Retargeting for Small Business: The Basics

When a business is just starting out, the early, personal relationships result in the first customers, partners, and employees. The most successful companies in the world never lose sight of relationships as the foundation of their business.

You might not think of digital marketing for your business in relationship-building terms, but it’s an effective way to gain clarity on what your strategy should be.

Digital marketing can be intimidating for small business owners, rife with uncertainty over which platforms and tactics will deliver the best value. Coming up with a clear strategy seems like a never-ending puzzle.

If you think of your marketing budget as a way to build relationships with shoppers, then how you engage them becomes more clear.

Today’s connected shopper expects relevant, useful, and complementary experiences from every interaction with your business. It’s a fine line to walk, capturing shoppers’ attention while respecting their experience, and even making them happy they saw your ad.

Approaching it thoughtfully is the difference between short-term sales and loyal customers who drive repeat business and help advocate your business to their friends.

Consider that 96% of your website visitors won’t buy from you initially. An effective, efficient digital marketing plan should include ways to get back in touch with them so they keep you in mind and learn more about what you have to offer. One of the best ways to do so is retargeting.

A Brief Primer on Retargeting

If you’ve ever visited a website and then noticed ads from that business popping up in your Facebook feed, Instagram feed, or other sites, you’ve seen retargeting ads.

These ads can help resurface abandoned shopping carts or offer personalized discounts and deals on items you viewed before.

Many retargeting partners help create highly relevant ads with sophisticated data analytics and creative optimization. And with retargeting, relevance is key. Think about the difference between a random ad and one that’s been tailored for you: the less intrusive and more relevant the ad, the more interested you’re likely to be.

Relevance is all about where, when, and why you might be seeing an ad. If you considered a linen shirt on a website but didn’t buy it, the appearance of that shirt in your mobile Facebook feed might serve as a compelling call-to-action at best. The ad recognized an item you shopped for but didn’t buy already, it appeared somewhere you frequently browse, and offered a smart reminder about the item.

In accounting your shopper’s intent and behavior in this way, you can put retargeting to work in a way that’s profitable and builds strong customer relationships.

How Retargeting Works

Retargeting is a type of ad technology that shows digital ads to people who have indicated some level of interest in a company or product.

How do you figure out who’s interested in your business and where to reach them? Visiting a product page on a website or downloading an app is considered a strong indication of interest. Essentially, you’re re-connecting with people who’ve already demonstrated they’re interested in you.

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With retargeting technology, little pieces of code help re-engage an individual across sites they visit and devices they use. The technology then shows ads to that person based on what it already knows about their interests. If the person visited a product page for a pair of shoes but didn’t buy them, an ad that retargets them might display the same shoe and offer a 10% discount to entice them a little further, or a related shoe that might interest them more.

Done right, this is an effective way to keep potential customers interested in what you have to offer. It’s also a scalable, efficient way to drive sales and profits.

Retargeting Ads for Small Business: The Basics

Retargeting: Everything in Moderation

When people see an ad too frequently, too soon after visiting a site, or with no relevance to them, it can turn them off to a business—the opposite of what advertising is supposed to accomplish. As a business goal, being ignored or disliked probably isn’t in your plan.

Think of retargeting as a smart reminder system — reminders to shoppers that, if they’re still interested, they’re a click away from something they’ll really like. We usually don’t like our reminders to be too frequent or loud. If you apply the same principle to retargeting, you’ll end up with more sales and happier customers.

Written by Jen Whelan, Senior Vice President Marketing at Criteo

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