Very powerful.

(note the italics above because I really mean it)

Retargeting is extremely effective, and even more so when used alongside our other digital solutions like video, social media and content marketing, to create an encompassing marketing strategy.

Real quick – What is retargeting?

  1. A user visits your client’s website
  2. That user leaves your client’s website
  3. We show an ad to that user and invite them back to your client’s website

Now I should clarify; I’m not talking about simply installing a pixel and retargeting every single site visitor with generic messaging. No, I’m talking about creating a personalized user journey, during which users are delivered meaningful messaging based on their previous interactions with your client’s brand. 

“That sounds nice Michael, but what does it actually mean and how can we implement this?”

Rather than speaking conceptually, let’s look at a few concrete examples to help clarify and better understand how programmatic retargeting can be used within a marketing strategy to improve results. Remember, this is just a few examples of the possibilities that exist. 

1. Required Frequency Retargeting

What is this – We have the ability to retarget users who have visited x number of pages on your client’s website. 

Goal – We want to avoid serving impressions to uninterested users, while reaching users that have a higher interest in your client’s product/service and are more likely to convert. 

Scenario retarget users who have visited at least 3 of your client’s web pages

User x read a Premium Sponsored Article and clicked through to the website. The user clicked from the homepage to the product page, but left and has not yet returned. This user will not be retargeted.

User y searched for something on Google and went directly to a product page. They clicked to see a specific product, and then another. This user has now visited 3 pages and is more likely interested in the product/service; this user may now be retargeted. Not only can we retarget them, but we can create a personalized ad that shows the product(s) they looked at. Or, perhaps we offer them an additional 10% off (see “custom offers” below).

How this Fits in a Marketing Campaign

A user will have a hard time visiting 3 site pages if they can’t get to your client’s website in the first place. By investing in SEO and/or SEM to appear higher in SERP’s, as well as social ads, or content marketing, we are increasing the number of touch points and offering your client more opportunity to attract users and grow this retargeting list. 


2. Short-Delay Retargeting

What is this – We have the ability to retarget users within a specific window of time after performing a specific action. 

Goal – We want to retarget users while your message is fresh and encourage site visits, then conversions. 

Scenario retarget users who watched a CTV video 

User x watches a non-clickable CTV ad to completion (most CTV ads are non-clickable). We want to capture that user while our message is fresh in their mind, so we create a retargeting audience made up of users that have watched our CTV ad to completion within the last 2 hours. Ideally, the messaging on this retargeting ad would reflect what they just saw in the CTV ad. A bonus to this approach is being able to track onsite conversion data that we can relate back to our CTV campaign.

How this Fits in a Marketing Campaign

In addition to CTV, you could set short-delay retargeting ads to serve to users who watched a video embedded on your client’s site, read a blog article, or clicked on an Adwords ad so that we are serving them ads while your message is top-of-mind.

3. URL/UTM Retargeting

What is this – We have the ability to retarget users who came to your site through a specific URL. 

Goal – We want to retarget users that have had a specific interaction with your client’s brand. 

Scenario retarget a user that has previously clicked your social ad

User x is scrolling Instagram, sees your client’s ad and clicks. The link they clicked will look something like this:

Because our URL contains the UTM parameter, “?utm_source=instagram-ad” we can isolate and retarget users who have clicked on our ad on social media. Ideally, the messaging here would reflect what is written in the social ad. 

How this Fits in a Marketing Campaign

By leveraging URL retargeting, we can easily create consistent, cross-channel messaging and ensure that we are targeting the exact same users on programmatic as we are through our other channels like SEM and social ads, to move them down the funnel. 


4. Custom Offers

What is this – We can create offers that are shown only to users that have performed a specific action. 

Goal – Capture users that have shown interest/intent and incentivize them to purchase. 

Scenario 1 offer 10% off to users who have visited 5 or more product pages in the past 7 days, and 20% off to users who have visited the same product page 5 times in the last 3 days.

On day 1, user x clicks a Facebook ad and then looks at 3 different products. On day 3, user x searches for one of the products, goes to the page and then looks at another product. This user can now be retargeted with an ad that offers 10% off their purchase. They click the ad, and go to a landing page where they receive a coupon code that can be presented in-store or entered online.

In a similar scenario, user y navigates to the site and visits a product page. They view a different product page, but then go back to the first. The next day, they go back to that same product page 3 separate times. They can now be retargeted with an add for 20% off that takes them through a similar landing page, coupon code process as previously described. 

Scenario 2offer a free resource to users who have clicked on an SEM ad and then navigated to the “FAQ” page of your client’s website

User x searches for a targeted keyword and then clicks your client’s SEM ad. After landing on the homepage they are looking for more information so they navigate to the FAQ page. They can now be retargeted with an ad to download a free resource (ex. white paper, ebook, article). They click and arrive at a landing page that offers a free download if they enter their email address. 

How this Fits in a Marketing Campaign

This is a very effective strategy for moving users down the purchase funnel. By providing resources and offers at crucial stages, we can be sure that we have the right message in front of the right user at the right time. 


Final Note

Programmatic display is a very effective top-of-the-funnel tactic. However, when it is combined with other digital solutions as in the examples above, it can also be impactful at all levels to drive conversions.