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Retargeting 101: How To Follow Your Leads To Boost Sales

According to Marketo, approximately 96% of visitors to your website are not ready to buy. This goes for any industry, but eCommerce sites tend to feel the squeeze even more, enduring sky-high cart abandonment rates of 70% or more as visitors window shop and then vanish.

We recently talked about how to write a cart abandonment email to reel those shoppers back in, but what if you don’t have an email address? Unless a shopper signs up for your offers or has previously bought from you, you’re challenged with trying to convince a bunch of anonymous visitors to buy from you.

That’s where retargeting comes in. At its core, retargeting is the strategy of following leads around the web and serving up relevant offers and ads based on their behavior while on your website.

For the purpose of this post, we’re going to focus on two retargeting strategies: onsite and offsite retargeting.

Why Retarget?

Unlike other forms of marketing and advertising, retargeting is effective because it targets people that have been on your website – that have already been exposed to your brand. They were on your website because they had some level of interest in your product or service.

Retargeting serves these website visitors ads and offers in a timely manner – while either still on your site, or as they visit other websites later. The ads can be customized based on the specific pages they visited on your site, or their specific behavior (i.e. clicking on a landing page, or putting a product in their cart). 

It works so well because it keeps your brand fresh in the minds of your leads. 

Onsite Retargeting With Picreel

In a perfect world, you catch visitors before they leave your website. This is exactly what conversion rate optimization platform, Picreel popup builder helps you accomplish. 

Picreel allows you to serve up highly-targeted offers in the form of pop-up boxes while a visitor is still on your website. The beauty of Picreel is in the granular targeting options that allow you to specify when an offer is shown based on a visitor’s behavior.

For example, you can target ads based on:

  • Time spent on a page
  • Percentage of page scrolled
  • Click of a link or element
  • Intent to exit page
  • And more

With Picreel, you can create an onsite retargeting campaign that subtly follows your leads around your own website. Initial offers can display as small, unintrusive banners that remind visitors your offer is waiting. Then, if a lead clicks the “Add to Cart” button and then makes to exit their cart, you can serve up a full-screen pop-up with your absolute best offer. 

But what happens if they still abandon ship and you didn’t collect their email address? That’s where offsite retargeting comes in.

Offsite Retargeting

Before consumers caught onto the technology behind retargeting, checking out a daybed on a furniture website one minute, then seeing an ad for said daybed five minutes later on the Yahoo! homepage, felt a bit… creepy.  

But the technology behind it is actually quite simple, and effective. A piece of Javascript code – often called a pixel (retargeting is also sometimes called “pixel-based marketing!”) – is placed on a webpage. When a person visits that page, a cookie is placed on their browser that follows them around the internet. Consumers are now very aware of the technology because most websites have a pop-up disclaimer that says they use cookies to improve the user experience, provide a better browsing experience, and create personalized content (that’s a heads-up you may be seeing ads from that site!). 

Once the cookie is placed, it signals to retargeting platforms to begin showing that user a designated paid ad. 

What’s A Retargeting Platform?

There are countless retargeting platforms to choose from. Google Remarketing, AdRoll, and ReTargeter are third party retargeting platforms that partner with multiple websites, social media sites, mobile apps, and email services to display retargeting ads to users within their network.

Advertisers can also choose to work directly with social media platforms to develop targeted sponsored ads. You’ve no doubt seen these sponsored posts show up in your Facebook or Twitter feed mere moments after searching for something! 

A smart mix of web and social retargeting is recommended. Why? Because people tend to trust sponsored posts on social media because they’re posts from a real account. Consumers are also more likely to engage with and share social posts. A banner ad on a website or in a mobile app could be paid for by anyone, so they tend to be slightly less trusted. However, social will have a narrower viewing window, where web retargeting will follow your lead and serve up multiple ads on different platforms, resulting in far more impressions.  

In both cases, this is a form of paid advertising. You can select a platform and plan that allows you to pay based on cost per impression (usually measured in CPM, cost per mille – or per 1,000 – impressions), cost per click, or event cost per conversion. While the last may be more expensive, it guarantees people are not only going to see your ad, but also act on it! 

In addition to this, it’s also very crucial to keep a keen eye on current advertising trends. By doing so, you can stay up to date with the ever-evolving landscape of advertising and be better prepared for what the future may hold in this dynamic field.

Developing Your Ad

Whether you’re developing an onsite or offsite retargeting campaign, the more targeted and personalized your ads, the better. 

We’ve talked extensively about the relevancy of offers. This includes everything from the actual offer itself (i.e. don’t ask someone to join your blog newsletter list if they make to abandon their full shopping cart), to the timing of the offer, to the targeting parameters you put in place to ensure the right people are seeing your ads. 

This goes for both onsite and offsite retargeting ads. The more relevant and timely your offer, the more likely a lead is to take notice and ultimately convert! 

Some ideas for onsite retargeting ads:

  • Sign up for newsletter after clicking through X number of blog pages
  • Sign up for a demo or trial after spending X time on services or pricing page
  • Schedule call or consultation after spending X time on services or pricing page
  • Offer gated content (eBook, buying guide, white paper, case study, etc.) after X time on product page
  • Offer discount on related product when a product is added to cart
  • Offer discount or free shipping during cart abandonment

One of the major advantages to onsite retargeting (aside from getting the visitor to convert before leaving) is that you are collecting email and contact information on the spot! These emails can be added to your nurturing campaigns for future marketing and engagement. 

Some ideas for offsite retargeting ideas:

  • Display ad of specific product visitor was viewing
  • Display general brand ad
  • Display a branded “Did you mean to leave something in your cart?” ad
  • Offer exclusive discount in ad if visitor returns and completes purchase
  • Offer free trial or demo if visitor returns and signs up
  • Offer gated content and redirect visitor to your website after download (optimized for social)

Onsite + Offsite = Win-Win!

The best retargeting strategy will incorporate a smart mix of both onsite and offsite retargeting. 

CRO platform, Picreel offers affordable monthly pricing that allow you to create unlimited offer campaigns across your website. A well-planned onsite retargeting campaign will give you several opportunities to convert website visitors before they leave. Timely, targeted and relevant offers will ensure you don’t annoy them in the process!

Once visitors do leave your site, paid offsite retargeting campaigns will keep your brand fresh in their minds. Throughout search engines, websites, and social sites, they will see your ads multiple times. Develop your ads with an enticing reason to return to your site, and you’ll see conversions – and sales – soar! 

Your Turn!

Do you currently do retargeting? If so, what have you had the best luck with – onsite or offsite? Have you had any flops? We’d love to hear your feedback – leave a comment in the section below! 

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About the author

The Picreel Editorial Team is a passionate group of CRO and eCommerce experts dedicated to delivering top-notch content. We stay ahead of the curve on trends, tackle technical hurdles, and provide practical tips to boost your business. With our commitment to quality and integrity, you can be confident you're getting the most reliable resources to enhance your customer engagement and lead generation initiatives.