What Is Remarketing? How Remarketing Works to Increase Leads and Sales
By Betsy McLeod
At this very moment, you’re being tracked.
In real life, this is illegal, and is called stalking. Online, this is a common digital marketing practice, and is called remarketing—or retargeting , depending on who you ask and the platform you’re working with.
Using remarketing to retarget ads to people who have visited your website benefits both the audience and the business in three major ways:
With the wide variety of remarketing platforms, you can target almost every target audience at every stage in the modern sales funnel .
The consumer sees more personalized ads that are more relevant and timely, upping the online experience
Businesses see increased revenue since remarketing has a high ROI
Below I’ll dive into how remarketing works, why it’s so effective, what your platform options are, and how you can leverage it for your business. If you have any questions at the end, send us a note and we’ll go into more detail on how this can apply to your specific company.
What Is Remarketing?
In digital marketing, remarketing (or retargeting) is the practice of serving ads across the internet to people who have already visited your website. It allows your company to seem like they’re “following” people around the internet by serving ads on the websites and platforms they use most.
How Remarketing Works
Chances are, you’ve seen one of these boxes pop up when you’re browsing on a website:
When you check/click “ok” or “accept” you are giving companies permission to remarket to you.
How remarketing works is when someone visits your website, a few lines of code from your retargeting partner drops an anonymous cookie in the user’s browser. This cookie—a small file that stores various bits of information—tracks the site visit without storing any sensitive personal info like name and address. Then, when this cookied user leaves your site to browse the web, the cookie tells your ad platform when that user visits another site.
Think of it like this: You have a giant sign above your head that details the last three drinks you’ve bought recently. When you walk into a bar, the bartender immediately serves up those exact three drinks, without you having to say a word.
I’ll give you an example.
In the past week, I’ve been to both the Birchbox website and the Gazelle website. Suddenly, these ads started following me around the internet, from Facebook to news websites:
Coincidence? Highly doubtful.
The Benefits of Remarketing
Remarketing Increases Visibility and Top of Mind Awareness for Qualified Visitors
Remarketing is a great way to advertise your products and services to people who are already familiar with your company. There are TONS of reasons people don’t convert on their first visit:
They’re busy with something else
They want to do more research
They aren’t convinced they need your services
They didn’t see the solution they wanted
They just spilled piping hot coffee into their lap
Remarketing to these people gives them a gentle nudge to remind them that, yes, you do have the solution they need.
Another reason remarketing works so well to build top-of-mind awareness is based on behavioral psychology—specifically, the cell phone theory .
The cell phone theory from Duke University claims that even when people online are busy or distracted, they subliminally take in images and surroundings around them. Later, those surroundings and images seem to already be familiar. What that means for you is that it’s highly likely people will remember your company simply by remarketing to them.
Remarketing Increases Conversions
On average, only 2% of your website visitors convert. Remarketing goes after that other 98%. In fact, customers who see retargeted ads are 70% more likely to convert on your website.
Research from WordStream found that the more times a user sees an ad, the higher the conversion rate. Take a look at the graph below:
The Different Types of Remarketing
When we say remarketing, we’re talking about a whole bucket of different types:
Video Remarketing (Google Ads): Your ads are shown as pre-roll video ads on YouTube and other Google display partners to people that have previously visited your site.
Search Remarketing (Google Ads): Your ads are shown at the top of the search engine results when someone who has already visited your site searches for specific terms or services.
Display Remarketing (Google Ads): Your ads are shown as display ads on other websites within the Google display ad network.
Dynamic Remarketing (Google Ads): Boost your results with dynamic remarketing, which takes remarketing to the next level with ads that include products or services that people viewed on your website or app.
Social Media Remarketing: You can use LinkedIn remarketing , Facebook remarketing and Pinterest remarketing to serve ads to people who have visited your website while they browse those social media channels and partner websites.
Customer List Remarketing: With both social media marketing and Google Adwords remarketing, you can upload lists of contact information that your customers have given you. When those people are signed into Google or that specific social media site, you can show them ads across different websites or on that social platform.
6 Tips to Leveraging Remarketing and Increasing Your Bottom Line
In order for remarketing to work, there are a few key tips you should follow:
Segment your remarketing lists: when you’re setting up your remarketing tag, make sure you differentiate between different pages. For example, separate people who have visited “air conditioning repair” and “furnace repair” pages for a more personalized experience.
Tailor your ads to your remarketing strategy: Your creative strategy is just as important as your remarketing list strategy. Make sure your ads are relevant to the audience you’d like to reach, have the same look and feel as your site, and have a compelling call-to-action.
Test different ad platforms, sizes, and formats: To reach as many customers as possible on the web, create different types of ads for your remarketing campaign in multiple sizes and placements. Then test which formats, platforms, and sizes work best for your campaign.
Upsell to current customers: Your existing customers are your most loyal customers, and are the ones most likely to purchase other products and services from you. I recommend creating a list of current customers and using it to upsell new products or advertise discounts.
Schedule your ads for when your target audience is most likely to see them: Not all hours of the day are created equal. While Baby Boomers may be most active in the morning, Gen-Z may not be up for ads until mid-afternoon.
Invest your advertising dollars on the platforms and websites that show results: I can’t stress this enough. If your Google remarketing cost is higher for one or two websites or platforms but your ads aren’t getting enough conversions to justify the investment, STOP. This is where the importance of testing different platforms and websites comes in. Yes, remarketing works, but only if you’re targeting the right people at the right time on the right platform.
Next Steps: Incorporate Remarketing in Your Digital Marketing Strategy
If you walk away from this blog with one thing, this is what it should be:
Remarketing is a smart investment that could increase your bottom line—if you do it right. Nothing will tank your remarketing strategy faster than bad management. While it seems relatively simple, the best results come from the highest audience segmentation and best bidding strategies.
That’s where a digital marketing company comes in. These people devote their lives to this stuff—and I guarantee they’ll have an easier time making your company money than you will by yourself. If you want some help finding a good marketing partner, contact us and we’ll see what we can magic up for you.
About The Author: Betsy is Blue Corona's Digital Content Manager. When she’s not directing Blue Corona's corporate digital content campaigns she’s urban exploring with her wife, diving into the latest marketing trends, or teaching horseback riding lessons. Twitter: @educatedbets