Have you ever thought about all of those products your customers never checked out with? You know, all those abandoned carts filled by once-eager shoppers.

Many of those shoppers still want what they put in their cart – some may even want more. Maybe they went on to shop around for a better deal, or maybe something just distracted them. What matters is that at some point, those shoppers were interested. 

A recent Episerver study revealed that 32% of purchase-ready site visitors rarely or never go through with a purchase when they first come across it. All that some of those shoppers need is a little push. Luckily, there’s something you can do that will help you get them back. Let’s talk about retargeting.

What is retargeting?

Also known as behavioral retargeting and often confused with remarketing, retargeting is a form of online advertising that aims to bring back visitors that didn't convert on a sale, download, etc.

Traditionally, remarketing has worked toward the same goal, but through email and outreach marketing. However, these terms are often used interchangeably and there’s no real clear distinct line anymore, as remarketing can be seen as a type of marketing and retargeting as a part of that type.

Either way, I'll be focusing on retargeting and talking about it as its own thing.

Why use it?

Well, because some shoppers only need that little push. Retargeting directly addresses that 32% of visitors that leave without buying. It can be a key part of your strategy that reels distracted visitors back in and nudges undecided ones.

Not only that, retargeting is a strong component of a true omnichannel strategy. Shoppers are moving across screens more than ever, and it’s only up from here. Retargeting enables marketers to control a single consistent experience across devices.

As for the cost? Most providers typically charge on a CPM or CPC basis. CPM (cost per thousand) is great for impressions and CPC (cost per click) is great for clicks – both are generally very flexible and cost-effective. 

More on retargeting

Retargeting may be summarized fairly easily, but there are some layers to it. There are two different types of retargeting, static and dynamic, and both are very much an à la carte service with a sliding scale of options.

static vs dynamic retargeting

Retargeting can be as basic as just showing customers ads for products they more recently reviewed – but it can also get as advanced as:

  • Identity matching, connecting the dots to more fully understand consumer behavior across devices
  • Dynamic personalization, data-based ad personalization to show the right items or content
  • Creative optimization, data-based ad personalization (layout, color, calls-to-action, copy, etc.) to more effectively appeal to shoppers
  • Placement prediction, data-based ad placement to better meet customers where they're most likely to convert

All of that plus a world of developing audience analytics make retargeting a flexible marketing investment with a growing range of customization.

Static retargeting

Static retargeting involves serving up preset ads to people, depending where they go on your site. From creative to target range, these ads are predetermined and fairly linear. That’s not to say they’re aren’t useful; they have their applications.

Static retargeting is ideal for B2B companies. With it, you can effectively target a certain type of audience – which is great for when you want to promote a specific product or resource, like a whitepaper, for example.

Dynamic retargeting

On the other hand, dynamic retargeting is more personalized than its static counterpart. Using machine learning and advanced tracking tech, this form of retargeting generates custom, relevant ads for each shopper based on their behavior.

Dynamic retargeting is ideal for B2C ecommerce businesses, especially those with a large product catalog and customer base. The larger the inventory, the more time-consuming and complicated static remarketing becomes. Not only that, dynamic remarketing is more personalized by default, and personalized ads can be more effective than general ads. An Evergage study reported that 88% of US marketers reported seeing a measurable lift in business results because of personalization – with 53% reporting a lift greater than 10%, and 10% reporting a lift greater than 30%.

Dynamic remarketing is a flexible, efficient means of reaching out to your most qualified leads.

Make those sales happen

Your visitors came to you, now you need to go to them. So where do you start?

Well, the two most massive online platforms also happen to have fantastic retargeting capabilities: Google and Facebook.

Google Dynamic Remarketing

No one should really need convincing on how prolific Google’s influence is. It’s the most popular website both in the global market and in the US.

The specifics on Google’s monthly active users are murky, but we do know that with over 3.5B searches every single day, Google has 90.46% of the search engine market share worldwide. And that’s just Search, they also dominate the online ad space – 90% of all internet users see Google Display Network ads.

Massive reach and a massive audience aren’t all they have going for them, though. Google offers a wide range of advanced campaign options, a wide range of ad forms, and they do a good job at balancing all the ads they need to distribute.

All you need to get a dynamic remarketing campaign off the ground is a Google Merchant Center account and a product feed. Check out Google’s guide on getting started.

Facebook Dynamic Ads

Second to Google’s suite of frequently-used services, you have the Facebook ecosystem.

Facebook is the most popular social media site on the web. With over 2B active users – and the next most massive social platform, Instagram, under its belt – Facebook is the next best channel you’ll want to use for retargeting. Platform popularity aside, Facebook also has an ad network to similar to Google, the Facebook Audience Network. This network serves up ads to a collection of mobile apps and websites that includes over 40% of the top 500 apps. 

It’s probably not uncommon for shoppers to be pulled away from your site because of a social notification, or some other distraction. Turn to Facebook for dynamic ads and you’ll have ads on two of the largest platforms known for distracting people, plus the range that the Audience Network covers. And just like Google’s advanced capabilities, Facebook’s tech is just as advanced – they may even have the upper hand when it comes to audience data.

Getting your campaign running on Facebook is also very straightforward. You only need a Facebook ad account, a Facebook Page for your business, and a product feed. Check out Facebook’s guide on getting started, and check out these best practices.

General best practices

Like with anything, you don’t want to go in blind. It’s important to understand what makes retargeting campaigns work well.

All audiences and companies are different, but there are some broad things you can do to optimize your efforts. Some of this applies more to static retargeting than it does to dynamic retargeting, as dynamic retargeting utilizes more advanced features by default. Regardless, you'll want to make sure you understand and consider all of this before going into any retargeting campaign.

  • Segment your audience - at least by behavior, time, and existing customers. It’s important to know what people do on your site, how they interact with it, and to know who’s bought what.
  • Optimize your ads and landing pages - rotate your ads and set a frequency cap on your ads to combat ad fatigue and brand blindness, and always split test your ads 
  • Add a burn pixel - the opposite of the tracking pixel needed for retargeting. A burn pixel on your thank you page will untag users who’ve already converted. This will save you money on impressions and should spare you some annoyed customers.
  • Optimize your product data - data is the main key to generally boost online sales, but it’s also particularly important for dynamic retargeting. After all, these ads are generated from that product data. Your data needs to be clean and channel compliant
  • Have strong product imagery - this is particularly important for dynamic ads as your product images are sourced from that product data.
  • Consider using a product feed tool - the denser your catalog gets, the more you will need a platform to streamline the process. Manually optimizing your product data can turn into a virtually endless task, the right tool greatly simplify this, save on ad spend, and reduce shopper frustration.

Final thoughts

If you run an ecommerce business and you’re on the fence about retargeting, you’re missing out on some serious revenue. Far too many people don’t buy products when the intent is actually there.

Dynamic retargeting is an effective and affordable way to remain relevant to distracted and undecided shoppers. Sharpen up your product data and try your hand at getting campaigns going on Google and Facebook – there’s no doubt that they’re the best in the game.

We know a thing or two about optimizing product data and we’ve helped thousands of merchants with their retargeting campaigns. Let’s chat about your campaign goals.