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How Does Remarketing Work?

If you have a business that sells products and services online, you will notice that lots of web users visit your site… and then leave without making a purchase. But that doesn’t mean these lost web visitors can’t be turned into customers.

If they have already visited your site, this indicates that not only are they familiar with your brand, but they’re actually interested in your product or service. All you have to do now is give them the nudge they need to come back and make a purchase. And remarketing is an effective way to do this.

What Is Remarketing?

Have you ever been browsing a website and then decided you’re not quite ready to make a purchase, only to have the website appear when you’re browsing online the very next day? Yup. That’s a perfect example of remarketing.

Also known as retargeting, remarketing is a digital marketing technique that uses simple tracking codes to display relevant visual or text ads to web users that have previously visited your website.

The ads will appear on other websites, including social media platforms. They aim to remind the user of your products and services, whilst encouraging them to return to your website (and hopefully complete the purchase!).

Google Ads is the most popular retargeting advertisement platform. But remarketing can also be done using Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads and Instagram ads.

Marketers in a wide range of industries use remarketing as a valuable tool and an important part of their marketing strategy to reconnect with customers, increase sales and boost customer loyalty. The important question is, how does remarketing work and how can you get started?

How Does Remarketing Work?

To explain how remarketing works, we’re going to focus on remarketing using Google Ads, as this is one of the most popular platforms for successful retargeting.

Retargeting ads work by placing a small tracking code on your website when a new visitor lands on your site and uses this code to track the user’s ‘cookies’. Every person’s browser will have cookies, which are small files that automatically store the person’s preferences and other information.

The tracking code then takes this cookie information and ads it to a remarketing list created by you. Once the new user leaves your website, the cookies will notify Google ads, which will then display relevant ads on other websites as the user browses them.

If your website already has a Google Analytics tag, this can be used instead of adding a Google Ads retargeting code. Before starting with retargeting ads, you first set the rules for when users should be added to your retargeting list. You also determine how long a user’s cookie information should remain on your retargeting list.

By setting these preferences, you can target only those who are still interested in your product.

How does remarketing work image courtesy of WordStream
Image Source: WordStream

Types Of Retargeting Ads

There are two main types of retargeting ads; pixel-based retargeting ads and list-based retargeting ads. Pixel-based ads are the most popular, as they allow Google to display ads to a website user once they leave your website even if they don’t provide contact information.

Whereas list-based retargeting ads are based on contact information already collected. More often than not, list-based ads will use a list of email addresses, either provided by you or collected via your website as an ‘ad audience’.

Pixel-based ads are great as they create specific ads tailored based on the pages the web visitor spent the most time on. For example, if a new user visiting a fashion e-commerce website spent a lot of time looking at men’s shirts, the pixel-based ads would create and display ads on other websites advertising men’s shirts.

The only downside to pixel-based ads is the time it takes to add the code to implement the code on your website. Creating specific ads can be time-consuming, but this technique is worth it in the long run.

List-based ads are also great as they allow your business to create customised and controlled ads for a specific audience based on their online behaviour traits. It is particularly beneficial for businesses that have a small budget and it offers an excellent opportunity to increase conversions.

However, much like pixel-based ads, list-based retargeting ads can also be very time-intensive.

Find out more about remarketing with Google Ads in this Google Guide.

Identifying Your Remarketing Goals

Before you begin remarketing, you must first understand what it is you want to achieve. According to digital marketing guru Neil Patel, there are three kinds of remarketing campaigns based on three different goals;

  1. The first type of remarketing campaign is aimed at web visitors who left your site before completing a certain action, such as opting into a mailing list or downloading a brochure. The goal of these campaigns is to generate a lead from these visitors.
  2. The second type of remarketing campaign is aimed at web visitors who almost completed a purchase but left within the checkout process. These campaigns aim to remind web users of the products in the cart they abandoned and encourage them to complete the purchase.
  3. And the third popular type of remarketing campaign is designed to redirect past web visitors to a specific landing page they have not yet seen, but you’d like them to. The goal of these campaigns is to promote specific pages on your website and increase traffic to these pages.

To get the most out of your remarketing campaigns, you should know exactly what type of action you want web visitors to take.

Find out more about getting started with your remarketing campaigns in this Neil Patel guide.

Need Help With Your Digital Marketing?

We hope we’ve answered your question; ‘how does remarketing work?’! Need help with your ads, campaigns or overall digital marketing strategy? Get in touch with Ad Lens Digital. We are a digital marketing agency offering a wide range of services that can be tailored to the needs and budget of your business.

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