Paid Search Basics for eCommerce Marketers: The Ins and Outs of Retargeting


Paid Search Basics for eCommerce Marketers_ The Ins and Outs of Retargeting

Years ago, the customer journey was more linear and consumer behavior somewhat predictable. 

In the age of lightning-fast networks, ubiquitous connectivity, and an ever-increasing number of platforms and channels, that’s no longer the case.

These days, the consumer journey is a multichannel marketing adventure. Someone finds out about a product on Twitter, forgets about it, searches for something on Google and sees an ad for that same product, forgets about it again, and then sees the same item once more on Instagram several days later. It’s at this point when the person finally decides to reach into their wallet and buy whatever the thing is.

How did the ads seemingly follow this individual around? It wasn’t magic. It’s because the brand used a form of online advertising called retargeting.

What is retargeting?

Believe it or not, 97 percent of people who discover your website for the first time will leave without making a purchase. It is up to marketers to engage with these users across other web properties, and this is where retargeting can be particularly helpful.

Simply put, retargeting is the process of “following” website visitors around the web and serving them text and visual display ads using platforms like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. When these individuals go to specific pages, they will be reminded of your products, depending on the campaigns you prioritize.

In other words, retargeting is a way to keep visitors who don’t convert the first time engaged with your brand. In turn, this enables you to drive more sales, expand your reach, improve brand awareness, and get data you can use to continuously optimize your campaigns.

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How can you get started with retargeting?

If you’re serious about implementing a retargeting campaign, you are going to want to head over to the Google Display Network, which gives you access to upwards of 2 million sites and 90 percent of all people on the internet who visit them.

From there, you will need to determine whether your retargeting efforts will focus on certain types of people, contexts, or content. For example, you might want to retarget campaigns on a specific demographic (e.g., women in their 20s) or on a specific behavior (e.g., someone who’s been to your website). On the other hand, you might decide to target people based on context (e.g., someone searching for a specific keyword) or content (e.g., consumers who visit Adweek).

Although Google gives you the ability to adjust your campaigns and set bids manually, you may want to consider looking into the service’s automatic targeting feature, which automatically leverages Google’s network to create a strategy that helps you achieve your objectives.

Retargeting campaign best practices

Every brand is different, so each marketing team will want to develop their own unique campaigns when it’s time to launch a retargeting campaign. That said, there are some universal best practices that can help guide your strategy:

  • Budget – Determine a budget based on how big your audience is, how long your campaigns are going to run for, and how many impressions you hope to generate. A couple hundred bucks could go a long way.
  • Run time – You’ll want to run your campaigns for at least 90 days to ensure you have enough time to generate real results.
  • Traffic – If your website gets high traffic spikes during specific times of the day or times of the year, consider bolstering your budget during these periods to increase your exposure and the effectiveness of your campaigns.
  • Channels – Use an eCommerce marketing platform to study how your users migrate across channels to get a better idea of how much money you should devote to each channel.
  • Images – Be sure to include high-quality images that attract the website visitor’s eyes to your ad and align with your message.
  • Ad copy – You only have a few words to get your audience’s attention, so write gripping copy that converts.
  • Reporting – No matter how your inaugural retargeting campaign performs, you can always do better. Run reports on your campaigns to get the data you need to improve future campaigns.

When you’re trying something new for the first time, there’s bound to be a bit of a learning curve. Just be sure to be patient and let data guide you forward, and you’ll do just fine.

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