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Using remarketing to reconnect with site visitors

The fourth article in our search PPC series.

If you’ve ever looked at a retail item on a website, and somehow started getting ads for that item while surfing around the web, you’ve witnessed remarketing at work.

In a nutshell, remarketing is a powerful tool to reconnect with people who’ve previously visited your website. Originally available only for display ad campaigns, remarketing is now widely used for search PPC campaigns as well.

Tapping into the power of the tracking cookie.

The enabling factor for retargeting is the tracking cookie. This is a small line of code you place on your website pages to track visitors and how they interact with your site. A tracking cookie can collect a wealth of information including which pages and items your visitors are viewing and when — along with technical info such as IP addresses and what devices and operating systems are being used.

When someone visits your site, it adds a tracking cookie to that visitor’s web browser. When the visitor moves on to other websites, the ad servers used by those sites detect the cookie — in order to show ads related to the previous referring site (yours). This cross-site tracking can also be expanded through the use of third-party trackers that aggregate cookies to serve relevant ads across a wider network of servers.

Creating ads specifically for visitors’ interests.

While retail sites provide the most straightforward example of how remarketing works — i.e. by enticing a site visitor to return for an item left in an abandoned e-commerce shopping cart — this re-engagement strategy can also pay substantial dividends for B2B marketers promoting industrial goods and business services.

For example, suppose a prospect has recently read a blogpost on your site. The information gathered by the tracking cookie can enable you to narrowcast a relevant PPC ad to that prospect. This could be used to promote a product/service related to the blogpost content. Or simply to entice the prospect to engage more deeply with your sales/marketing team.

Using dynamic remarketing for apps.

If your company employs device-based or online apps, strategic remarketing efforts can be driven by these as well. Particularly for companies with a substantial base of installs/subscribers, app-based remarketing offers an continuous way to ramp up and sustain engagement with an audience already onboard with a brand and its offerings. Examples include the way fast-food apps are targeting users at times when they’re most apt to order/visit — including saved menus from previous purchases — and how airline apps store airport codes and routes used by individual travelers to speed rebooking and promote special fares.

In view of the cost and effort it takes to get prospects to a website in the first place, the use of dynamic remarketing has quickly become a crucial tool for any digital marketer’s arsenal. Considering its value as a way to leverage website activity to increase sales and lead conversions — along with the continued expansion and refinement of available platforms — remarketing looks to become even more prevalent for both B2C and B2B marketers going forward.

Other articles in this series

Neptune Web is a full-service Boston-area interactive web and digital marketing agency with expertise in Website Design, Web Development, Digital Marketing Strategy and Execution.

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