Not a week goes by where I don’t sit with a prospect and hear them say that “retargeting doesn’t work.” The billions of dollars spent on retargeting budgets this year, as well as my own experience, tell me a different story.
When retargeting “doesn’t work” it’s not really the problem of retargeting. There are a multitude of strategies and details to consider when deploying retargeting, and ignoring these generally means you’ll fail to some degree or another. So I’ll review five things that can “fix” your retargeting to start producing results.
1 – Split-Test Your Creatives
Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard about split-testing ads, but nearly every time retargeting isn’t working for an advertiser I can see they have only run one set of ads, and they haven’t tried anything new. The web is a busy place. Your creative should stand out and put messaging in front of your prospect that gets their attention. Split-testing 3 or 4 versions of ads gives you valuable click-through data that can inspire messaging throughout your other campaigns. If one ad with a specific message gets more clicks than the others, that is usually a sign of messaging that resonates. That message can be used in other campaigns, landing pages, or content.
2 – Don’t Retarget Every Prospect the Same Way
Not all potential customers are the same. Depending on the method by which they found your website or offer, they are going to be at varying levels of the conversion funnel (um….you do have a conversion funnel, right?) If a user just saw your video on YouTube they may be top-of-funnel and if they have seen the price comparison page on your website they may be near the bottom of the funnel. Should you show them the same retargeting ad? Of course not. Segmenting your retargeting audience by their experience with your website and other online assets is key to driving the prospect back into the correct funnel for their level of decision-making.
3 – Use Retargeting to Accelerate Your Marketing Automation
If you are not familiar with Marketing Automation (Marketo, Hubspot, Infusionsoft, Ontraport, etc.), and you want to generate leads for your business, then you are missing out on some mission-critical technology that will dramatically improve your conversion results. If you already use marketing automation, you should be adding retargeting directly into that mix to improve lead nurture performance and conversions. Standard marketing automation systems generally push drip-campaign emails to prospects that have entered your funnel from a website or landing page form. The one problem with email engagement is that open rates are not all that great, with industry averages around 13%. So what about the other 87%? There are several methods to retarget those users who are not engaging with your drip content. You can onboard those users into a Facebook custom audience and run a campaign to bring them back. If Facebook is not the right retargeting site for your prospects you can use a Data Management Platform to onboard those email addresses into a DSP Advertising Platform to build a target audience. Your drip content headlines can be modified and turned into ads until you find a set of ads that works to start driving those users back to your funnel.
For the 13% who do interact with your emails, the click-through generates an action in your marketing automation system. This action should be aligned with a retargeting action as well, triggering ads for that specific part of the funnel. In fact, you should be triggering retargeting for numerous actions taking place in your marketing automation system with your prospects. Your retargeting ads can highlight feature-benefits that are described in the nurture process and move a prospect down the funnel more efficiently.
4 – Use Retargeting to Make an Offer
Sometimes prospects need a push. They’ve been to your website three times and looked at your product but still haven’t purchased or completed the lead form. What’s the problem? Hard to say. So how do we figure it out? We make them an offer!!
It makes a lot of sense to add some code to your product or lead pages to process rules for when to add users to your “Make An Offer” retargeting campaign. Add a rule that doesn’t add a user until they’ve been to the page three times (or more). This trigger adds them to a special campaign that presents ads that make a special offer to those users – the “fence sitters”. It can be a reduced price, a free feature, or a BOGO offer. Get them off the fence and into your conversion sequence.
5 – Use the Retargeting Network That Fits Your Strategy
Perhaps the biggest problem is that businesses and marketers tackle retargeting without a strategy that is clearly defined, with objectives that help determine which retargeting networks they should be using. Not all retargeting networks are the same, and some have specialized options that can make a difference to the success of your campaigns. You could try them all, but that’s a lot of time and resources to waste. Account managers at the networks, while knowledgeable, are not there to develop strategy, plan your ad creative, and review your metrics to optimize all the elements of your campaigns. Working with an expert retargeting agency or team will save you the headache of differentiating systems and campaign types, but most importantly will save you time and money. Leveraging their experience will ensure a much greater level of success than going it alone.
When retargeting “doesn’t work” it’s seldom a result of the strategy itself. It’s because this powerful and cost-effective way to stay in front of prospects wasn’t set up properly or, more often, used to maximum effect. There’s no better time to put a well-executed retargeting campaign to work for you.
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