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!