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Ads That Follow You


Why are those ads following me? How do they know?

Alan Schoff

Alan Schoff

I saw a recent Facebook post by a middle-aged acquaintance’s tongue-in-cheek comment about the ads on the right side of his newsfeed.


“I used to get a daily men’s underwear ad, which was fine,” he stated. “Now I get, ‘Tired of adult diapers?’ What happened … and how did they know?”


One response was, “I find that ads I get are related to searches I’ve done in the last week. Just sayin’.”


Another was, “I was browsing for a new bathtub. Now I get ads from all the vendors I visited!”


And a third responder, who apparently spoke English as a primary language, commented, “I get Walmart ads in Spanish.”


Those ads that follow you as you browse the Web are a media placement technique called retargeting. While it’s nothing new, retargeting is getting more prevalent because the analytics used to follow our Web habits are getting better at identifying our interests, and the Return on Investment (ROI) is greater.


Retargeting garners higher response rates 

It will never be a perfect science. For example, location may be the reason an English speaker gets Spanish ads. A search about geriatrics may deliver retargeted ads about adult diapers, whether the viewer is a prospect or not. If you share a computer, someone else’s browsing may drive retargeted ads that don’t relate to you.


Who knows why we might browse certain sites that drop a cookie on our computer and then presume we are still interested in the subject matter after we move on? It’s a numbers game, but retargeted ads do have the numbers — with much higher click-through and engagement and conversion rates than ads simply placed on high-traffic or topic-relevant sites.


When does retargeting work?

Retargeting measures higher ROI than other digital ad placements because it puts your message in front of folks who are already familiar with your brand. After all, they have recently been on a Web page with your information. Impressions are still relevant, however you can achieve them.


Still, retargeting is no silver bullet for marketing success. It’s great for branding and conversion optimization, but it’s best to use a mix of tactics that work together, including inbound and outbound efforts.


Content marketing, Google AdWords and targeted display advertising on sites where your customers are likely to be found will help drive traffic. But retargeting can help improve your conversions. It’s an enhancement to your other digital efforts.


Creative makes your cliques click

The image and the message count in every medium. Since Web ads easily allow you to, it’s best to try out several different creative versions of your ad: altering headlines, images, copy and even the calls to action.


Test your different creative executions, then pick the best performing ad and let it run for a couple months. Then do it all over again with a new message and image. Rotating your retargeting ads is a best practice that calls fresh attention to your brand while your prospects browse different Web pages.


Tips for successful retargeting

For more insight into how retargeting works and how to make it work for you, here are 8 Best Practices for Running A Retargeting Campaign from the ReTargeter Blog. Also, here are four tips about the whys and hows of remarketing from Business News Daily:

  • Brand awareness: Stay in front of your audience with more passive messaging to help build credibility in your brand and to keep prospects coming back over time.
  • Recapture funnel bounces: Keep track of who has abandoned your online shopping cart in order to bring them back with enticing offers that capitalize on impulse.
  • Combine high intent and “whale” hunting: Start with more aggressive promotions and messaging, such as discounts and coupons. Then, over time, push more value-driven messaging, like customer service and differentiators.
  • Expand to Facebook: Consider buying ads via Facebook Exchange. This will allow you to retarget a potential or existing base through the news feed and side feed on Facebook.


When you’re ready to explore retargeting in your digital media mix, we’re ready here at Coles Marketing to help you organize and implement the best strategies for your business.


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