So you are on a website looking at a new hat, but you leave the site without purchasing anything. Then when you are on completely unrelated sites, you start seeing ads for that hat, or at the very least the hat site you were on. This is called retargeting and its important because studies have shown buyers, especially new ones, return more than once before they make a purchase. Retargeting keep your product or website front and center in the buyer’s mind.
Let’s start at the beginning, when ecommerce was new there were less websites selling products. Today there are countless websites selling countless products, so potential buyers have a lot more options than before. There are many different strategies retailers use to entice buyers to purchase from them, but that is a whole different topic. Enter retargeting.
Buyers now take their time when making a purchase. There can be multiple touch points before they purchase, including visiting your site numerous times, seeing your paid search ads, and possibly receiving an email after signing up for your list after visiting your site. One important retargeting strategy is display ads. Websites sell ad space to a broker, i.e. Google, which in turn puts that space up for auction. It’s pretty simple, a visitor comes to your site and when they leave they are added to a list of visitors. You may actually have multiple lists based on certain demographic models you use. When they go to another site, if that site has ad space available, you enter into a bidding process with all the other potential advertisers who that person has visited. So you are not just competing with other retailers selling the same products as you are, but also any other sites that retarget who that person has visited.
Retargeting has been shown to be an effective means of driving sales (if it wasn’t no one would use it). These is one very important retargeting strategy that most retailers don’t use and it costs them money. Remove the customer from your retargeting list once they have made a purchase. They came to your site looking for a hat, you served them retargeting ads and five days later they returned and purchased the hat. Why do you want to show them more ads for a product you just sold them, especially if it’s not something that they would typically buy again? The answer, on the internet at least, is you don’t want to and on the internet you don’t have to.
So what is the solution? On your retargeting lists make sure you exclude visitors who have made a purchase, usually by excluding visitors that have reached your checkout complete or thank you page. This is a simple thing to do, yet few do it. Also think back to the example at the beginning, lets says 2 of your competitors also retarget. They have no way of knowing your customer bought from you so they will still be retargeting to them even after they have purchased from you. While this won’t amount to much money spent by them, every little bit helps to get you a leg up in today’s world.