Digital marketing is a fast paced field. Even if new marketing technologies tend to be slowly adopted (think marketing automation, programmatic ad buying), digital marketing concepts and tactics spread easily.
If you need proof, think how fast viewability became one of the buzzwords for 2015 advertising predictions after Google dropped the bomb that only 54% of online ad impressions are viewable.
Even if retargeting has been around for some while, the concept has changed, grown and adapted to fit many tactics. If you don’t want to appear silly, read on and get acquainted with all the available retargeting forms.
Retargeting was first introduced by Google in March 2010. Since then, Google has grown and adapted the tools it offers marketers.
Facebook joined the party in December 2012 when they launched FBX – the platform that allows advertisers to use third party data to target users on Facebook inventory. Thus social retargeting emerged and Twitter followed in on the trend in 2014.
Ok, so why the short history lesson? That’s how site, social and search retargeting emerged. Let’s take a look at all the different types of retargeting and what they stand for.
1. Site retargeting
This is the one that started it all. Site retargeting is the process of showing ads to people who have visited your site, but left without converting. This is the broadest definition of retargeting because it doesn’t take into consideration the inventory where the ads are displayed.
It simply refers to the process of using data to bring your visitor back to reduce shopping cart abandonment, increase conversions and drive brand awareness.
2. Email/CRM retargeting
Even if email alone is a very strong driver of sales ($44 ROI for every dollar invested) and a very popular channel among marketers (according to a Forbes study, 67% of marketers say that it is key for attracting and engaging prospects), there is plenty of room for improvement. Enter: email retargeting.
Email retargeting allowed you to show ads to users or subscribers who have opened your emails. It worked like traditional site retargeting. When an user opens the email, a cookie is stored in his browser. Using that cookie, the user is identified when he browses other websites or social networks and sees your ad.
However, email retargeting stopped being a viable solution once Google changed the way it display images. Because Google caches images, the retargeting pixel can’t be dropped into the users’ browser. Without that, you can’t build lists of users to show ads to.
The alternative all previous email retargeting providers adopted is CRM retargeting. With CRM retargeting, you can show ads to users based on their email address. All you need to do is upload the email address list to your retargeting provider. They do the hard work of matching the data you provide with data from other online/offline CRM to identify the user and show him your ads. Automatically, of course.
This type of retargeting is similar to Facebook custom audiences. With custom audiences, you need to upload a list of emails, phone numbers or users ids. Facebook does the matching, identifies the users and shows them your ads.
With CRM retargeting, the success rate depends on the match settings you select when you upload your data. Also, if you want to run this type of retargeting, you need to choose a company that provides this service such as Ad Roll or Perfect Audience.
3. Social/Social media retargeting (Facebook and Twitter)
Social/ social media retargeting is displaying ads on social networks to, you’ve guessed it – people who visited your site without converting.
While the name encompasses both platforms (Twitter, Facebook – Linkedin, at the time of writing, does not allow retargeting), it does not imply that you’re running ads on both platforms. You could be running retargeting ads only on Facebook or only on Twitter for instance. However, it’s good to know the term – you never know when you might need it.
What’s different between site retargeting and social media retargeting? Like we mentioned earlier, site retargeting only mentions the process, it doesn’t say anything about the channel. Before the Facebook Exchange, the default channel for retargeting ads were banner ads displayed on websites. With social media retargeting, you’re specific about where you’re having your ads shown.
4. Remarketing lists for search ads
While the other types or retargeting are available from multiple companies, remarketing lists for search ads are available only in Google Adwords. With it, you can use your current remarketing lists and reach site visitors when they go back to Google to make a search. Instead of showing banner ads, you show your users classic search text ads.
Because there’s been less talk about it, remarketing lists for search ads is not as popular as other types of remarketing. Like with social, still, it’s good to know the term and what it actually refers to.
Remarketing lists for search ads sometimes gets confused with search retargeting because they both use “search” and “retargeting”. However, they couldn’t be more different. Remarketing lists for search ads allows you to show search engine text ads to users who have been to your site. Search retargeting allows you to show banners and Facebook ads to people who have never visited your site, but have searched for relevant keywords and phrases, more on it belo
5. Search retargeting
Even if it contains the word “retargeting”, search retargeting is very different from the other types mentioned. While all the others are ways of getting users that you have somehow came in contact with (either they visited or subscribed to your website), search retargeting allows you to reach highly potential, entirely new customers for your business.
Search retargeting allows you to show your ads to users who have previously searched for keywords that are related to your business, but have never visited your website. For instance, if you have an online shoe store, your ad could appear to users who have searched for “high-heeled shoes” or “Red shoes”.
Search retargeting is a great way to reach users beyond their initial search. Because it targets recent interest, it’s also highly effective. Ads can be displayed both on Facebook and the web.
Now, back to you. Are there any other types of retargeting that you know about? What else would you want to know about each type?