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Why Online Retargeting Programs Are Critical for Direct Response Marketers

Retargeting is one of those buzzwords that have been getting a lot of press over the last year. Done correctly, it can get a lot of online sales for direct response marketers, and maybe even turn a marginal campaign into a winner.

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Consumers can arrive at your website in one of three primary ways:

  • Direct URL – they see an infomercial or get a catalog and type in the URL.
  • Search – they look up your company name, product or service in their favorite engine.
  • Social – they come across a review or rating on a social networking site.

Regardless of how they get there, one of two things happen:

  • They take a desired action, such as making a purchase or requesting more information.
  • They do nothing and abandon the site.

Retargeting is an online reactivation process to address abandonments by reaching and enticing those consumers to come back and take an action. It enables you to communicate with relevant messages to consumers based on pages they’ve visited on your site.

How Retargeting Works

Using standard cookie technology, you first keep track of what pages visitors to your site accessed, after responding to some outside stimuli. You then place “tags” (markers) on specific pages that basically instructs your web platform to display a specific banner ad based on the pages a specific consumer visited.

Let’s say you’re selling a flat-screen TV. You have your IT people set up your system to display a special flat-screen TV offer to all consumers who have previously visited any page that shows flat-screen TVs, but did not buy.

Why Retargeting Works

According to Yahoo’s “Understanding the Synergy between Search and Display” (May 2011), the stats tell the story:
Adding targeted banner ads results in an average 16% increase in incremental sales. Adding banner ads with focused search results in a 60% increase in incremental sales. Advertisers who run display ads saw a 155% increase in search activity on selected keywords.

In short, display ads make search more effective and lead to more incremental sales when targeted banners are shown.
The reason retargeting works is that you’re showing a display ad, hopefully with a really enticing offer, to consumers who you know are interested in your product or service, and therefore are more likely to buy – it’s just a matter of finding the right offer/message to get them “over the hump” and turn them into buyers.

Retargeting Success Story

For our client Shark and its’ Navigator vacuum cleaner, we launched a remarketing program in February, 2011, and saw a 20% increases in conversions rates, year-over-year. For another product, the Ninja Master Food Prep, our retargeting efforts saw a 6% YOY lift. Now these numbers may not sound like a lot, but in this day and age, every sale counts, especially if you’re in a business with a strong back-end.

Retargeting Display Ads We Used for the Shark Navigator and the Ninja Master Food Prep

Why “Upsell Retargeting” Is Even More Powerful

We direct marketers clearly understand the importance of the upsell, and it’s fairly common practice to see one or more online upsells. But what we haven’t seen too often is what we call “Upsell Retargeting,” where a consumer who has purchased a product but not the upsell is presented an upsell offer sometime in the future. This is another way to pick up incremental revenue.


The good news is that both traditional retargeting and Upsell Retargeting cost very little to implement and both should be a basic staple on your web site(s).



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