Remarketing vs Retargeting? Guide to Re-Engagement Best Practices
Aug 8, 2022
Originally published in
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Your marketing team works tirelessly to drive consistent, high-quality traffic to your site. However, according to ReTargeter, only a mere two percent of web traffic converts on the first visit. Do you have a plan in place to recapture the attention of the other 98%?
To foster continued, sustainable growth for your business, it's vital that you actively nurture new prospects, while motivating existing customers to come back time and time again. In fact, Bain & Company research found that repeat purchasers spend more frequently, generate larger transactions, and are more likely to recommend your brand and motivate new business.
Need help converting your website's window shoppers into new customers, and nurturing existing buyers into loyal brand fans? A proactive re-engagement plan will raise brand awareness, increase website traffic, cultivate more personalized interactions, and grow sales - ultimately driving long-term customer loyalty and profitability.
Learn how retargeting and remarketing strategies work and campaign optimization best practices to amplify your customer acquisition, retention, and maximization success.
Retargeting and Remarketing - What's the Difference?
Frequently used interchangeably, retargeting and remarketing are valuable nurturing tactics to target and engage audiences who have already shown interest in your brand.
In both instances, a visitor browses your website or social media platform, but leaves before converting. When you remarket or retarget, you attempt to bring them back to your website by reminding them of your brand, products, or services at a later moment. The visitor sees your advertisement when they're browsing a different website or social network, or they'll receive your email.
The difference between retargeting and remarketing is in the channels used to accomplish these goals. Retargeting primarily uses paid digital ads to reconnect with visitors interacting on your website or social profiles, such as making a purchase, completing a webform, or leaving items in their shopping cart. Similarly, remarketing uses email to re-engage visitors who have previously taken action on your website.
Both of these re-engagement marketing strategies help you to capture attention, move prospects further down the sales funnel, and foster more meaningful and profitable relationships. Like any dynamic duo, your remarketing and retargeting campaigns are better together. In fact, Google found you can sell 50% more when you combine your re-engagement tactics across channels.
What is Ad Retargeting?
Let’s say you visit a popular website looking for a backpack. You browse a few backpack product pages, and leave without making a purchase. Later, you go about your business on the web and are see the same backpack in an advertisement on another site.
Ad Retargeting is how the website is able to reach you again, reminding you of your interest in their backpacks, in hopes to bring you back to complete a purchase.
How Does Retargeting Work?
Since you didn’t purchase a backpack or submit your information, you begin to wonder how the website is able to follow you across the world wide web?
Retargeting works by utilizing “cookies,” a small piece of data (a.k.a. pixels) stored by a web browser that remembers users who visited an ad or webpage and when. Marketers can utilize this cookie data to serve relevant ads to users again reminding them to take the action(s) they desire.
Below, find the top retargeting platforms most businesses should be using to re-engage their audiences.
It's important to note that as popular search engines like Google remove access to third-party cookie data, ad retargeting becomes more difficult. All marketing tactics that rely on cookies need to be rethought to instead focus on owned channels and customer loyalty.
By creating loyal customers, you'll gain contact info, like email addresses, that you can use to re-engage customers. Which brings us to, email remarketing...
What is Email Remarketing?
Just like the method above, retargeting can be done with emails too. Have you ever left products in a cart without checking out, and then received an email reminding you that those items are selling out fast?
Email remarketing can be used when you’ve already captured prospect information (like email, name, location, shopping history, etc.) to send them highly targeted, personalized emails bringing them back to your site to encourage them to sign up for an event, make a purchase, cross/up-sell, leave a review, tell a story, and more.
Remarketing is made simple using marketing automation platforms that track user activity and trigger email sends based on recent actions. Once set up, the platform will continuously search for users that engaged in recent activity, like browsing products, but leaving. The browse abandonment email campaign is then triggered, sending an email dynamically displaying the product the user viewed, and motivating their return to purchase.
Remarketing provides an opportunity to utilize lifecycle strategies tied with your predetermined buyers journey (your customer’s psychological phases from introduction, making a purchase, and becoming a long-time customer or partner).
There is much more to email marketing that drafting clever copy and hitting send. Determine a sequence of well thought out emails covering your brands best products or services, and educational material will reiterate credibility and bring your customers closer to the point of purchase.
Determine a sending cadence based on the stages of your customer’s lifecycle. Not sure where to start, read up on email cadence best practices here.
Retargeting and Remarketing is a better use of Your Marketing Budget
Typically, normal display ads are seen by web users who are not necessarily potential customers. Instead of throwing advertising dollars at these types of general ads, consider a retargeting campaign.
Retargeting enables you to create precise segments based on traits, behavior, and other data collection points (pixels) in order to show relevant ads or email content to those who have already expressed interest in your products or services. Every time your audience sees your re-engagement efforts (ad or email) your brand gains more traction and more recognition.
Both of these re-engagement marketing strategies help you to capture attention, move prospects further down the sales funnel, and foster more meaningful and profitable relationships. And like any dynamic duo, your remarketing and retargeting campaigns are better together. In fact, Google found you can sell 50% more when you combine your re-engagement tactics across channels.
If you are looking for methods to increase sales and are not yet using retargeting, now is a great time to start. Below, find three best practices for making the most of your integrated re-engagement campaigns.
Three Essential Re-Engagement Best Practices
1. Deliver Data-Driven Experiences
Your re-engagement strategy should reflect recent activity and different stages in the purchase funnel. Website analytics tell you what pages and products users visit or abandon. Combine this data with past purchase data or search history to identify trends, user intent, and re-engagement opportunities.
Next, create custom audience segments based on commonalities like:
Number of visits
For instance, when promoting a new product collection, set up a retargeting ad to alert past purchasers of a similar collection to return to explore your newest products. If they don't, send an email featuring the new collection and an incentive to reinforce your message through different channels and increase the likelihood they check it out.
Keep in mind remarketing and retargeting does not provide guaranteed ROI, compelling ad and email content is crucial. Follow these mindful tips to spark engagement:
Cement your strategy in guiding the "next best action" - if your customer browsed, but abandoned, how can you motivate their next action to be to return to the site? If they convert, what should the next action be now?
Be personal speak directly to your potential customer
Share educational content, white papers, checklists, free trials, or video content to show your value and expertise. Marketers work hard to create a content strategy, make sure to incorporate these purpose driven assets during this process.
Use marketing automation tools to capture user activity and deploy triggered campaigns without manual effort
By retargeting or remarketing prospects based on their most recent interactions with your brand, you can steer, motivate, and guide their next action.
2. Conduct A/B Testing
Prevent your remarketing emails and retargeting ads from going stale with A/B testing. Continuously test out different copy, calls-to-action, subject lines, headlines, and landing pages to determine the optimal combination.
Regularly refresh your designs and imagery to ensure your automated remarketing email campaigns don't lead to subscriber fatigue, while consistently rotating your retargeting ads' creative to avoid "banner blindness" and dips in performance.
Try out various tones in messaging (such as stylistic, emotive, and salesy language) to see what resonates and converts. For instance, test messaging that features a percent-off sale versus a dollar-off discount to see which generates better click-through rates and more revenue.
Closely monitor campaign performance and adjust accordingly. By testing and measuring success, you'll gain a clearer understanding of what channels your target audiences use most, where they're most likely to engage with your content, and how you can optimize your outreach to best drive their next action.
3. Set Thoughtful Frequency Controls
It's all about finding the right balance. Overexposure to a re-engagement campaign (or any campaign) can quickly result in customer frustration. Set frequency controls to ensure you don't bombard customers, risk churn, or continue to send messages that are no longer relevant or timely.
Mindfully use frequency caps to place a fixed limit on the number of times an ad or behavior-triggered email is directed to a prospect or customer. Likewise, experiment with different durations to test and determine when a longer-scale campaign verses a shorter campaign is more impactful, leading to greater engagement and conversions.
Always take into consideration that not every website visitor is at the same place in their purchasing decisions journey. Establish rules to remove customers after they've converted, so you don't ask them to take the same action twice.
Tip: After a customer makes a purchase you don’t want to accidentally send them a new customer coupon code –making your brand look foolish.
Instead, take the opportunity to target them with another email or ad campaign to further increase their lifetime value. For example, introduce them to complimentary products based upon what items they recently purchased through upselling or cross-selling suggestions.
Summary: Keep Customers Coming Back for More
Winning your customers' attention and keeping their loyalty means delivering the best possible customer experience across every channel.
Retargeting and remarketing are powerful cost-effective digital marketing strategies to enhance brand recognition, cultivate continuous engagement, propel customers down the purchasing path, and maximize every customer relationship.
But of course, retargeting is just one of many methods to increase website traffic. Check out our Conversion Rate Optimization Guide with 25+ proven strategies to grow website conversions.
Need help staying top of mind and deepening connections with new and existing customers?Get in touch to talk with a digital strategist to execute a memorable, multichannel customer retention and maximization strategy, to ultimately drive repeat purchases, higher average order values, and increased customer lifetime value.