What Is Retargeting and How Does It Work?

February 2, 2018 Natalie Russo

One of the biggest benefits online advertising offers is that it allows businesses to decide exactly who will see their messaging – and only pay for those impressions. That means that instead of paying for your ad to reach tons of people who may or may not be interested, you can pick and choose who sees it based on a range of criteria.

There are lots of ways local businesses can target online ads to reach the people most likely to become customers: by location, by demographic data, by the types of things they are searching for on Google, or categories of websites they visit. But there’s one type of targeting in particular that allows businesses to narrow in on a very specific and very valuable audience – people who have already indicated interest.

Most website visits don’t result in a fast sale.

In a perfect world, everyone who visits your website would immediately click on the contact or buy now button and become your business’s newest customer. But in reality, most website visits don’t result in a fast sale. Even for large e-commerce brands, conversion rates average below three percent, or three sales per 100 visitors.

There are many reasons for this – and most have nothing to do with you. A potential customer may have found you early in the research stage before they are actually looking to buy, they may be merely browsing, or they may have gotten interrupted just as they were about to contact you. But just because these groups left your website without converting doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in your product or service – in fact, because these people have already shown some interest in your offering, they may be more likely than other consumers to take action after seeing your ad again.

Showing your advertising specifically to people who have already been on your website is called “retargeting”. According to one study, this tactic generates a 1,046 percent lift in search behavior – people seeking out the retargeted business via search engines – more than double the rate of people who saw an ad because of audience-based targeting. The consumer-package goods company Kimberly-Clark says conversion rates among consumers who see retargeted ads can be as high as 50 or 60 percent.

So how can your business get in on the retargeting effect?

There are two methods business can use to retarget ads (and whatever type of targeting you wish to employ, Yellow Pages can manage the entire process, from ad creation to deployment and optimization).

The first and most common is called pixel-based or cookie retargeting, which is where visitors to your website receive a bit of Javascript – commonly called a cookie – in their browser. This cookie then notifies the retargeting platform to serve an ad to that visitor after a specified amount of time. In the second, businesses use an email list to retarget ads to previous customers.

Retargeting ads are offered on a range of platforms – you can serve them to people on social networks, search engines or display networks. Wherever it’s shown, you may want to consider a special message or hook such as a promotion or offer to help seal the deal.

Get the message out to the right people.

Why pay to show your ads to anyone and everyone when there are ways to hone in on the specific groups that are most likely to buy? Contact Yellow Pages to find out how you can use retargeting and other techniques to get your message in front of the most valuable audience for your local business.

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