Retargeting – when to start and when to stop

Website retargeting has become more and more prevalent around the web over the last 4 years. Site visitors who are retargeted with display ads are 70 % more likely to convert to buyers on your site.  So it’s obvious to most marketers, particularly in Retail, Travel, and Fashion, that  people who have left a cart without purchasing, are interested buyers.  They may just need that extra little nudge after they leave to come on back.  Sometimes with special offers, sometimes standard branding ads.  According to Marketing Land, retargeting will get you exposed to 84% of your tagged traffic,

A key question that many marketers struggle with though is, how long, and how frequently should we be retargeting.  Is a user who left an item in a cart two weeks ago still in need of our brand displayed to them on other sites?  Answer – generally not.  It’s a science, like all good marketing, and there are some key strategies that can boost retargeting conversions, and save money on wasted impressions.

Life of the cookie.  Retargeting uses cookies to profile and follow a user after they’ve left a site.  Having this data allows retargeters to display ads on the networks and sites they are connected to whenever that visitor lands on one.  In order for the timeliest ad, and most effective, it’s integral to time the life of that cookie.  Be sure to set your retargeting campaign within your buying cycle to limit the cookie duration of your ad.  A good example is travel.  Someone planning a trip is likely shopping around on sites and is going to be making a decision soon.  If they leave your site, retargeting them for two weeks is wasting money.  A 10 day window ought to give them appropriate reminders of their visit to your site.  Advertisers generally agree that the most important ads should be displayed frequently in the first 48 hours, then drip down in frequency until about 5 days.  Some companies prefer longer. Feinternational prefers to target each user roughly 15-20 for a month. For retargeting efforts for large businesses offering a suite of software, they might want to keep the cookie life at an even longer setting.  A big financial decision is not taken likely.  That user may shop around for awhile, and while doing so, seeing your and one or twice a day for even as long as 60 days can be a good thing, provided they slow down the campaign as time moves on.  A frequency cap of 2 ads per day after a few weeks may be way too much.  Always look at your data, it will tell you when people are increasingly less likely to be in market and will only result in increased cost per sale.

Be sure to rotate your ads.  No matter your vertical, banner blindness will happen quickly with the same ad. Offer discounts, related products, free ebooks.  Give them a new reason to come back.

Segment your retargeting based on interest.  You should have enough data from your cookies to institute proper segments of your audience on the web  Facebook is also a great place for this due to their massive amount of highly targeted audiences.

To summarize: Know your audience, decide how long it may take them to decide on a purchase and set frequencies accordingly.  Use segments for specific groups on Facebook and the web.  Rotate your ads, and enjoy the revenues of the return customer