Why Retargeting Can Be Bittersweet

We’ve all seen it. You check out a cute pair of heels online at Nordstrom.com, add them to your cart and then oh wait! You remind yourself that you should really put those funds toward remodeling your bathroom since that leaky toilet and crumbling tile probably aren’t going to fix themselves. So you hold off on buying those killer heels (*sigh*) and mosey over to Facebook. You’re perusing your news feed when all of a sudden those gorgeous Jimmy Choo’s pop up in a sponsored post. You start seeing those same shoes appear on other sites you frequent – your local news station’s website, eBay, and even your Twitter app. And then finally you see one more banner ad…with those same heels now for 20% off! Your credit card is whipped out before you even have time to rationalize why a working bathroom isn’t really needed, anyway.

Men, I’m sure you’ve been there, too….just maybe with something other than heels.
These ads that follow you around are all part of a retargeting campaign. In a nutshell, retargeting is a cookie-based technology that anonymously follows you all over the web. The goal of retargeting is to keep your brand in front of your target audience after they leave your site or interact with your brand, essentially converting window-shoppers into buyers. When carried out poorly, it can be annoying, obtrusive and even creepy. But if implemented correctly, it can be incredibly effective for both brand awareness and conversion.

When carried out poorly, it can be annoying, obtrusive and even creepy.


Top Reasons Retargeting Turns Sour

  • Creatives aren’t rotated – When users see the same ad over and over, they may succumb to ‘banner blindness’ and are less likely to click on, or even notice, ads they’ve seen multiple times. We advise clients to rotate creatives every few months and perform A/B testing in order to avoid decreasing click-through rates.
  • Frequency caps aren’t in place – To limit how often a user sees your ad, it’s imperative to implement frequency caps. Without these in place, users may ignore your ads or even develop a negative viewpoint of your brand.
  • Ads are displayed to a user after they’ve converted – People become irritated if an ad asks them to make a purchase after the sale has already been made. A burn pixel should be put into place to avoid this frustrating occurrence.

Similar to other campaigns, there’s a multitude of reasons why a retargeting campaign may fail. However, retargeting is a smart decision for any company with an online presence, including the building products industry, where a longer sales cycle often requires multiple touch points and seamlessly coordinated messages to guide the buyer through the decision making process. Our clients typically see engagement rates 2 to 4 times higher with retargeted ad campaigns vs. untargeted ad campaigns among the same customer base. If carried out correctly, retargeting can be incredibly powerful in maximizing the value of each website visitor. However, if set up poorly, it can leave a sour taste in the mouths of your customers….or should I say, former customers?