By George Gutierrez
Retargeting (or remarketing) is one of the most commonly used tactics for direct-response display campaigns because it seeks to engage with consumers who have already expressed interest in a brand. However, not all retargeting should be employed in the same manner. For example, a user who has expressed slight interest in the brand shouldn’t be approached in the same manner that a user who has shown significant interest. Keeping this in mind, a useful template for retargeting should have as its bedrock principles the mantra of Google’s Avinash Kaushik, the company’s Digital Marketing Evangelist, as it relates to engaging consumers in three separate stages of the their purchase path: See, Think and Do.
To ensure you are maximizing impact with your target, you must build your retargeting strategy by segmenting audiences, bidding strategies and creative messaging according to the level of brand interest a consumer has expressed.
You want to bid aggressively and provide higher incentives to users who have demonstrated the most interest.
However, don’t neglect users who have demonstrated slight interest. Be sure to engage them with personalized messaging as a reminder and, as the user expresses more interest in the brand, adjust the bidding strategy and creative messaging to drive them down the path toward completing a transaction. This strategy can help nurture someone who has expressed slight interest in the brand into one who has connected with your brand and is ready to transact.
Also, it is crucial to build long-term relationships, brand loyalty, and retention by actively engaging with users who have completed purchasing and incentivizing them to return.
Delivering messaging that is relevant to the user is essential to running a campaign that is both effective in achieving marketing goals and is a favorable experience for the consumer.
Additionally, ensure that you’re setting frequency caps — based on performance data that acknowledges the optimal frequency at which a user converts — so that you don’t turn off people by oversaturation.
Here’s a basic road map of how to target consumers in the See, Think and Do stages.
See: “Quick Visitor”
Employ a Dynamic Retargeting strategy to a low-level interest segment (users who have briefly visited the site once) as a reminder to return to the site because there are products/services on the site in which they have demonstrated interest. Make the messaging particular and customized to that user’s experience based on the content browsed.
Employ dynamic messaging specific to products or services the user has browsed. The bidding for this user should not be as high as someone who is a frequent visitor a cart abandoner.
If the messaging has impacted the user to think/consider the brand once more by revisiting the site and engaging with a lengthier browsing session, then adjust the creative messaging and bidding strategy accordingly.
Think: “Frequent Visitor Or Cart Abandoner”
A “Frequent Visitor” who has visited the site on several occasions or has had a lengthy browsing session — perusing several pages/products/services for an extended period of time — has clearly demonstrated a level of interest higher than a “Quick Visitor” and is thus farther along the consideration stage and closer to a transaction. They are in the “Think” stage.
These users should be pursued more aggressively — placing higher bids to serve them — than a “quick visitor.” Also, because there was likely a deliberation that prevented them from taking an action, an incentive should be provided to guide them farther down the path and consider transacting.
Delivering messaging to the “frequent visitor” with a special offer that is particular to this audience segment (a discount, for example) can help quell the user’s deliberation and make them more comfortable in completing a transaction.
A user perhaps farther along—though still very much considering and still in the “Think” stage — is closer to the “Do” stage, having not only visited the site and deliberated between products/services but completed certain levels of engagement leading to an possible transaction (a cart abandonment is an example for a retail advertiser).
For this audience segment, the bidding strategy should be the most aggressive of the three audience segments that have not yet converted. This user should, similar to the “frequent visitor,” be provided special offers to incentivize a conversion.
Do: “Site Converter”
Provide incentives to the converting user to make repeat conversions and become a loyal customer. Serve special promos specific to users who have already converted on site. Be sure to lessen the frequency at which a user is served an ad — compared to the frequency used for non-converting users — so as to not compromise their experience with the brand.
Recognizing audience segments — and how they apply to the See, Think, Do model — and customizing their advertising experience to provide the utmost relevance is a great way to maximize the impact of your retargeting campaign. Applying a retargeting strategy that incorporates insights from user site behavior, effective bidding, dynamic messaging, and relevant creative incentives can help drive users from the “Think” stage to the “Do” stage.
Retargeting should be a compliment to a holistic strategy that involves bringing awareness to your brand through prospecting. Once exposed, use retargeting to nurture the new visitor.
Are you targeting consumers in the see, think, and do stages?
George is Digital Display Strategist at Acronym and is responsible for all elements of Display media strategy and campaign management. George is a huge proponent of innovation and staying ahead of the curve; as the Display landscape continuously evolves, he is always seeking ways to leverage new ideas—both on the technical and creative side—to help guide client initiatives to experience great success.
Prior to joining Acronym, George was Senior Digital Associate at MEC, working on the AT&T Business Solutions account. While at previous agencies, George has worked across several industries and verticals with clients such as Dell, Clarks, Travel Channel, National Geographic, Univision Network, Sara Lee, and Smashburger. George’s experience has fostered deep knowledge of the Display industry, having partnered with many of the top publishers, programmatic vendors and data providers in the industry.