Homing in with behavioural retargeting

behavioural retargeting

Have you ever logged onto Facebook and noticed that there’s an ad on your newsfeed from a page that you’ve recently visited and liked? What about during a web surfing session, do you often come across Google Ads from websites that you only just clicked on yesterday? This isn’t a mere coincidence, It’s called behavioural retargeting, and it’s one of the most success forms of advertising available to businesses.

The success of behavioural retargeting is simply down to numbers. Of all the traffic that you garner from both paid or organic searches, a large majority of that will move on without hitting your goal conversions. Retargeted ads track these users, reminding them of your business, with the aim to boost awareness, bring them back to your site, and ­ in turn ­ generate conversions. It’s been used for years, and is often included in many new SaaS modules throughout the world.

Who uses behavioural retargeting?

If the scenarios that we posed at the top of the article rang a bell, you’d probably attest to the fact that almost everyone does it. From small businesses and retail stores, right up to big, multinational companies, behavioural retargeting is seen as the key to unlock greater conversions. Google and Facebook have made retargeting more accessible than ever before, and It’s no surprise that both have topped the lists for most ad revenue in the last few years.

Google and Facebook’s retargeting systems work quite similar, allowing you to set audiences to follow and remind them of what you can offer. Both are relatively cost­ effective and are great in what they do, the only difference being one is primarily for websites, whilst the other is obviously better suited to social media. Twitter has recently tried to get in on the act, and whilst their product is good, it is not quite living up to the billions that the others reap in.

How does behavioural retargeting work?

Retargeting works in two phases: Setting up the audience, and then tracking their behaviour. Of these two, it is the building up of the audience that you wish to target which is perhaps the most important of all. Google effectively creates the audience for you, utilising its Analytics program to build up a database. Facebook allows an incredible amount of refinement to the whole process, where everything from age to location can be customised to a tee.

Once your audience has been set, you will be asked to lend a website pixel to the retargeting process to analyse the success of the campaign. This pixel is usually attached to a form of goal completion ­ a notion which will be familiar for those who use Google Analytics often. Effectively, a person that has visited your page will be targeted with ads, until either the pixel “burns out”, or a conversion has been made.

Sounds pretty foolproof! Where do I sign up?

Not quite just yet. Retargeting, whilst successful, is not without its downfalls, which can occur quite easily if enthusiasm for the project is not curbed. Impressions, the name given to each time someone views and interacts with your ad, is the lifeblood of the retargeting process. So you can imagine that, if someone were to be bombarded with your ads too much, they would be quite annoyed. This will hurt your impressions, as well as the online recognition of your brand.

This happens more than you would think, and rather it being a deliberate bombardment of ads, it’s more often down to unrealistic goals. The same too can be said for going too far over to the other spectrum. The average person will visit around 80 different websites per month, and whilst this number is quite hard to determine due to a number of factors, it does paint a potential problem. If all of those 80 websites are retargeting that same person, and you aren’t making enough impressions on that person, your ad will be lost amongst the tide.

Achieving the right balance between the two problems is, therefore, absolutely essential to the success of your retargeting campaign. Behavioural retargeting is also something that works best over the long term, as opposed to a short term fix. This means that a month of retargeting will not be as successful as say the same campaign over a three month period. If you’re getting scared, however, don’t be. All of these are quite easy to avoid, if you follow these three pointers.

Make your banner ads eye catching

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. An eye catching, quality banner image will always gain more attention than one that is badly thought out or coming across a bit plain. We’ve written about banners recently on our sister website, focusing more on how to best utilise the space provided to create stunning imagery.

Make your audience specific

Put yourself in the shoes of someone who has just been looking at purchasing a table off of an online furniture store. Retargeting this person with ads to sell bookcases or anything other than the tables they were looking for isn’t going to sell more products, it’s going to be a waste of money. Retargeting that same person with the products they were looking at is far more effective, as well as perhaps reminding them on why that product caught their eye in the first place.

Avoid retargeting conversions

This happens quite a lot, where the pixel doesn’t “burn out” and, instead, keeps sending ads to that person, despite the fact they have given you an enquiry or a sale. This is often considered quite annoying, for obvious reasons, and can turn a potentially loyal customer into one that will never click on your website ever again. That’s not to say that retargeting existing customers is bad, however you will need to create a new campaign for this demographic. Talking about your new products or an expansion of the business is ideal in this scenario.

Here at ITCC, we utilise behavioural retargeting both for ourselves and our cherished clients. We hold considerable experience in implementing strategies that work, without breaking the budget. You can contact our digital media strategists for more information as to what we can offer you in terms of behavioural retargeting, and reap the rewards of this lucrative system.

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