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Online marketing: A different perspective on Re-targeting

We’ve all seen those annoying banners that follow us around the web. Annoying they might be, some would even go as far as calling them invasive – but they’re here to stay. Their performance, both in terms of conversion and in efficient use of advertising inventory makes them a no-brainer.

I’m only talking here about display re-targeting, which has seen huge growth as conventional display advertising suffers from banner blindness. It works in pretty much any industry that is looking for a conversion point as the aim is to drive the visitor/consumer/buyer back into the web-site conversion cycle.

Usefully, if you run a WordPress web-site then Google provide a really simple off-the-shelf widget to give you this clever functionality in a couple of clicks. Neat, eh?

There are still challenges, cross-platform consumers are not dealt with well and the ever-looming cookie rules and regulations seem to dog the image of re-targeting, I would suggest because of the content that most re-targeters use.

Re-targeting uses cookies to serve personalised content based on your previous activity. Typically, a company would target you if you visited their site but did not convert. As you wander around the web, visiting different sites the advertising space you are exposed to is auctioned to the highest bidder and relevant adverts are shown.

It’s efficacy happens because typically less than 10% of visitors convert on their first visit so using re-targeting gives the company easy access to the remaining 90% who left empty-handed. Most organisations hand this work off to their PPC company and, incorrectly, see it purely as a direct-response mechanism. Whilst it can work well for DR it can also work to build brand empathy and inform if planned to do so.

In many ways, it shares similarities with old-fashioned re-activation. It’s purpose is to get the walk-aways to come back and this can be done over a number of days and weeks using the re-targeting banners. If people didn’t convert using conventional on-site techniques then you can try out new ones, for example:

  • A series of banners based on TrustPilot ratings
  • Running a hijack campaign
  • A variations of your USPs
  • Location-based content, feels much more personalised
  • Subliminal references to content seen on the web-site
  • Specific behavioural targeting
  • Seasonal and environmental … what a day for …

And you should measure the effectiveness against conventional DR. Ideally, this should be an in-house exercise but it’s likely you’ll need a hand to get it started. Talk to us, we’ve got quite a history in this space!

By Penny Driscoll