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How Does Remarketing Work? (The Basics and Benefits)

How Does Remarketing Work? (The Basics and Benefits)

The road to getting a customer to pick up the phone and dial your number is long and winding. Think about your own experience and the multiple times you’ve encountered a company’s advertisements in front of you before making a purchase.

As the average user travels through the buying funnel, they perform several search sessions to research a service or product. When they find your business, they might get pulled away from completing your contact form or abandon their cart, and memory of their interaction with your website fades away.

What if you could lead them back? That’s where remarketing comes into play.

Read on to learn more about what remarketing is all about, and why it’s worth utilizing for your lead generation business. 

What is remarketing?

Remarketing is a form of online advertising that uses a small piece of web code that gets picked up and carried by the browser (many know it as a “cookie”).

Remarketing behaves like you’d expect when you see the “re-” in front of it — marketing from an organization that reappears, recycles, or returns to a user. And it’s not some odd coincidence. When you’re utilizing remarketing, you’re hoping these repeat impressions happen intentionally.

Sure, a billboard can act as a form of remarketing.

You’ll drive past the same billboard 10 or 20 times a month on a commute. But that billboard isn’t changing delivery channels and popping up elsewhere, and it certainly isn’t showing only to potential customers who would find it relevant to them. The advertiser has to hope the repeat sightings turn into some action on the viewer’s part.

As an example of remarketing, let’s say that you’re a contracting company that remodels doors and windows. 

Your target audience is older, wealthier families wondering how to refresh the condition of their home. Your potential customers have to choose whether or not to invest. Remarketing serves the occasional reminder to these past visitors to check out new window deals, especially as the home improvement season ramps up in the warmer months.

How does remarketing work?

For remarketing efforts to start, a website owner needs to add a small piece of code that links to the user’s browser. It’s the browser cookie that confirms you’ve been a visitor to a particular site, and it’s so innocuous, a large handful of users don’t know they’re probably carrying around dozens of them to different parts of the web.

If you set up programming in your ad delivery service to check for that cookie, and have a separate ad available for users who possess it, then that remarketing material will usually appear. 

So instead of a generic, boilerplate ad getting displayed to the user, they receive a little reminder through your ad to check out your particular service, or get a great deal from your seasonal promo, or see the item they left behind in their cart. You can include that subtle nudge back towards your website in your messaging.

Remarketing can appear in multiple places to meet users as they start and stop their search journey or browse on different devices. Examples include:

  • Visiting a website
  • Watching a YouTube video
  • Using a search engine
  • Browsing a social media site like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram

An example of remarketing: Google Ads

If you’re advertising on Google’s search or display networks, all it takes to initialize remarketing is a tag or pixel on your website. Visitors pick up the bit of code when they browse your pages, and it sticks with them as they leave your domain. 

As long as the users don’t clear their cookies by the time they’re ready to sit down and search again, your tag can get your ad displayed even if the individual is on your competitor’s website. Inside any domain that shows on the Google Display Network, the remarketing ad can find its way to the user’s screen.

One thing that’s important to remember is that users can opt-out of seeing your retargeting ads, shaving off some expected impressions.

Another remarketing example: Facebook

Social media sites like Facebook are useful for remarketing campaigns since there’s plenty of personalization that goes into both user profiles and the platform’s ad delivery methods.

Facebook is big on audience targeting, leveraging the demographics and interests of its users so that advertisers know who would be a good candidate for remarketing.

Facebook has a pixel that registers when a user interacts with an ad on their social media feed — like tapping to watch a video. Then the user is put into the funnel to receive an ad later about visiting the company’s website. For our home remodeling example, it could be a website page dedicated to new windows.

Here’s the neat thing. Since different remarketing efforts can wind up working together on securing the same qualified lead, the user might pick up the website tag as well.

Remarketing makes more cross-device conversions possible, and measurable, too. That’s critical when we think back to how the search journey spans across both computers and mobile devices.

Why is remarketing important for businesses?

Remarketing’s advantage as a branding and conversion optimizer is enormous. You’re positioning your marketing in front of users who already expressed interest in your business or service.

Preserving top-of-mind brand awareness is so crucial in an age inundated with so many distracting, irrelevant ads. Because a user receiving a remarketing ad is already familiar with your business, they’re more likely to pay attention to its messaging.

In a Google Ads case study on remarketing, just a simple list implemented into an ad campaign boosted conversion rates by 161%.

However, remarketing alone can’t create more site visitors, traffic, and clicks. You have to boost your signal with strategies such as search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising before you can bring in a curious user and provide a cookie.

And you also need to think strategically about what would be the next logical step for a user in your buying funnel. If your initial ad has led somebody to download your digital guide to window styles, for example, your follow-up should steer them towards a form to contact your window design specialists.

Help your customers find you again with remarketing

You now have a rundown of remarketing — so, are you interested in incorporating it into your digital marketing campaign? Partnering with online marketing consultants can help you craft an effective, targeted plan.

Plus, you can use their tools and experience to not only set up tracking for your website, but coordinate your efforts across your campaign — on search engines, on social media, and more.

If you’re ready to get started, reach out to our team, and we’ll be happy to share our expertise in targeting and securing good leads for your business!

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