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Set Up an Ad Retargeting Campaign

There are two main types of retargeting: pixel-based and list-based. The way each works is slightly different, and each has different advantages based on your campaign goals.

Pixel-Based Retargeting
Pixel-based retargeting is a way to re-display your material to any anonymous site visitor. This is probably the most common type of retargeting. When someone comes to your website, an unobtrusive piece of JavaScript (often referred to as a pixel) is placed on their browser — making their browser “cookie-d.” When they leave your site to surf the web, that cookie notifies retargeting platforms to serve specific ads based on the specific pages they visited on your website.
The advantage of pixel-based retargeting is that it is timely (they can be retargeted pretty immediately after leaving your site), specific to a particular page on your site, and behavior-based. The downsides to this method are that there is a lower volume of people in the campaign at any given moment in time since it’s all based on how often people are coming to your website, viewing certain pages, and leaving. It also can be complicated or time-intensive to implement JavaScript on many website pages.

List-Based Retargeting
List-based retargeting works after you already have someone’s contact information in your database. You can also use lists of your existing contacts for certain types of retargeting ads. To do this, upload a list of the email addresses to a retargeting campaign (usually on a social network like Facebook or Twitter), and the platform will identify users on that network who have those addresses and serve retargeting ads just to them.

Though it’s a little less common than pixel-based retargeting, list-based retargeting allows you to have highly customizable criteria for your ads because it’s based on more than behavior — you’re choosing who goes in which list.

On the flip side, it’s possible that a person in your list gave you one email address and the social network another — and in that case, they won’t see your ads. Also keep in mind that because you are in charge of uploading and maintaining the list, list-based retargeting also is less automatic and timely than pixel-based retargeting.

If you’ve ever heard of the term “retargeting,” it’s likely it was in comparison to remarketing. And while the two are often mistaken for each other, they do have differences. Let’s talk about when you would use either.

Remarketing and retargeting are often confused with each other. Though they share similarities, retargeting allows you to reach new prospects with your ads, while remarketing focuses on the re-sparking interest of your company to current or inactive old customers.

When you analyze sales, you can determine what’s popular among the audiences you’re aiming to reach. For instance, if you find that a certain line of products performs really well among millennials, pull images of them into a carousel ad and use it to retarget customers. The personalization of a separate ad promoting a collection, aimed at a segment of your target market, is one example of how retargeting can be successful.

Retargeting Ad Goals

To generate awareness.
Awareness campaigns are useful when you want to re-engage website visitors and tell them about relevant products, features, or announcements. These ads are usually served to pixel-based lists.
The obvious drawback to awareness campaigns is that you’re serving less targeted content to people who haven’t engaged heavily with your brand. They’re not in your contacts database, and often, there are lower expected clickthrough rates than other types of campaigns.However, since the goal is to make prospects aware of your business, impressions and engagement are acceptable metrics to track. Often awareness campaigns are precursors to a much more effective campaign goal: conversions.

To drive conversions.
Conversion goals are just that — you want to get people to click on your ad and take the next step, such as filling out a landing page form. Conversion campaigns are best used to align a specific list with a clear next step in the flywheel, and can be measured with typical conversion metrics like website clicks, form submission, and cost-per-lead (CPL).The best thing about a conversion campaign is that you can use it for multiple parts of the flywheel. Pixel-based ads, for instance, generate leads and will direct people to landing pages where they can give over their information.

List-based ads better qualify those leads. Ads will appear to contacts who gave you limited information and lead them to longer forms with additional fields.

To complete the buyer’s journey.
Additionally, retargeting can be used to move qualified leads to complete the buyer’s journey cycle. For example, you might use retargeting to send a list of contacts that have downloaded an ebook an invite to sign up for a free trial of your product. When they see how your tool can help them meet their goals, they may be inspired to become a paying customer.

To increase customer lifetime value (CLTV).
Customer lifetime value is the amount of money you can expect from a single customer throughout their entire relationship with your business. When using retargeting, customers are reminded of your brand and encouraged to continue making purchases. The more purchases they make, the higher their CLTV.

To reduce cart abandonment.
Cart abandonment is when a customer places something in their shopping cart in your online store, but leaves your website instead of checking out and making a payment. Retargeting can help you recover these customers that have abandoned their carts and serve as a reminder that the item they were interested in is still available and ready for purchase.

To introduce new products.
When you know that customers have visited your website, made a purchase, or shown general interest in your business, retargeting helps you share new products with them that align with their interests. When they see your ads, you can lead them directly back to your site to discover your new product and entice them to follow through with a purchase.
Regardless of your goal, it is important to align the positioning, creativity, and next step in the conversion process — whether that’s an offer landing page, site page, or request for more information — with your audience list.
List-based retargeting can have low match rates (users synced with accounts on each platform, usually by email address), so make sure you’re fueling your retargeting activities with inbound content.

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