How Does Retargeting Work? - Definition & Types

Instructor: Danielle Reed

Danielle works in digital marketing and advertising. She holds a bachelor's degree in English and an MBA.

Retargeting is a growing field of digital marketing. Retargeting is a form of online advertising targeted to consumers based on previous internet actions. Learn about the different forms of retargeting in this lesson.

Ad Retargeting for a Business

Digital marketing is known for being a fast-paced field. Retargeting is the perfect example of this. Retargeting was first introduced in March 2010 by Google and is now offered on Facebook, Instagram, and other sites. Retargeting is a form of online advertising targeted to consumers based on previous internet actions. Did you know only 2% of visitors take action on their first visit to a website? Retargeting is a proven way to get site traffic to return to a site and make a purchase.

Ad retargeting is a growing world of internet marketing. Learn more about this field to stay updated on every type of retargeting as it comes about.

Types of Retargeting

There are several types of retargeting used online. When engaging with brands online, it is possible for a user to experience several types of retargeting. From visits to a website to clicks on search engine ads, online users regularly get retargeted. According to PPC Mode, a pay-per-click business with more than 100,000 customers, companies engage in this activity primarily because the return on investment is from 30 to 50%. Aside from revenue, other purposes of retargeting include:

Brand Awareness

Converting Visitors into Prospects with a Landing Page Form

Reaching Interested Prospects

Gaining Insights About Users

Improving Cost Effectiveness of Ads

Site Retargeting

You've definitely seen ad retargeting on the side of your Facebook feed if you have an account. If you visit a site and leave something in your cart, or even click an item, an ad for that item will 'follow' you to Facebook. This is an example of site retargeting. Site retargeting is the process of showing ads to people that have visited a site and left without making a purchase. Keep an eye out for these ads next time you go to your favorite social network!

Site retargeting is possible to do based on a series of factors associated with the user visiting the website. Companies break down their traffic with retargeting factors like:

  • Buyer Persona: Breaking down site visitors by demographic information such as age, gender, and occupation.
  • Segmenting Visitors: Breaking down site visitors into categories based on the pages they visited on the site. For example, customers only making it to the home page/informational page would get a different ad than those visiting specific product pages.

Site retargeting is quite common. Users see site retargeting results on social media sites, other websites, search engines, and more. These ads 'follow' a consumer around the internet until the consumer notices the ad, remembers the brand, and goes back to the site.

Search Retargeting

Search retargeting displays advertisements to users previously searching for keywords similar to the content of a website. For example, if a user is searching for hotels in North Carolina, on his or her next search, advertisements for specific hotels in that area will show up in search engine ads.

Search retargeting occurs based on words entered into a search engine. This is different than site retargeting because site retargeting occurs after a visit to a site has occurred.

Closely related to search retargeting is SEO retargeting. SEO, or search engine optimization, retargeting is like search retargeting because it tracks which words the users searched before landing on a site. These terms are now associated with the user and his or her behavior is tracked. For example, if a user shows up on your site after searching for hotels in North Carolina and visits a page about amenities and room size, the behavior is recorded. An ad focusing on the specific amenities of your hotel shows up on a user's computer during an internet search.

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