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Enough studies have shown that 90-98% of your website’s visitors leave without interaction that we can accept it as fact. Many companies have had success in converting some of those 90-98% to customers through ad retargeting programs. So what is ad retargeting, how does it work, and how can your company benefit?

In a retargeting program, a snippet of code is embedded in the footer of your website. The code tracks the people who come to your site by placing cookies in their browsers. This creates a list of people who have shown enough interest in your company or brand to have visited your website. This allows you or your retargeting vendor to serve up appropriate ads to these qualified prospects as they visit other sites.

These ads keep your brand visible to those who have indicated their interest. Retargeting is proving a valuable tool in the integrated marketing toolkit as the click-through rate and increased conversions from these programs are higher then from cold lead generation.

Recommended best practices for an ad-retargeting program include:

  • Rank order those you want to retarget. Those who abandon the shopping cart or other order processing have shown intent to purchase and so are higher value prospects than those who briefly visited your site.
  • Put a cap on the number of times a non-buyer is shown your ads. You don’t want to annoy this potential buyer by showing them too many ads. You can also put a time limit on the retargeting –30 days, for example – to avoid overexposure.
  • Create a number of ads so that you can rotate them.
  • Images almost always pull at a higher rate than text-only ads.
  • As with all marketing, continually test your creative and messaging to ensure the highest response possible.
  • Use a “burn” code, which is a piece of code that tags these prospects when they become buyers and are then removed from this program.
  • Placement of the retargeting code can include: your website, blog, any giveaway content such as white papers or case studies, webinars, and landing pages.
  • You can also extend the range of the retargeting code by sharing any of the above via social media.
  • In addition to including all website-based content, you can also integrate your outbound email program so that anyone who opens an email from your company will be added to the retargeting program until they become a customer or they time out of the program.

There are two courses of action to manage this process. It is not necessarily the most cost-effective, but managing the program yourself gives you the most control. It obviously depends on your staff levels and internal budget. However, there are a number of companies that provide the service and you can choose the one that best meets your specific needs. In June 2013, Google launched their service – Google Dynamic Retargeting, so that service is an option for you as well.

The primary benefit of a retargeting program is that companies and brands can extend the sales process by keeping qualified prospects in the marketing loop for a longer period of time – increasing the likelihood that they will become a customer. Any costs incurred during this process obviously are part of the customer acquisition cost, but are generally lower than other lead sources – increasing the long-term return on marketing investment.

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