Remarketing and Retargeting: The Key to Multiplying Conversions

Ron Dodby Ron Dod

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Here are some cold, hard facts for eCommerce retailers to contemplate:

While these stats can be quite disconcerting, it is important to remember that many of these consumers can be regained, and very few customers take a straightforward path to complete a purchase. In fact, it’s rare that a consumer visits an eCommerce store for the first time and buys something on that same visit.

Abandoned Cart Statistic

With the omnichannel shopping experience that exists in today’s digital climate, consumers are more likely to take a slow, subtle and researched path to purchase.

As digital retailers, it is necessary to continually (yet unobtrusively) shepherd consumers back to your site to convert. The most effective tactics for this today are retargeting and remarketing.

Each of these strategies can be used to effectively increase a site’s conversions and grow a brand’s bottom line. But what exactly is the difference between retargeting and remarketing?

Remarketing Defined

Remarketing is a tactic for re-engaging potential customers through email marketing. Remarketing emails tend to be triggered by consumer actions taken on-site, such as adding an item to a wish list or placing a product in their shopping cart and abandoning it before checking out.

Remarketing email campaigns are very effective because the majority of people have an email account, making it easy to reach out to them. Moreover, emails are influential. Roughly 66 percent of consumers claim to have made a purchase driven by a marketing email they received.

Marketing Email Statistic

Remarketing emails can serve as reminders or provide incentives that bring consumers back to a site to buy. As these recipients have already shown interest in a brand’s offerings, these emails can be quite useful.

Abandoned cart emails are a prime example of eCommerce remarketing emails as these gently nudge a consumer who left a site without converting back into the sales funnel.

So, if remarketing pertains to emails, what does that make retargeting?

Retargeting Explained

Retargeting is another re-engagement technique whereby businesses deploy online adverts that target consumers who have previously interacted with their brand’s website in some way. In fact, retargeting efforts can boost an eCommerce store’s visibility, traffic and sales in meaningful ways.

As you’ve likely gathered, the main difference between the two disciplines is the channel which is used – remarketing leverages email while retargeting utilizes strategically placed adverts. While there are other differences between the two techniques, the intentions behind both are the same. The goal is to re-engage users who left a site without converting and inspire them to come back and take the desired action.

Much like remarketing emails, retargeting ads demand that a site visitor take a specific action to trigger the corresponding advert. The actions are likely to be similar to those that would target a consumer with an email remarketing campaign – left an item in the cart, visited a specific page, etc.  

When a site visitor takes a prescribed action, a piece of code on the site (often referred to as a pixel) drops a cookie. After a visitor leaves the site, the cookie informs the retargeting provider when and where to serve specific ads, thereby ensuring that a brand’s ads display only to individuals who have previously visited their website.

Retargeting ads can be set up through social media websites, or they can be shown across third-party destinations through Google’s Display Network.

With definitions out of the way, let’s dive in to each approach’s best practices.

Email Remarketing Best Practices

When sending remarketing emails, retailers must be conscious of the discipline’s best practices and proper remarketing etiquette. The first rule is to be respectful in when and how you send remarketing communications.

When speaking to remarketing emails, merchants should be quick about reaching out; contacting a customer within an hour of the trigger is best. However, consumers may not see the email or take the desired action. In this instance, more is not better. Do not bombard the customer with reminder emails. Also, anything beyond three days will likely deter consumers.

Woman reading emailAdditionally, remarketing emails should be precise and personalized as personalization increases conversion rates by upwards of 10 percent. Beyond a customized touch, merchants should offer consumers assistance from a live, monitored email address alongside an incentivizing offer. The exclusion of these elements might come off as mere peddling.

Finally, after several days or when the consumer takes the desired action, be sure to stop reaching out them with the current sequence of targeting emails.

As always, be sure that the emails are optimized for mobile devices as the small screen continues to be an increasingly profitable portal for eCommerce businesses.

While email remarketing and ad retargeting seek to serve similar goals, it is important to remember that the best practices for each are not so analogous.

Ad Retargeting Best Practices

When it comes to retargeting etiquette, the frequency of these ads is much different. These ads can be served up immediately like remarketing emails would, and they can send reminders to consumers more times than emails. However, a frequency cap should be implemented at roughly 15 to 20 times per month to keep from being a nuisance.

Also like remarketing, merchants should discontinue retargeting ads for consumers that convert; otherwise, a brand could be perceived in a negative light.

Segment audience

To ensure that retargeting ads are effective as possible, retailers should segment targeted audiences by placing different pixels on various pages and tailoring creatives based on the type and depth of engagement of each user. This tactic makes ads much more personal for consumers.

With these retargeting-specific guidelines aside, merchants should follow standard PPC optimization strategies and best practices.

Armed with this understanding, it’s time to explore setting up retargeting and remarketing campaigns.

How to Get Started with Email Remarketing and Ad Retargeting

Email remarketing leverages information that a brand has about its customers and the behaviors they take on-site. The way this information is obtained is through a browser cookie. This is the same type of file that Amazon employs to keep items in a customer’s shopping cart after they’ve left the site without making a purchase.

There are numerous lead generation tools like OptinMonster that enable retailers to leave cookies on a visitor’s computer to track the pages they visit, which products they view and other information necessary for remarketing purposes. Using this data, merchants can reach out to visitors with personalized remarketing emails.

With data in hand, retailers should segment their audiences, personalize each campaign and follow the best practices outlined above.

Alternatively, when speaking to ad retargeting campaigns, eCommerce merchants will be required to install a pixel, which can be obtained from their Google Ads account. Furthermore, retailers can use the data acquired from this pixel for their email campaigns; however, using a dedicated tool such as OptinMonster can help streamline things for those new to the discipline.

To obtain this bit of code, retailers simply need to log into their Google Ads account and navigate to the wrench icon labeled “Tools” in the top-right corner of the page. Then, click “Audience Manager.”

audience manager

On the left-hand side of the screen, click “Audience Sources.” If this is a merchant’s first time going through this process, they will be met with a Google Ads Tag walk-through with a blue link that reads, “Set Up Tag.” After clicking this, retailers will be given two options:

  • Collect standard data available from this data source
  • Collect specific attributes or parameters to personalize ads

Click the standard data option and then click “Save and Continue.”

Next, Google will provide users with the global site tag. Copy the tag and paste this information in between the header tags of every page of your website. Now, click “Continue.” Finally, click “Done.”

From here, retailers are ready to begin setting up retargeting campaigns based on the data collected by this pixel.

Given that the majority of site visitors will leave before making a purchase, digital merchants must become well-versed in the tactics that lead consumers back to their websites.

Retargeting and remarketing are essential strategies for increasing the conversion rates for your eCommerce store. By employing these two disciplines, retailers can effectively recapture a significant number of potential customers, thereby increasing their site’s traffic and bottom line.

Learn to integrate these techniques into your brand’s marketing strategy to build a more prosperous presence online.

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