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Paid Media: Winning the Retargeting Game

By Bryan CoxAug 1, 2014

retargeting paid media

You went to Zappos and looked at a really cool pair of sandals you want to buy before you hit the beach this summer. But for one reason or another, you ended up clicking away before actually making the purchase. Then, while checking the latest news on CNN.com, you notice an ad for the exact pair of sandals you were just thinking about purchasing.

This awesome feature, known as retargeting, is an extremely versatile way of potentially re-engaging previous site visitors with relevant ads for products they've already viewed. But retargeting requires research, strategy and patience. Below we discuss some easy steps you can take to implement retargeting and decide if it’s right for your business.

Step 1: Find the Right Tool

There are enormous amounts of retargeting tools on the market these days, and the quest to find the right one for your needs can be confusing to say the least. Look for a tool that focuses on the ad platform you think best fits your audience. For example, if your ideal customer is all about Facebook, check out services like Perfect Audience and AdRoll.

Now it’s time to try the service. Most retargeting platforms allow for a free trial period. This will help you create campaigns and decide which functionalities you appreciate most.

Step 2: Get Set-Up

When setting up retargeting campaigns, some settings are important to keep in mind. The first is tracking. Tracking your potential customers when they come back to your site will allow you to see how your campaign is working. Use goal settings to find out your ROI; this will determine if retargeting is worth the investment.

Don’t skip important steps in the set-up process just to get a campaign up and running—implement the appropriate tags and tracking code on your site. This may take some extra time, but if it means 10 extra customers, it was worth it!

Step 3: Narrow Your Market

Think about the last time you searched for a pair of shoes: If you clicked off the page, and then went to Facebook and saw an ad showing the brand name of the product you liked, would you be enticed to purchase? Or would it be better to see a large image of the exact shoe you just contemplated purchasing? It's the latter all day long.

There is technology now that will allow you to cookie users who visit specific product pages, thus allowing you to serve retargeting ads specific to your products. This increases the likelihood of a follow-up visit and possible purchase.

Step 4: Be Patient

It will not be an overnight success—most things aren’t. It may take a few days, even a week to compile enough user cookies for the retargeting process to start. Once the campaign begins, give it some time to gain traction. Set a sufficient budget to garner some attention, and see how people respond.

As always, be sure to test different ad copy and images to see what resonates best with potential customers. If standard image retargeting is not taking off, then it may be time to test a new ad platform like Facebook or Twitter. Luckily, most retargeting platforms allow for advertising on multiple platforms across different devices.

Although it may seem like a sizeable task to set-up this type of campaign, go step by step and be patient with the process. Before you know it your ads will be following people all over the Internet and social media sites just waiting for them to make a purchase!

Have you had success with retargeting? Share you experiences in the comments below.

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photo credit: Nina Matthews Photography
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