5 Tips To Rock Your Next Retargeting Ad Campaign

Brian on 10th of Jul 2015

5 Tips To Rock Your Next Retargeting Ad Campaign

Have you ever visited a website and then noticed a bunch of their ads following you around all over the internet? Marketers use these “retargeting ads” to draw people back to their website who left without taking any action, things like:

  • Making a purchase

  • Filling out a lead form

  • Opting-in to a newsletter

  • Signing up for a free trial

These ads can feel stalker-ish, but they work. The data shows retargeting ads get a 10x higher clickthrough rate than display ads. Why? Because visitors who’ve stopped by your website are already familiar with your brand. In this post, you’ll learn 5 tips to rock your next retargeting campaign and make a dent in the 98% of visitors who take zero action the first time they visit your website. Before we hop in, check out this handy visual of how retargeting works: How Retargeting Works

1. Nail down a crystal clear objective

Retargeting ads accomplish the goal of bringing people back to your website. However, the offer you make, the landing page you link to, the call-to-action you include, all of those strategic decisions are driven by your current marketing priorities. How are you specifically trying to grow your business right now? Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Grow your number of leads by 2x in the next 2 months

  • Convert 5% of free users into paid users

  • Decrease the number of abandoned shopping carts by 3x

  • Increase upsells and cross-sells for a 10% increase in revenue

  • Drive free trial signups to reach your July goal of 800 trials (SaaS businesses, we’re talkin’ to you)

Retargeting ads aren’t a silver bullet to crushing your marketing objectives, but do play a crucial role in the Digital Marketing Journey to score more customers fast.

2. Segment who is most likely (and least likely) to buy

A website visitor who looked at your pricing page, spent five minutes reading a blog post, and almost signed up for a free trial is completely different than a website visitor who bounced after being on your homepage for five seconds. The former is more interested and likely to buy while the latter is highly unlikely to convert. Don’t wastefully spend your marketing budget by retargeting every website visitor. Instead, focus on advertising to people who’ve shown an active interest in your products and services. To find these likely buyers and save ad spend in the process, segment your audience into groups using this criteria:

  • Behavior: Figure out which pages viewed on your website drive the most conversions. For example, a visitor viewing the pricing page indicates an openness towards making a purchase. A view of a free trial page (without a signup) shows a leaning towards signing up, no matter how small. In both these cases, the visitor is a perfect candidate for retargeting.

  • Language & Location: Double check your audience geography and language settings to avoid wasting money on clicks from places you don’t serve or sell to.

  • Technology: Spending habits and decisions vary from device to device. Research your own audience to find out their behaviors with smartphones, tablets, and desktops to give insight into where and how you advertise.

  • Exclusions: Remember to exclude groups who are already customers, any spam traffic, and visitors who quickly bounced after first arriving at your website so you don’t waste clicks.

With the above criteria in mind, create segments that bring clarity to who to advertise to and the audiences to spend zero marketing dollars trying to win over.

3. Test different ads to see what works

Rotate messaging, imagery, and offers to keep your ads fresh and to avoid people falling into “banner blindness.” Since the the audience is likely to recognize you and has already built up some trust from visiting your website before, include a more direct call-to-action in all of your ads. Here’s an example set of retargeting ads from Asana: Asana's Retargeting Ads Asana focuses on building awareness for their app by featuring their major benefits: “Teamwork without email”, “Achieve more, email less in 2015”, and “Goodbye, email. Hello, Asana.” Each ad includes different imagery and copy to evoke different emotions while still driving clickthroughs to “Get started for free.”

Retargeting ads work by attaching a “cookie” (a little piece of code) to website visitors that follows them around the internet (this is where the stalker-ish feeling comes in). After the cookie expires, the ads no longer show. The default duration for most retargeting platforms is 30-90 days, but can be adjusted when you are setting up your campaigns. Set a duration for your retargeting campaign that matches the typical amount of time people take to purchase your products and services. For example, let’s say you run a boutique marketing agency where new clients typically sign a contract within 45-60 days. If your cookie duration is 90 days, re-adjust your settings to 60 days to avoid spending money attracting clients who’ve already made their purchasing decision.

5. Limit the number of times your ads are shown per day

The New York Times once said “anywhere the eye can see it’s likely to see an ad.” This is especially true on the web. Your website visitors see ads on Facebook, Twitter, Google search results, and website after website after website. It’s overwhelming. The solution is not to avoid advertising, it’s to advertise without being annoying and turning off potential customers. Limit the number of times your ads show to 10-20 times a day. Sticking in this range will still keep you on people’s minds without sabotaging your retargeting efforts.

Rock your retargeting

Retargeting ads are a powerful marketing tool to draw previous visitors back to your website to take action. To rock your next retargeting campaign, remember to:

  • Nail down a crystal clear objective

  • Segment who is most likely (and least likely) to buy

  • Test different ads to see what works

  • Match the “cookie” duration to your sales cycle length

  • Limit the number of times your ads are shown per day

By implementing the above strategies, you’ll be on your way to creating retargeting ad campaigns that increase your leads, win new sales, and grow your business. How are you using retargeting ads in your company? Any hot tips you’d include in the above list? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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