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Grow Your Business Sales & Marketing

Digital Remarketing: What It Is and How to Use It

Digital Remarketing: What It Is and How to Use It
Remarketing, or targeting consumers who have already visited your website, is becoming an important part of brands' digital marketing strategies. / Credit: Online marketing image via Shutterstock

Thanks to highly sophisticated click-tracking tools and customer data, businesses of all sizes now have access to unprecedented insights into consumer behavior. Remarketing, the specific ad targeting of consumers who have previously visited a business's website, is one powerful way these insights are being used in brands' digital marketing strategies.

"Remarketing is so powerful because it allows marketers the opportunity to continue the conversation, that otherwise may have only been a 30-second decision on the part of the consumer," said Jason Hobbs, founder and president of digital marketing company The Found Group. "When someone comes across the website of a small business, the potential consumer's initial experience may not be enough for him or her to make a decision. That's where remarketing comes in."

This relatively recent marketing tactic is just one of the many ways Big Data can help business owners take a more targeted, effective approach to their advertising efforts. In an article for marketing and analytics firm Impaqt, search account manager Chris Franceschina explained how remarketing works:

"Remarketing, in its most basic form, fires a tag on a webpage that places a cookie on a visitor's browser," Franceschina said. "That cookie is then used to allow a digital marketer to target that user through paid search and display ads. Remarketing lists are created based on the way that pages and actions on a Web page are tagged.  The more tagged pages and actions, the more information can be learned about a customer. If a specific product page is tagged and the buy-flow is tagged, then it is known which product the user was interested in and that they were interested enough to attempt to purchase. This is valuable information, as this type of visitor would be targeted differently than someone who just visits the homepage of your site and bounces."

Just a few years ago, only larger, data-centric organizations were able to invest in data mining, said Raj Beri, vice president of travel planning website WanderWe. But small businesses across all industries now have access to the tracking tools necessary to take advantage of digital remarketing. [Is Behavior Marketing Right for Your Small Business?]

"The recent democratization of remarketing technology is what has made it accessible to the small business owner," Beri told Business News Daily. "With simple-to-use third-party tools and services available now from companies like Google, Criteo, Facebook, etc., it has never been easier for small players to set up their own remarketing campaigns."

Because you're reaching out to customers who have already expressed interest in your website, remarketing is a particularly cost-effective way to increase your sales conversions.

"According to Google, 96 percent of consumers visit a website without completing the [buy] action, and remarketing helps to encourage those lost conversions to come back," said Jeni Garrett, founder and CEO of The Woodhouse Day Spas. "It is great for small business owners because it has a lower cost per acquisition, so with the impression conversion rates, you are able to move people through your sales cycle faster and for a much lower cost."  

If you want to launch a remarketing campaign, here are three tips to make it successful.

  • Spread your campaigns across multiple channels. Most businesses choose a specific channel for their remarketing campaigns, such as display, banner, Facebook or video ads, said Mike Hans, manager of small and medium businesses at marketing solutions provider DataXu. But consumers aren't on just one channel: Just as in any other marketing efforts, it's important to catch the consumer where they are. This means spreading out across a variety of channels, including (and perhaps especially) mobile devices.
     
  • Segment your remarketing lists. Hobbs recommended segmenting your list of Web visitors by behavior for an even further targeted remarketing campaign. For instance, if a consumer gets to the last page of an e-commerce checkout process and doesn't complete the purchase, that person should be added to a different segment for a different messaging set than a visitor who only visited the homepage. This consumer was very interested in buying something, but decided not to at the last second, perhaps to do a little more price comparison shopping. That should inform you to run ads that address price matching guarantees, which will put people back into your e-commerce system so they don't buy the competition's product instead.
     
  • Don't be afraid to test and fail. There's not going to be a straight line to success, Beri said. What you thought at the outset about your product and how people will use it will change daily. The key is to "fail fast" — learn from what worked and what didn't, and keep improving on your product and business model. 

Originally published on Business News Daily.

Nicole Fallon
Nicole Fallon

Nicole Fallon received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.