allows you to target only those that took an action. i.e. visited the website, landing page, clicked on a call to action. These action takers have to some extent, qualified themselves and are more likely to be converted.
Thus, primary reason is it allows you another chance to convert them.
Reason #2 – Lookalike Audiences
Under Facebook, if you can capture a large enough audience, they allow you to target what are called look alike audiences.
This is the big brother part of retargeting and I know many people will not like this – but you can opt out. Do this through tools in your browser and rejecting cookies policy of a website. Or don’t continue on them. Remember, they need to make money to survive and offer their services. Thus, support them if you think they are a business you like and want to succeed.
What is big brother about this?
Facebook and all the other platforms are analysing what you do and capturing data about you.
You have a profile in their vast data banks. If your data matches that data of your targeted audience who you captured with your pixel, then you are a lookalike! Ads will come your way.
For a business, this saves them time and effort trying to get more visitors.
Reason #3 – Brand Awareness
When I see an ad of a business I know or have met, I often say to them, “I saw your ad”. They are very pleased as punch their business is getting out there, and people are talking about it.
Reason #4 – Track their behaviour
Not all visitors will go through your sales funnel and will drop out at different stages. If you can target this behaviour you are able to them target them based on these actions.
You can build different campaigns around this to try and maximise your conversion of them into your business.
Is it targeting visitors ethical?
Should I have started with this question? Maybe!
However, I wanted to first explain what retargeting is from your website, landing page or even an image in a PDF. (Yes, you can do this!).
Then I wanted to show why you should do it.
Now I will answer whether it’s ethical to do this.
Yes – if done responsibly and you give every opportunity for people to opt out.
As a business consider your audience; do they want to see you plastered all over the web every time you visit a website? Do they want Facebook Ads constantly appearing in their news feed? Ask them , if you are not sure.
Currently, I am seeing Shutterstock ads on every website. When I see theses ads, do I mind? No, it’s a reminder to me. For others, it might be too big brother.
All I can say is, most businesses are just trying to generate leads. Retargeting is a way to fast track some of these visitors into their sales funnels.
If you don’t want to be sold too; turn off the cookies using the browser settings; clear your browser regularly; and don’t visit sites that don’t offer opt out options.
If though you want deals, advice or help or to buy, then allow businesses to market what they offer. You never know it may just change your life and you theirs!