Taking it to the Next Level: Advanced Retargeting Strategies

By Adam Berke
President, Adroll

Retargeting has become a must have marketing channel for any online business.  It just makes sense.  If you’re going to spend time and money on SEM/SEO, Social Media, and other activities that send potential customers to your site, then you should ensure you’re converting as many of those prospects as possible.  Retargeting helps you accomplish exactly this by sustaining engagement with people who express an interest in your brand and products.

However, now that many companies have gotten their feet wet with retargeting, it’s time to take those efforts to the next level.  Instead of just staying in front of your audience, win them over with more meaningful, relevant, and useful marketing to ensure you’re earning new customers, and not just barraging people who would’ve converted anyway.

Here’s an overview of a few advanced retargeting strategies that will help take your campaigns to the next level.

Focus on Lift Instead of Shift

The dirty secret of retargeting is that if you’re not careful in measuring it correctly, it will just take credit for conversions that would’ve happened anyway.  That’s just shifting credit instead of generating lift, ie. winning people over that wouldn’t have converted otherwise.  The best way to measure lift is by using a “hold out” group you don’t retarget, and compare the behavior of that group to the behavior of people in your retargeting campaign.

Optimize to Inspire, Not Just for Clicks

This follows on the idea of optimizing for lift.  Be very careful of CPC when it comes to retargeting. Why, it works for search, right? I may buy produce by the pound, but that’s not how I would buy a car.  Just because a pricing model is familiar doesn’t mean it’s the right one to use in every instance.  Here’s a clear example of how CPC for retargeting can go wrong.  Let’s say I’m shopping around for a 2010 Subaru on a used car site.  What type of creative is going to generate the highest quality clicks that are most likely to convert?  Ads that show Lamborghinis and Ferraris or ads that show models similar to the Subarus I looked at?  Well, the ads with the exotic cars are sure to get more clicks (and therefore increase your cost if you’re paying on CPC) but the ads with Subarus and similar models are going to get higher quality clicks from people who have a real intent to purchase one of those models.  The best creative will inspire users who might be on the fence by reinforcing the benefits of your product in a personalized and compelling way.  Here’s a more detailed overview of creative best practices if you want more info.

Utilize Time Cohorts and Multi-Stage Campaigns

Taking into account when you retarget people can be just as important as what you show them.  Once again, this is a critical element for optimizing for lift instead of shift.  People might be most likely to click on an ad within a day or two of visiting your site, but that’s also probably the time period during which they would’ve come back on their own had you done no retargeting.  By segmenting your campaign into time cohorts, ie people who haven’t been back to the site within 5 days, 10 days, and 15 days, you can hone in on re-engaging people that would’ve been lost had you not followed up with them.  You can also use specific events as indicators to change strategy.  The most obvious one here is a conversion.  When someone converts, you might want to exclude them from the campaign for a period of time, or you might want to shift the messaging to ask them to “Like” you on Facebook.  Here’s another example of how you might use events and an escalating offer to set up a multi-staged retargeting campaign, and you can find additional strategies on shopping cart abandonment here.

These are just a few quick strategies to get you up to speed on retargeting. If you’re interested in learning more, I’ll be speaking at the Conversion Conference in Ft. Lauderdale on October 10th at 3:30 PM. I’ll be diving into retargeting strategies that optimize for incremental lift and how various pricing models can influence incentives for vendors and drive optimization decisions.


About the Author

Adam has a passion for interactive marketing and is an industry evangelist for display advertising best practices. In his role as president, Adam manages Adroll’s Account Management team and also enjoys working directly with many AdRoll advertisers. This allows him to take a hands-on approach to ensuring their campaigns are wildly successful.

Before joining AdRoll, Adam helped launch the CPL network with Aptimus, a publicly traded ad network acquired by the Apollo Group. In his four years there, he took a leadership role in almost every department: Business Development, Advertiser Operations, and Product Management. In addition to extensive experience in the online advertising industry, Adam has a background in statistics and was part of the Six Sigma Belt program at Philips Electronics.

He received his BA in Economics from John Hopkins University and studied econometrics at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

See Adam Live!

Adam is sharing advanced retargeting techniques at Conversion Conference Fort Lauderdale 2012 on October 9th and 10th in Florida. Join him in his session on “Advanced Retargeting Strategies that You Should Have Implemented Yesterday.” See the full agenda or read more about this session. You can also follow Adam on Twitter for some pre-conference networking.

Save $100 when you register with Adam’s discount code FL12509. Only 17 days to go – get your Conversion Conference pass now!


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