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Blogs by Madeleine Helme

Madeleine Helme

| 5 min read

Remarketing, what is it and how does it work?

By Madeleine Helme

Remarketing, what is it and how does it work?
What is remarketing and how does it work?

Digital display ads can be an effective way of getting your brand seen across the web as well as potentially attracting customers to buy from you. However, this kind of advertising often misses the mark. When we’re constantly bombarded by banners and pop-up ads that aren’t at all relevant to us, we start to develop what’s known as ‘banner blindness’.

Banner ads are at their best when they’re tailored to the user. If someone sees an ad for something they’re interested in and have considered buying before, then they’re more likely to pay attention and even click on the ad. This is where remarketing comes in.

What is remarketing?

Remarketing, or retargeting, is a form of personalised digital advertising. It involves showing tailored ads to people who have visited your website already. They may have taken a specific action, such as browsing your products or adding something to their cart. These ads will be shown to users when they are visiting other websites. Although display ads are the most common form of remarketing, it can take other forms like video or search ads.

Say, for example, that someone visited your e-commerce site and added a TV to their shopping cart but didn’t complete the purchase. You can assume that this customer is still considering buying a TV. But something has stopped them from making up their mind. If they see display ads featuring that TV over the next few days, and perhaps related products, then they are more likely to return to your site and, hopefully, convert.

The idea is that this customer is a more qualified lead because they have already shown an interest in purchasing from your site. This makes them more likely to convert as a result of seeing ads tailored to them. Remarketing can, therefore, be an extremely successful and cost-effective form of advertising.

How does it work?

If you go online regularly, then the websites you visit will definitely have asked you to approve the use of cookies. Cookies are small text files that websites store in your web browser. Each website you visit sends a cookie file to your browser to track your activity on that site, as long as you don’t reject the use of cookies on a site.

Cookies are essential to the remarketing process. The other thing you’ll need is an online advertising platform, such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads. The process is pretty straightforward. Here are the basic steps you need to take to start remarketing for your website…

Remarketing step-by-step

1. Create an account on your chosen advertising platform (e.g. Google Ads) or login to an existing account.

2. On this platform, you should find a snippet of code to add to your website’s code so that you can retarget visitors to your site. You should add this code to each page of your website on which you want to track activity. If you’re unsure how to work with your website’s code, then we can help you with this. You should also make sure that your website correctly follows GDPR guidelines to inform visitors of these cookies.

3. Next, you’ll need to create a remarketing list. On Google Ads, you can do this by going to the Audience Manager and creating an audience list for website visitors. You can create a list made up of all your website visitors, or you can set rules to create a more targeted list. For example, a list of users who visited a certain page or who added an item to their cart. There are lots of options for targeting and segmenting your audience.

4. Using the code added to your website, users that meet the target parameters will automatically join your remarketing list. This occurs using their unique cookie ID. Your list must contain a certain number of users before the network will display your ad. On the Google Display Network, this number is 100 users within 30 days.

5. Now it’s time to design the creative for your ad. Carefully choose the images and text for your ad to target your audience as effectively as possible. If you have a large enough list to market to, then it’s also a good idea to create variations of your ad to perform A/B testing with. This can help you optimise your remarketing and achieve the best results.

And with all of that, you’re ready to start remarketing to your website visitors – as soon as you’ve collected enough users in your remarketing list.

Remarketing examples to inspire your campaigns

It helps to see real-life examples of how businesses use remarketing to entice users back to their website. Here are a few examples from the big brands…

Nike remarketing advert with suggested trainers to grab your attention ;-)
Nike remarketing advert with suggested trainers to grab your attention 😉

Nike displayed this banner ad to users who had browsed running shoes on their website. The creative is clear and simple, showing a series of suggested products for the user and giving a clear call to action for them to follow if they’re interested. The brand knows that the user has an interest in these or similar products, making this a clever strategy.

Spotify uses remarketing to entice you from free to premium
Spotify uses remarketing to entice you from free to premium

Spotify also uses remarketing to encourage free users to upgrade to Spotify Premium. In this case, the brand uses a special offer to entice users to try out Premium for free. Spotify may target this ad to all free users or specifically to users who have visited their website for information about Premium membership. This ad creates a sense of urgency to encourage users to upgrade before the offer expires. It also eliminates the price barrier for users who considered upgrading but thought it was too expensive.

HubSpot uses remarketing with clever wording to grab your attention
HubSpot uses remarketing with clever wording to grab your attention

If someone has visited your website but not converted, then there may be a specific problem or hurdle that’s stopping them. The above Facebook ad from HubSpot uses its copy to appeal to the user’s pain points while debunking objections they may have about investing in CRM software. The user may have abandoned the website because they thought setting up a CRM would be too complicated or not worth the effort. HubSpot has done their research into their audiences’ main sales objections and created an ad to specifically combat these objections.

Pay attention to the ads you see while you’re browsing online. You’re likely to see lots of examples of remarketing in action. If you need help setting up remarketing for your brand and managing your campaigns, then contact Vitty for our support.