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How to Set Up a Site Retargeting Campaign: 5 Simple Steps

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by: Adam Steinberg (@adams472)
13 June 2012

Are you retargeting? If not, you’re missing out on a chance to re-engage with the dozens, hundreds and perhaps thousands of people who visit your website every day but failed to take a desired action, such as making a purchase or downloading a white paper. And in the process, you could be leaving thousands or even millions of dollars on the table.

What is retargeting? Simply put, it’s the act of displaying ads to visitors who’ve visited your website but haven’t converted — perhaps a prospect who failed to complete your Webinar registration form, or an online shopper who bailed before making a purchase.

When someone fails to convert, your online ads — in some cases featuring the very items that were abandoned — are then repeatedly displayed to this visitor when he or she visits other websites within your retargeting vendor’s networks. This is great for branding and encourages visitors to come back to your site to take action.

Here’s a five-step guide to getting started with retargeting:

1) Select your vendor. Establish a relationship with a retargeting vendor such as, Google, Fetchback or Adroll to gain access to their network of sites where your banners will be displayed. When choosing, research the websites in each vendor’s network, noting which best align with your target audience, as this can be a big differentiator.

2) Determine how you want to retarget people on your website. What visitor actions will trigger a retargeting ad campaign? If you’re a B2C company, you might want to retarget anyone who fails to complete a purchase. For B2B companies, you might want to retarget anyone who visits a demo, white paper or Webinar download page but doesn’t complete the related Web form.

3) Create banners for all the different areas you want to retarget. What sort of messaging will you use to entice visitors to return to your site and complete the desired action, and should you customize the ads to each individual? If you’re an online retailer, for example, and a visitor leaves your site without purchasing a pair of shoes he or she added to a shopping cart, you might want to experiment with retargeting that visitor with an ad to buy the shoes for 10 percent off or offer free shipping. Here at Silverpop, if a prospect doesn’t fill out one of our demo forms, we retarget them with banners promoting our brand that lead to a landing page with a shorter demo Web form.

4) Get your pixels situated. Once you’ve defined who you want to retarget and have created your banners, work with your vendor to have it provide you with the necessary pixels. You can potentially place multiple pixels on different parts of the site and then use different creative messaging. This is super-easy for your CMS admin/webmaster to implement. As soon as you get your pixels implemented, you can start building what’s called your “retargeting population” — all the visitors who’ve had a cookie placed on their machine and will see your ads.

5) Attend to the details. There are a handful of parameters you’ll have to establish regarding when, where and how often your retargeting ads run. Examples include:

  • Timing: Decide when your cookies will expire, taking into consideration your typical buying cycle — if it’s 60 days, for example, you might want your cookies to expire around that time.
  • Frequency Cap: Determine how many times each user can see your ad in a 24-hour period.
  • Budget: Set your budget for the campaign(s).
  • Geographic Targeting: Determine which states or ZIP codes will view your ads.
  • Network Sites: Decide which sites in your vendor’s network will display your ads.
  • Bid: Determine how much you'll Pay Per Impression (CPM) or Pay Per Click (CPC).

Once you’ve completed these five steps, you’re ready to take your retargeting campaign live. Just remember to monitor your metrics — such as impressions, click-throughs and conversions — so you can see what’s working and adjust accordingly.

For more information on retargeting, check out our tip sheet, “10 Tips for Better Retargeting.”


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