What Makes Retargeting Successful?

Retargeting as a concept and a tool has been around for some time now. However, its understanding and usage in Asian businesses is still not as mature as in the developed markets of U.S. and Europe. So what exactly is retargeting, how is it different from our regular display campaigns, and how can it fit within my digital marketing mix?

If the above questions interest you, I’d suggest you read on.

What Is Retargeting?

The original and most frequently used avatar of retargeting is website retargeting. Research seems to suggest up to 98 percent of a website’s first-time visitors drop off without converting (buying/signing up). Those are terrible odds to work with (yes, even JK Rowling fared better!) – almost at par with the success rate of a door-to-door salesman. Website retargeting helps you reach out to these 98 percent of users who are in-market for your products (that’s why they visited your site) and aware of your business (thanks to your digital marketing investments).


How Does It Work?

Marketers use retargeting platforms to target these users with personalized banners when the latter browse other websites. Users find the banners useful to their current need and display a higher propensity to click it and revisit the brand website, this time to complete a purchase or transaction.


For example, let’s suppose user A visited the Agoda China website looking for a hotel room in XYZ checking in on July 10, and left without making a booking. Agoda will retarget user A when she visits a different website (e.g., news website) with a personalized banner. The banner may have several dynamic features like search, scroll, mouseover, change dates, etc. These make the banner content more contextual and useful for the user and as a result they deliver high CTRs (click-through rates).

What Makes Retargeting Successful?

The success of a retargeting campaign is dependent on getting a combination of three things right:

1. Targeting the right audience: The ability to identify the interest level of a customer, the revenue and margin potential, and urgency help increase the ROI from serving ads to each user.

2. Display the right content on the banner: The more relevant the content, and sometimes the higher the number of options displayed, the better the CTR. The way to get more clicks out of users is best based on their preference and your understanding of what they can be up- or cross-sold to.

3. The right kind of reach: With users browsing the Internet for a million different purposes all through the day, using a plethora of devices, finding the right time and place is critical to driving purchase intent.

More to Come

That’s as much as I can say about retargeting without getting “too deep.” As a lover of technology and digital marketing it has been difficult to not get into that detail. But I will in subsequent columns here. Retargeting has many a flavor – email retargeting, CRM retargeting, and social retargeting. In many cases, it has been argued that lines with pure-play targeting are getting blurred. There’s also many interesting things happening on the campaign optimization front especially in the world of RTB (real-time bidding). More on all of this soon.

What are your views on retargeting? As a marketer, do you think it’s something you need, would love to experiment with, or has it provided you the right kind of returns already? Tell me in the comments section!

Image on home page via Shutterstock.

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