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What is digital retargeting? (How does it work?)

Did you know that 96 percent of your website visitors leave without taking an action, or that 49 percent of people will visit your site two to four times before ever making a purchase?

Consumer behavior has shifted and has made it difficult for businesses to grab the attention of their ideal customers right from the start. Once they leave their site they go back back to Google, Facebook, Instagram or another channel often leading to your competitions website.

So, how do you get that once visitor back to your website to take an action whether that be to call you or fill out a contact or lead form?

This is where retargeting or often called by Google remarketing.

Retargeting is a paid advertising strategy that involves putting your ads in front of people who have visited your website in the past who have clicked away and visited other websites.

Here's how retargeting works from a consumers perspective.

A couple weeks ago, I was looking at a pair of shoes online and liked them so much that I sent the link to one of my best friends. A few days later, she sent me a text saying that she kept seeing ads for these shoes everywhere she went online.

Here's how retargeting works:

You paste a piece of code called tracking code or tracking pixel given to you by Google, Facebook and other platforms. This allows you the ability to advertise to people who have visited your website in past. They will see your retargeting ads when they visit other websites, such as Facebook and YouTube.

Was I freaked out that a pair of shoes had the ability to follow me around the internet? Not at all. And I'm not the only one . Eighty-nine percent of users have either a positive of neutral reaction to retargeting.

So if potential customers visit your site without taking action, retargeting is the key to getting them back.

Types of Retargeting Ads

Google calls retargeting "remarketing" if you already have a Google ads account, You'll need to set up retargeting, add the code to your website and create a remarketing list.

You can set remarketing campaigns to display either in searches or before certain YouTube videos.

Facebook and Instagram Retargeting

Instead of just boosting a post and trying to get more Facebook reach, you can instead target users who have already visited your website, which means they're probably already interested your product or service

Once you have Facebook's pixel installed on your site you can create an ad campaign using a custom audience of people who have visited your website.

The great thing about social media retargeting is that basically everyone is using social media daily.

So, by retargeting them on Facebook and instagram, your ads are reaching people who are already interested in your business and you're reaching them where they already spend a lot of time.

Here is an example of how retargeting has worked for one of our clients:

We ran Google advertisements for people searching for financial services in a local service area. The goal was to drive people to their website.

Once clicking on the ad it took them to the site. From there they did not call or take any action.

Later that evening, one of those visitors saw the ad as they were scrolling on Facebook. From there that urged that person to fill out the contact form and get in touch.

Retargeting Banner Ads

When you retarget people who have visited your website, Google gives you the ability through their "Display network" to reach a lot of people. Display network ads reach 90 percent of internet users, with more than 2 million websites, from to Gmail.

Normally, display ads have something to do with the website the user is viewing. So if they are looking at commercial real estate listings website, they will probably see ads about commercial real estate.

With retargeting however, the ads don't have to correspond to the website the user is visiting. They could see your commercial real estate firm on the website they are visiting that night on a food recipe website.

Once you've accumulated 100 unique visitors to your website within a 30 day period you will be able to retarget them.

Retargeting Search Ads

This allows you to serve up ads in front of your visitors who are searching other terms or specific keywords. You even have the ability to show ads when someone is searching a specific channel or video on YouTube.

Why should you have a retargeting strategy?

We think retargeting is extremely important.

Since the path to a purchase of requesting information can be complicated, we use retargeting for every paid adverting client we have. What happens after someone leaves your website is what often matters most.

But hey, don't take our word for it. Check out these statistics:

  • Site visitors who are retargeted are 70 percent more likely to convert on your website.

  • One study found that retargeting ads led to a 1046 percent increase in branded search and 726 percent lift in site visits.

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