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The art of retargeting in ecommerce

When you work in ecommerce, it’s hard to avoid dwelling on “the one that got away.” You know, that customer who visited your website, viewed a particular product and then left. They may have even gone as far as to add it to their cart before exiting. You know it’s nothing personal; they’re just shopping around or waiting until their next paycheck to make the purchase. Either way, you want them to make it from your store—rather than a competitor’s— when the time comes.

online shoppingEmploying the art of retargeting in ecommerce can help you re-engage shoppers who have previously viewed products on your website. Serving them a tailored ad after they leave will remind them exactly what they’re missing. We’ve all been in the customer’s shoes: You’re browsing through Facebook when suddenly a sidebar ad appears depicting the exact item you’ve had your eye on. “How did they know?” You say as you click to take a second look at the product.

Retargeting typically makes use of JavaScript and cookies so the ads can specifically relate to the pages they visited while they browsed your website. This is known as pixel-based retargeting. Or, in what’s known as list-based retargeting, you can upload a list of email addresses to platforms to target those specific users.

Although online sellers can benefit from casting a wide net at times, retargeting helps narrow the focus to those already more predisposed to buy from your brand. Let’s took a look at some of the top benefits of retargeting:

  • Higher conversion rates: You already have an idea of shoppers’ wants and needs based on their previous visit(s).
  • Lower cost per impression: Retargeting cuts down on wasted ad spend and increases the efficiency of impressions.
  • Improved ROI: The margin between what you spend and what you earn will be more favorable because of better-than-average conversion rates.
  • Accurate targeting: Your time, money and effort are better employed, rather than serving ads to people who don’t care.
  • Effective branding: Your tailored ads bring your brand to top of mind, giving customers the push they need to visit your site again.

The first step in retargeting is segmenting your target audience to figure out which kinds of ads would persuade each population most effectively. For example, for shoppers who only visited your home page, you’ll likely want to create retargeting ads showcasing products you sell or reinforcing your overall brand identity (use your home page as a destination URL). A broad view of your online store may be enough to draw them back for a subsequent visit. For shoppers who visited specific category or product pages, you can design ads featuring these for a more targeted approach (and send them directly back to one of those pages if they click). It’s all a matter of determining the appropriate level of specificity for certain subsets of your target audience.

 

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Many brands choose to use a retargeting platform (like AdRoll) in conjunction with their cloud ecommerce software (like Shopify) to run these campaigns because the ability to use plug-ins simplifies the process. Ecommerce stores should also be aware there are a number of different networks to focus on when it comes to retargeting, each with its own rules and regulations. For example, you would configure Google AdWords to show ads to users across the Display Network. On Facebook, you’d work within the Custom Audiences feature on Ads Manager to start retargeting there.

Retargeting in ecommerce is an art; you have to know who to target, which ads to show them and where to link to reap the maximum benefit. Once you do, you can get more bang for your buck when it comes to paid advertising.

 
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