It’s like this—you know you shouldn’t eat that slice of pizza, but before you know it you’ve eaten it…and the one next to it…and the one next to that. In other words, temptation can be extremely difficult to avoid, and the business world is no different. So what is one of the biggest temptations when it comes to marketing? Some would say retargeting.
If you’ve never been tempted by retargeting, allow me to explain why this marketing tactic is so alluring. This is a form of marketing that targets users who have already visited your website. While most companies understand the importance of marketing to the correct audience and then creating campaigns specifically for that audience, retargeting brings this to a whole new level. Instead of targeting people who you think and people who you hope will like your website, you’re targeting people who already have liked your website. Even if the person clicked on your website and kept moving, they still were interested enough to click. The mentality, therefore, is that if you can put the website in front of their faces for a second time, they will think differently.
The way it works is this: a retargeting campaign can put a text string stored by your browser, or a “cookie,” on all website visitors. This cookie will allow companies to know which browser visited their website, so then the company can market to that specific browser even after the user has left the website. This is typically done through banner ads or pop-ups on different websites. This led me to wonder: Is retargeting really the way to grab those interested customers, or is it just creepy?

Option #1: Retargeting is a Great Way to Grab the Perfect Customers

For some, retargeting is a great reminder of where they were on the Internet. If they are looking for a specific product or service, chances are they look at tons of websites to find the right price or the right features. This can be overwhelming, and it’s easy to forget where you have been. Retargeting serves as a reminder for these “window shoppers” as some would call them.
However, not all customers who are retargeted will convert. In fact, some find retargeting extremely annoying and have the opposite reaction to the approach.

Option #2: Retargeting is a Little Bit Annoying

Not only do many find the constant banner ads annoying, but they find it creepy. It’s strange to think that a company knows where you are on the Internet and then goes out and finds you. In a way, it seems to many a type of Internet stalking. To make things worse, a company has little to no control over where these ads will pop up, so they could pop up in odd places. If someone is visiting a site for personal reasons, an ad for your paper company (The Office fans anyone?) could pop up. This could put you on the “annoying” list with these customers forever.

Option #3: How to Find the Balance Retarget Successfully

The truth is—you can find a balance when it comes to retargeting. This method will never allow you to gain back all of your customers, but it doesn’t have to be totally annoying. Consider the top 3 ways a company can retarget successfully:

  1. Burning – The term “burning” simply means that if one of the people you are retargeting converts, or makes a purchase, they will be removed from the retargeting campaign. The term also refers to stopping the campaign for people who have not converted in a certain amount of time (typically 30 days).
  2. Segmenting – Just as with any marketing campaign, you still want to tailor the campaign to the specific audience. Although retargeting is a type of segmenting already, it’s important to segment further for those who fall under the retargeting umbrella. If some of your customers visited your “office paper” webpage and others visited your “buy a printer” webpage, segment the audience so you can retarget correctly.
  3. Frequency – You should be mindful of the number of ads you sent out to those who are being retargeted. The general rule of thumb is 15-20 per month.

It is really up to the company whether or not retargeting is right for their type of business. While there are certainly pros and cons to both, it usually isn’t right for companies who are already successful. It may be a good idea to talk with some of your loyal customers and ask them if they would find retargeting helpful for your type of business.