How to Use Retargeting to Increase Your Sales

A young woman is browsing through your e-commerce website and is checking out the great collection of t-shirts on offer. As she’s looking at your designs, she gets a call from husband who informs that he broke his hand biking. She shuts down the computer and goes to pick him up and take him to the hospital. Weeks go by and the woman has completely forgotten about your t-shirts.

Or we can consider a less dramatic but still common circumstance. Someone can browse your website one day, stay a bit and then leave. Couple of weeks later, they may read a blog post and subscribe to your email list.

How do you convert this prospect?

You should use retargeting in both cases. Retargeting works by installing a piece of code on your website to mark each visitor so that you can display your ads even when they aren’t on your page anymore. Retargeting is a perfect solution for the aforementioned examples.

Retargeting strategies were designed for people who have visited your website. Or for people on your email list. However, retargeting ads are not your run of the mill ads that cast a wide net.

The buying journey is a very complicated process-around 98% of your website’s traffic won’t convert on the first visit. Retargeting focuses on reaching out to people who are already familiar with your brand. Contrast this with other ads that are displayed to people who fall within a particular target demographic, for instance. Therefore, when setting up retargeting ad, assume that your target audience is at least partially familiar with your brand. When properly deployed, retargeting ads are an effective method of increasing your ROI.

The edge that retargeting ads have over forms of advertising is the familiarity that people have with what’s advertised. Studies show that roughly 60% of shoppers notice ads for products they’ve already seen. And the best part is that almost 90% don’t mind at all!

As a result, people feel at ease with this form of advertising, which makes retargeting ads much more effective than general display ads.

Some marketers believe that what makes retargeting such an effective strategy is its reliance on a famous marketing principle: The Rule of 7. The idea behind this belief is that a prospect needs to see your ad at least 7 times before it really leaves an impression on them and are ready to convert.

In other words, the more your prospect is exposed to your messaging, the more likely it is that your business will build a trusting relationship with them.

However, this strikes us as implausible and very counterproductive. Whether you’re using retargeting campaigns or are generally trying to increase awareness of your brand, you must pay attention to advertising frequency. Inexperienced advertisers often make the mistake of not thinking about how the rate at which the ads are shown effects their overall performance.

Take a look at what Rapp and Research Now and Inskin Media concluded in their report Familiarity, Frequency and Fine Lines about the number of times an ad is shown and the way the brand is perceived:

Image Source: INSKIN

It should come as no surprise that if consumers are continuously exposed to an ad that this will negatively impact their opinion of the business. Think about the times when you see an ad across different devices; you feel like a prey being stalked by the brand. It’s completely intrusive and can easily make people feel anger and resentment toward the business.

The takeaway here is that you should put a limit on ad frequency. Most successful digital marketers show 3 ads at most. After that, the ad will either be discarded or switched up a bit.

In order to fully enjoy the fruits of your labor, consider adopting the following marketing tips. Let’s dig into the many ways retargeting ads will boost your sales.

Always Remember the Buyer Journey

Your retargeting campaign can’t be successful without considering the buyer journey. It is a lot like a sales funnel in that there are various stages through which the prospect needs to pass in order to become a customer. Take look at this helpful illustration of the process from McKinsey & Company

Image Source: McKinsey & Company

You want to attract as many prospects as possible as they’re moving down the funnel, but be careful how you engage them. You run the risk of seriously hurting your conversion rates if you are not mindful of the buying journey. In other words, don’t just let your retargeting ads show automatically.

This isn’t only about constantly displaying your ad to the wrong people. Rather, it has more to do with the performance of the ads. Track how your retargeting campaign is doing, and be aware of what’s working and what needs to change.

Consumers know why they’re seeing your ads after having visited your website. Therefore, if people are not converting, try something new. For e.g., if an ad your running is not converting leads even after weeks of seeing them, then you’ll need to create another ad.

Let’s take a look at how Freshdesk switched things up when the ads weren’t converting:

Image Source: NEILPATEL

This straightforward ad has a very a clear call-to-action button. This kind of ad would typically be shown to visitors of a landing page on their website. However, what should Freshdesk do if people who are seeing this ad aren’t downloading the white paper?

They’ll need to change it, since it’s unlikely that displaying it for another few weeks will convince people to convert.

Look at this new add from Freshdesk for people who aren’t signing up:

Image Source: NEILPATEL

This ad is completely different in design and also has another call-to-action from the first one. In the second ad, Freshdesk is offering their prospects a free trial of their software.

Changing an offer is a good way to test out possible alternative ways to improve your conversion rates. A/B testing is the key to optimizing your retargeting initiatives. What makes this ad effective is that it includes that uses a girl wearing a superhero costume to imply that the product is simple that a child can use while delighting your customers like a superhero would. Also, the green color is on brand because it emphasizes the name Freshdesk by referring to nature.

However, there are still ways this ad could be improved. For one, there’s too much text which makes it a little cluttered. The focus should be on how powerful and simple to use the software is. And also, the call-to-action button should have “start your 30 day free trial” to make it more actionable.

You have to be ready to engage in this sort of analysis and tinkering until you identify the ads that bring in the most customers.

Focus on Your Target Audience 

Many businesses make the mistake of targeting all the visitors to their website. It should be pretty clear that this strategy doesn’t always produce the best results. 

Prospects visit your business’s webpage for various reasons. They also visit different pages on your website, which indicates various buyer intentions.  

An e-commerce website, for instance, should have custom retargeting ads for people who visit different product pages. For an e.g., if someone visits the “t-shirt” page, then place that person into “casual wear” group. By segmenting your visitors in such a way, you’ll be able to target your prospects with relevant content, which will increase your conversion rates. 

Customized Landing Pages 

When a prospect clicks on your ad, it should take them to a particular landing page designed specifically for that ad. Otherwise, your visitor will be confused and leave. Don’t place your prospects in a position where they have to search for content on your website.

For instance, if the core part of your business is women’s clothes and you’re looking to add men’s clothing into your collection, then the landing page can’t be the company’s webpage. That is because it will mostly have content about women’s clothing. Therefore, your ads should link to pages that offer men’s wear.

Customized landing pages ensure that people won’t lose their scent , and find themselves lost in an unfamiliar setting.

Don’t Forget Your Existing Customers 

Never leave existing customers out of your eyesight. This also holds true for retargeting campaigns. For instance, analyze your email list, and identify subscribers who haven’t been active recently.

Try to engage them again. Having a segmented email list is important for this approach because you can classify your users according to demographics, interests or activity.

The advantage of retargeting your customers is that they are already familiar with your brand and know more about your business than people who have just stumbled upon on your website.

This gives you the opportunity to either upsell or cross to your current clients. It’s much easier for you to offer a new product or service to a customer than convincing an entirely new person to give you their business.

Segment Your Audience

This tactic is very important for e-commerce businesses because it makes your retargeting ads more effective.

In fact, segmentation should always be the foundation of any retargeting campaign. Group your target audience according to different actions they’ve taken including:

  • Visited particular category pages
  • Added certain products to a cart
  • Looked at you About page
  • Read your Contact page

By segmenting your audience, you’ll be able to display ads that contain pertinent content about the products/services to the right people.

Exclude People Based on How Time Spent On Webpage 

This a well-kept industry secret that will streamline your retargeting campaign.

Your pixel data will give you information that will allow you to place prospects into yet another important group-people who don’t spend a lot of time on your webpage.

Your retargeting budget should not be spent on people who don’t spend an appropriate amount of time on your website. These people will dramatically increase your bounce rate, and they’ll most probably not be convinced to convert when exposed to your advertising.

Setting up this feature is a very straightforward process in Google Analytics and is a proven way of increasing your ROI.

Follow Google’s instructions on how to implement this segmentation filter.

Help Customers To Their Shopping Carts

One of the huge issues facing e-commerce businesses is cart abandonment. Current data indicates that over 60% of consumers don’t make their purchase at the very end of the transaction.

BI Intelligence estimates that shopping cart abandonment phenomenon results in $4 trillion of lost revenue annually. It is important that the e-commerce business reacts quickly to customers refusing to make a purchase. Try to send your email within 3 hours of cart abandonment which will give you a 40% open rate and a 20% click-through rate. Therefore, strike while the iron is hot.

These retargeting emails will nudge customers to give your offer another chance.

This is why e-commerce businesses should implement automated cart abandonment emails. While you won’t get back all of potential customers, retargeting ads can further assist you in reeling them back into your funnel.

People abandon their shopping carts for various reasons; they may still want to compare prices or the price is too high for them.

Identify all the people who didn’t complete a transaction from your email list and send them special offers that will convince them to back and finish checking out.

Save Money By Focusing  On Who Has Yet To Buy 

This may sound obvious, but focus your attention on people who haven’t converted. Keep in mind that a whole lot can happen between when you look at customer data and when your retargeting ads start displaying. It’s pretty likely that some of the people you’re targeting have made a purchase. Sending them enticing offers meant to convert them is extremely unprofessional and they may avoid your business from here on out. Therefore, save yourself embarrassment, time and money by taking them off your retargeting list.  

Final Thoughts on Retargeting 

Prospects that are engaging with your business as a result from your retargeting campaign aren’t going to convert immediately. A good rule of thumb is to invest a month before you start analyzing data and assessing the performance of your strategy. Marketers get impatient quickly and scrap their retargeting imitative within weeks. Remember that you’re retargeting these people because they didn’t convert on the first try; they need more engagement before they make a purchase.