by Carolina Beltrán

As a media supervisor, I get this a lot: “Which is better for me? Retargeting or a regular display media campaign?”

Well, if you’re a direct response client, it’s a no-brainer. A user who’s qualified, interested, and has already been to your site (retargeting) or a user who’s possibly qualified, possibly interested, and probably never been to your site (display media)? Retargeting all day.

Retargeting, or remarketing as Google calls it, lets you show text and image ads to people who’ve previously visited your site as they browse the web. Think of retargeting as a “friendly reminder”. People come to your site. Maybe they make it into the sales funnel. Maybe they put something in their cart. But they leave and don’t end up purchasing their item(s). Or maybe someone comes to your site, but doesn’t move beyond your homepage. Retargeting gives you the ability to say “Hey! Remember me? I think you forgot something!”

I’m not hating on display media. We normally recommend our clients do both because they work in different ways and serve slightly different purposes. If you’re looking to brand – display media ads are a great way to get your name out there. Targeting options for display media campaigns have vastly improved over the last few years – demographic, geographic, behavioral, contextual, placement, topic, and interest-based targeting options are just a sample of the available options to refine your audience – but if your primary goal is to turn browsers into buyers, nothing beats the ability to market to people who have already showed interest in your product.

There are tons of great options out there for retargeting – so don’t think your only choice is Google. Companies like AdRoll, Criteo, and Quantcast all have their own forms of retargeting technology, but at the end of the day, retargeting is about keeping your brand top of mind and turning window-shoppers into buyers.

So what do you need to do to get in on this goodness ASAP? As it turns out – not a whole lot! Just a bit of JavaScript on your site and some customized ads. Once you have a retargeting vendor’s JavaScript code on your pages, the code creates a list of people that have been to your site by placing cookies in their browser. This list is your retargeting audience and allows the vendor to display customized ads to them as they browse other sites on the web.

Because you can segment your visitors into groups with retargeting, i.e. those who visited the women’s pants page versus the boys’ t-shirts page, you can tailor your ads to target those segments specifically. This is what makes retargeting super effective – it reaches out to your window shoppers wherever they may be online with customized ads – which means higher click through rates and increased conversion for you!

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