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!