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Retargeting is a new buzzword that is quickly spreading through the marketing community. Many online business owners have heard the term recently but aren’t quite sure what it means. I spent some time researching this fast-growing marketing technique and wanted to share my findings with you.
Let’s start with a common definition of retargeting. Retargeting, also commonly known as “behavioral retargeting” or “behavioral remarketing”, essentially means targeting ads and marketing efforts at consumers and prospects who have previously visited your website, but did not convert.
The key here is that you target your ads only at users who have visited your site, have had some kind of experience with your brand, and who are now considered “lost” users. Retargeting aims to bring those lost users back to you, using ads that can skip the “introduction to your brand” phase.
Anyone who sells anything on the web understands that converting is the number one goal. Retargeting allows you to go after those lost conversions, and some studies show that retargeting can increase conversion rates by up to 125%.
Keys To Successful Retargeting Campaigns
Granular targeting: Being able to segment your visitors into small, tightly focused groups enables precise retargeting. For example, by knowing exactly which specific products and services your visitors engaged with on your site, you can later deliver those same product ad to that group of users.
Working with ad networks who have the technology to track and use the information obtained to present retargeted ads across a large network of sites is essential to making this work. When a user visits your site, a cookie is dropped to track that user’s interests on your site. You share that cookie with your ad network, who in turn, serves relevant ads to that same user as he or she lands on any other site that uses that ad network to serve ads.
Personalization of the ad is critical. You’ll set business rules to determine which ads get displayed (using dynamic content insertion) based on various factors, such as whether the user is a registered user of your site and has supplied you with an email address in the past, what phase of the buying cycle she is likely to be in, how many times she has visited and left without converting, etc.
Careful and continuous analysis of web analytics is a must to create successful retargeting campaigns. Knowing which ads work, and which ads the user has seen too many times are equally vital. A good campaign will provide a variety of ads aimed at promoting the same thing to measure success and frequency caps to avoid ad burnout.
Dynamic, customized landing pages work well. If a retargeted ad is successful in bring a user back to your site, acknowledging her return can welcome her and personalize the experience for her.
Once a retargeted user converts, the cookie is removed, and the user falls out of the retargeting group.
You can also use the same concept of retargeting in the social realm, though with admittedly less control, since you won’t be able to drop a cookie. You’ll also be limited to a narrow online world, but one which your users are likely spending most of their time. One of the big advantages of utilizing Facebook ads, for example, is that the ads can be targeted to highly specific groups. You can set up ads to target only Facebook users who have a relevant interest (or is a fan of a competitor), and who aren’t fans of you yet. Send them to a specific landing page. If they don’t convert (they don’t click the Like button), you can continue to show them a variety of different ads to remind them of your offer. You’ll also need to be careful to avoid ad burnout here, and may need to create shorter-term campaigns when retargeting within a social network. If your retargeting efforts succeed and a user converts, she’ll drop out of the user pool that you’re targeting with this group of ads.
Add Retargeting To The Marketing Mix
Marketers always want to supply the right ad to the right user at the right time. Sometimes, that means showing a generic display ad that introduces your brand to users who have never heard of you. Other times, you may show ads to search engine users with relevant PPC ads. Now, with retargeting, you can also show personalized ads to users who have already visited your site and failed to convert. Your brand is one they are already familiar with, so you can skip the introductions and move right to the phase of reminding them that they had considered one of your products in the recent past. Reminding “lost” users of your brand – and specific products – enables you to reach an audience that the other types of ads aren’t designed to reach.
Speaker: Dan Thut, Rocketer, attempts to demonstrate how to use Facebook ads to grow the volume and efficiency of a PPC campaign, using a case study.
Chris McDonagh, webcast producer/moderator of searchmarketingnow.com introduced Marc Poirier, the CMO of Acquisio. Poirier talked a little about their software and introduced Dan Thut of Rocketer.
The question many ask is can we use Facebook for lead generation? The implied answer was yes, though it was left hanging.
Facebook advertising can have some pitfalls:
You can spend a lot of money very quickly, with not much to show for it
Many challenger brands are adopting Facebook advertising at a rapid and commendable rate, so they are eating away at big brands market share because they are getting to grips with this new advertising strategy faster than the big brands are.
You need an agile team and lots of tools to handle everything thrown at you from this new medium. (This was the beginning of a subtle sales pitch).
One overlooked way that Facebook advertising can be beneficial is that a well managed Facebook ad campaign can help established a PPC campaign deliver more value and more volume.
Increased monthly conversions from 8k to 21k
CPA – cost per acquisition – dropped from 23 UK pounds to 13 pounds
34% increase in ppc brand searches
47% increase in direct-to-url traffic
Rocketer already had some data that suggested that people who clicked on a Facebook ad later transacted via a comparable Google PPC ad, but they wanted to test it. They carefully chose a client to work with and made sure they had total control of client’s marketing, to ensure the numbers would be accurate and not skewed by other factors.
They tested a lot of ads, and managed them closely.
They targeted UK men aged 16-45. (12 million)
How many different ad variants are needed for 12 million users?
They broke the group down into smaller groups. 113 counties x 25 sporting interests x 15 newspaper readerships – splits the 12 million users into tens of thousands of different niche interest groups!
Obviously, to manage tens of thousands of groups, each using at least a hundred different ad variants, you need technology to handle it all. (More subtle sales pitching here).
The process: build ads specific to each niche user group, get the right message to the right person at the right time, identify the successful ad types, but don’t stop there.
It only takes one rotten apple (ad) to quickly spoil the rest. Facebook ads can degrade very quickly (CTR drops / bounce rates rise), so their quality scores get worse. That one bad infects the others in the group quickly, and a lot of bad ads can infect the entire advertising account. Within 24 hours, a few bad apples can destroy all the ads in your account.
Since Facebook doesn’t tell us the quality score of ads, we have to gauge it ourselves, which is both important and difficult. So we need to watch the successful ads like a hawk and remove the degrading ones before they affect the others. Obviously, a tool is necessary to analyze thousands of ads and alert us when bad ones crop up. (I bet you know that this refers to the sales pitch, right?).
Although the presenter showed a graph indicating that PPC spend decreased while the Facebook ad testing was going on, I can’t say he ever really explained the correlation. I don’t know how or why one affected the other, so I’m not sure I would know how to duplicate such success.
In any case, this was really more about subtly selling software than it was about educating me on how Facebook ads can augment a PPC campaign. I don’t want to imply that they overdid the sales pitches, because it really was pretty subtle, but at the end, all I really got out of this presentation was that I need tools to manage large Facebook ad campaigns.
I decided to play a little trick on my boss using the Facebook advertising techniques he taught me.
Using the “Location” section in the ad tools, I entered Portland, Oregon which is where Blitzlocal headquarters is located.
In the “Demographics” section, I targeted males ages 30 to 40.
For “Education and Work” I typed BlitzLocal LLC and WebTrends.
The result ended with an estimated 80 people targeted.
About 4 days later, I get an email from my boss:
And this only cost me 6 cents.
Knowing that you can target down to where someone works, where they live, and how old they are– how might you use this in your business?
We just acquired a new client! Introducing, Stupid.com. Their website is filled with silly gag gifts, bizarre toys and simply, the most random products found on the web.
These gag gifts were a hit in the office. Unpacking a box of goodies was the highlight of the day-everyone found something they just had to have! From sparkle poo to astronaut ice cream bars, the assortment was astounding, and entertaining to say the least. To quote a Stupid.com Facebook fan, “Yes, these are infantile amusements, but they have a really great selection of them!” Too true, sir! So, what kind of stupid are you looking for?
We’re looking to get them some more Facebook friends. Currently they’re at over 5,000. So, spread the good word, poop jokes, pranks and all around awesomeness. Lets see where they’re at the end of this year!
This Facebook song video I originally saw on the Small Business Internet Marketing Blog of Julie Weishaar (@NewHorizons123) is the perfect example of content that will go viral and be spread far and wide.
This video is better than anything I’ve ever seen put out by Facebook. I have only seen a couple of videos that I found as entertaining and that made me smile.
One was the United Breaks Guitars Video I wrote about on GrowMap that has 9,822,277 views and the other was the Wedding Dance video that got 60,582,511 views.
The Facebook video below is up to 7,675,500 views.
If you want to get viral marketing working for you, it is very likely that you will not be able to produce these kinds of videos yourself. You need someone with a track record and real talent to produce viral videos. Read the rest of this post »

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