Retarget Practice

Published: March 22, 2016

Torey Azure


If you run a small business there is one avenue for marketing that is an absolute must for staying in front of people that matter – and by matter I mean likely to engage with your product or service.

The best litmus test, from a web-based perspective, for knowing if someone is likely to purchase from your business is whether or not they have visited your website and poked around a bit. Time spent on your website – and clicks through to various pages of content – is the real world equivalent of trying on jeans at a clothing store. There is empirical evidence of interest, yet the desired action of making an actual purchase is not performed for one reason or another. In web parlance we call this a conversion. Simply put, a conversion equals the cha-ching of a sale. So, how can we get more of that mellifluous cha-chinging to happen from our websites? One answer to this modern dilemma is to begin retargeting to potential customers, clients or patients with ads served up across the web.

So, here’s how it works: let’s imagine that someone runs a bicycle shop and a visitor to their website checks out a couple ten speed bikes – two different brands of bike but both ten-speed pedaling machines. A good retargeting campaign has built-in technology that allows for invaluable insight into this website’s bicycle-visitor interaction. A cookie left on the visitor’s browser will tell a retargeting platform that they should serve up a particular ad, featuring a specific product or service to that visitor.


Be sure to disseminate ads featuring the bicycle on the left (one that the visitor to the site actually looked at) rather than the one on the right (a fixed gear bike that may have been on the homepage but the visitor did not click through to insepct further), in the picture above.  This bicycle shop doesn’t want to serve up ads for, say, a tricycle to this particular visitor because they showed no interest in purchasing this type of pedaling device. Nor, really, would you want to serve ads for a Fixie, BMX or any other type of bicycle. This visitor revealed their intention based on the habits of their search on the bicycle website. Furthermore, a cookie from the homepage (featuring a general ad or incorrect bike) would be wiped out when the visitor starts searching and basic traits are identified within the search criteria. A well-strategized retargeting plan will have the correct formula in place to recognize this search intent.


A marketing or sales person then would want to be sure and clearly define the elements of a retargeting campaign. How many products or services do we want to tout to those who visit our website and don’t complete a desired action. Honestly, you can do 100’s of these actions and ads (think Amazon) but for small business you probably want to pick a handful of specific products and probably one general ad that is attached to the homepage of your site.

In summation, I’d like to highlight some of the features and benefits of retargeting.

  • It’s great for staying in front of relevant, high-intent visitors to your site. Obviously, these campaigns don’t create new visitors but they are high ROI marketing investments in that they look to close on a sale.
  • You can demarcate specific content on your website and make sure that people are being served information that is highly-relevant to them based on their behaviors and interactions on your site.
  • The ROI is quite high for these digital campaigns because impressions are, well, very targeted. You are also maintaining a very cost-efficient branding campaign with these visitors to your site.

When it comes to creating a retargeting campaign for your small business just remember that it’s all in the strategy and creative. Be sure to maintain and build on your brand while serving up the most effective and relevant ads that you can, while sticking to your desired budget. In closing, a retargeting campaign should always coexist with other marketing and advertising endeavors. It is imperative that you don’t put all your eggs into one basket. Unless, of course, it’s an annual Hanford-area Easter egg hunt wherein that is the rule. Do they still have those?


Our next marketing blog will look into other modern, as well as vintage, marketing campaigns that pair well with retargeting, so that you deploy those marketing eggs effectively. With that metaphor extended as far as possible, Happy Easter Everyone!

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