Retargeting or remarketing refers to any advertising approach that advertises to potential customers after they have had a first encounter with a business’ website.
Retargeting is made possible by introducing a tracking device called a “cookie” that assigns a unique ID to a visitor. This allows subsequent ads to be selected based on the visitor’s history.
You may have noticed this in Google’s display network, where sidebar ads often feature products based specifically on your browsing history.
The terminology differs somewhat from one platform to the next.
In Google’s Adwords retargeting is called “remarketing”. This is aimed specifically at the Google display network; visual adverts appearing in sideboards on websites rather than the (better known) Pay Per Click advertising which Google places at the top and bottom of the search results.
Facebook refers to it as remarketing but their cookie is called a Facebook pixel.
Why use retargeting?
If used sensitively, rather than making potential customers feel harassed, retargeting is a very powerful advertising tool that can enhance the shopping experience for the customer and ensure more effective ad spend for the client.
When a marketing team knows it’s talking to potential customers that are already familiar with a brand, it can better anticipate their needs, creating advertisements with a better potential for conversion.
As these customers have moved past the first stage of the buying cycle: awareness, the messaging can now be tailored to the second phase: research.
Rather than wasting precious space introducing the brand, a retargeting advertisement may, for example, provide more detailed information on a service.
Setting up any form of retargeting requires that a consent form be added to a website, asking a visitor to agree to any tracking. Read more about this on the EU’s page on cookie legislation.
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