How Retargeting Works On Facebook, Google Display Network, and Search

Content and Coffee Podcast

This week we explain how Google retargeting, Facebook retargeting, and Search retargeting works, and how you can utilize it for your business. You can listen to the full episode above or on Stitcher or iTunes.

So let's dive in.

Our blog post will cover several items that we mentioned in our podcast:

  • What is retargeting
  • Why you're going to need it
  • What are the main platforms
  • Should you even bother doing it
  • It is expensive

If you don’t have time to read our whole blog, we’ve attached TL;DR at the bottom that summarizes our key takeaways (though we recommend you stick around and read the whole thing).

What is Retargeting?

Retargeting is directing an advertisement or an advert online to someone when they’ve already viewed your website, content, product or service before. For example, if someone has recently viewed your website or landing page, retargeting would involve advertising your website again to that person. Or, if you’ve recently gone online window shopping but left items in your cart, retargeting would allow that business to show these items you’ve left behind a reminder that you once shown an interest in these items. 

The goal of retargeting is to solidify your decision in pursuing a product or service based on the fact that you’ve shown interest in it before.

A great article that explains Amazon retargeting: here

An example of Facebook retargeting: you can read another good article: here

Let's say you are currently running a pay per click campaign with Facebook ads, and you’ve set your target audience based on a set demographics and interests. Based on you’re settings, your Facebook ads are targeting females, age twenty-five to thirty with an interest in yoga.  

These are considered cold prospects because they have never seen your website or your yoga studios business before this ad. This process of advertising is called interest-based cold targeting.

When we talk about retargeting campaigns, you are not only targeting people based on their interests, or demographic but you're also targeting them based on past behaviour. What is the best way to predict future behaviour? Past behaviour.

So here’s how retargeting works for Facebook, Social Media, Google Display Network, and Search. Websites can run retargeting campaigns by installing a little piece of software called a cookie onto a visitor’s browser. This cookie allows different networks such as Facebook, Google Display Network, and Adwords (Search) to retarget those visitors with the specific information collected by the cookie when the visitor was browsing that website.

Why Should You Do Retargeting?

Research shows that this type of advertising is five times as effective as cold targeting.

To repeat, people are more likely to pick up on what you’re offering if there is a history that they’ve shown interest in it before. Retargeting doesn’t have to be the same website either. If you’ve shown interest in specific products, retargeting could potentially show you similar products but from different companies. As long as that cookie is attached to your potential customer's browser your advertisement can follow them around the web increasing your chance of a conversion.

Main Networks You Can Use For Retargeting Campaigns

Facebook, Instagram, and the other social media platforms.

Facebook and Instagram are similar because Facebook owns both companies. Your customers will simply be targeted through their Facebook feed with an ad based on the previous websites they’ve visited.

Google Display Network

The second network is GDN or the Google Display Network. This is your banner ads on websites so when you go to a website you'll often have a banner at the top or on the right hand or left-hand sidebar that's advertising a website, or product that you've previously visited.

Keep in mind that both Social and GDN are not always accurate with their retargeted ads either. For example, say you are business that sells yoga mats. Your customer is actively on websites that feature outdoor activities. The cookies dropped on their browser document this activity, and suddenly they are seeing ads through the Google Display Network showing your yoga mats. However, this customer could be actively looking at hiking gear, and not yoga equipment, but the ad is being shown to them there anyway because they were on websites looking at outdoor, and fitness equipment.

Search & Adwords

Let’s look at the yoga mat example again to talk about search. If someone has the cookie installed on their computer because they've recently been on your yoga e-commerce website when they go to Google and they search for something along the lines of “best yoga mat in Vancouver” a retargeting campaign will show your business at the top of the search page. 

What happens psychologically with retargeting is that the consumer is already primed with information regarding your business, or product when they see the ad again making them more likely to move forward with action. When they search for it in Google and it comes up as the first search, not only is the ad reinforcing their desire to purchase, but it is also increasing credibility, they are likely to think “wow that's funny this company I was already considering is also showing up first they must be very well established” which increases the chance that they're going to purchase.

Should I Do Retargeting?

Yes! It is 5x more effective than targeting cold leads and it is usually a low pay per click so it is a very effective marketing channel. Tying this back to content marketing, it is incredibly powerful for people who might read a blog post that solves one of their relevant problems they may face in their business.

They land on your blog, they read something interesting and if they don't take action right away if you have a retargeting setup your chances of a revisit are increased.

Is It Expensive?

How expensive are retargeting campaigns across Facebook, Google Display Network, and Search compared to other forms of digital marketing?

The answer depends on the industry, but for a small to medium size business, you can get a lot of results for $2 to $5 dollars a day. So pretty cheap! You can also alter the cost structure to be impression based or click-through based.

Using Ghostit as the example, if we sell a content marketing automation solution, clicks are less important to us than they would be for an e-commerce store. Being top of mind when the problem surfaces in a business matter more than eyeballs on the page because we are not an impulse based decision. Yoga mats or products can be impulse driven purchases.

The Key Takeaways (TL;DR)

The key takeaway is that you should start with retargeting and start now because it's a low hanging fruit. Retargeting has a huge ROI and it's something you should be doing. Take a look at this Shopify post on how they set up an effective retargeting campaign and increased their branded search by 1046% and got a 726% lift in site visitation after four weeks of retargeted ad exposure.

One misconception we see with a lot of business owners is they think that before they have to do these "advanced tactics" they should explore all other avenues first.  With some basic Facebook ads, blog posts and continue building out a social media presence, retargeting is a great add-on to get warm traffic coming back to your website.

In general with any sort of marketing strategy, starting with the highest return on investment items first is always a good plan of attack. With retargeting, setting up one simple retargeting ad one just one platform like Facebook, for example, will get you great results in a very short time.

To get more insights into retargeting listen to the full episode above!

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How Retargeting Works On Facebook, Google Display Network, and Search

How Retargeting Works On Facebook, Google Display Network, and Search

Author :

Stephanie Brown

This week we explain how Google retargeting, Facebook retargeting, and Search retargeting works, and how you can utilize it for your business. You can listen to the full episode above or on Stitcher or iTunes.

So let's dive in.

Our blog post will cover several items that we mentioned in our podcast:

  • What is retargeting
  • Why you're going to need it
  • What are the main platforms
  • Should you even bother doing it
  • It is expensive

If you don’t have time to read our whole blog, we’ve attached TL;DR at the bottom that summarizes our key takeaways (though we recommend you stick around and read the whole thing).

What is Retargeting?

Retargeting is directing an advertisement or an advert online to someone when they’ve already viewed your website, content, product or service before. For example, if someone has recently viewed your website or landing page, retargeting would involve advertising your website again to that person. Or, if you’ve recently gone online window shopping but left items in your cart, retargeting would allow that business to show these items you’ve left behind a reminder that you once shown an interest in these items. 

The goal of retargeting is to solidify your decision in pursuing a product or service based on the fact that you’ve shown interest in it before.

A great article that explains Amazon retargeting: here

An example of Facebook retargeting: you can read another good article: here

Let's say you are currently running a pay per click campaign with Facebook ads, and you’ve set your target audience based on a set demographics and interests. Based on you’re settings, your Facebook ads are targeting females, age twenty-five to thirty with an interest in yoga.  

These are considered cold prospects because they have never seen your website or your yoga studios business before this ad. This process of advertising is called interest-based cold targeting.

When we talk about retargeting campaigns, you are not only targeting people based on their interests, or demographic but you're also targeting them based on past behaviour. What is the best way to predict future behaviour? Past behaviour.

So here’s how retargeting works for Facebook, Social Media, Google Display Network, and Search. Websites can run retargeting campaigns by installing a little piece of software called a cookie onto a visitor’s browser. This cookie allows different networks such as Facebook, Google Display Network, and Adwords (Search) to retarget those visitors with the specific information collected by the cookie when the visitor was browsing that website.

Why Should You Do Retargeting?

Research shows that this type of advertising is five times as effective as cold targeting.

To repeat, people are more likely to pick up on what you’re offering if there is a history that they’ve shown interest in it before. Retargeting doesn’t have to be the same website either. If you’ve shown interest in specific products, retargeting could potentially show you similar products but from different companies. As long as that cookie is attached to your potential customer's browser your advertisement can follow them around the web increasing your chance of a conversion.

Main Networks You Can Use For Retargeting Campaigns

Facebook, Instagram, and the other social media platforms.

Facebook and Instagram are similar because Facebook owns both companies. Your customers will simply be targeted through their Facebook feed with an ad based on the previous websites they’ve visited.

Google Display Network

The second network is GDN or the Google Display Network. This is your banner ads on websites so when you go to a website you'll often have a banner at the top or on the right hand or left-hand sidebar that's advertising a website, or product that you've previously visited.

Keep in mind that both Social and GDN are not always accurate with their retargeted ads either. For example, say you are business that sells yoga mats. Your customer is actively on websites that feature outdoor activities. The cookies dropped on their browser document this activity, and suddenly they are seeing ads through the Google Display Network showing your yoga mats. However, this customer could be actively looking at hiking gear, and not yoga equipment, but the ad is being shown to them there anyway because they were on websites looking at outdoor, and fitness equipment.

Search & Adwords

Let’s look at the yoga mat example again to talk about search. If someone has the cookie installed on their computer because they've recently been on your yoga e-commerce website when they go to Google and they search for something along the lines of “best yoga mat in Vancouver” a retargeting campaign will show your business at the top of the search page. 

What happens psychologically with retargeting is that the consumer is already primed with information regarding your business, or product when they see the ad again making them more likely to move forward with action. When they search for it in Google and it comes up as the first search, not only is the ad reinforcing their desire to purchase, but it is also increasing credibility, they are likely to think “wow that's funny this company I was already considering is also showing up first they must be very well established” which increases the chance that they're going to purchase.

Should I Do Retargeting?

Yes! It is 5x more effective than targeting cold leads and it is usually a low pay per click so it is a very effective marketing channel. Tying this back to content marketing, it is incredibly powerful for people who might read a blog post that solves one of their relevant problems they may face in their business.

They land on your blog, they read something interesting and if they don't take action right away if you have a retargeting setup your chances of a revisit are increased.

Is It Expensive?

How expensive are retargeting campaigns across Facebook, Google Display Network, and Search compared to other forms of digital marketing?

The answer depends on the industry, but for a small to medium size business, you can get a lot of results for $2 to $5 dollars a day. So pretty cheap! You can also alter the cost structure to be impression based or click-through based.

Using Ghostit as the example, if we sell a content marketing automation solution, clicks are less important to us than they would be for an e-commerce store. Being top of mind when the problem surfaces in a business matter more than eyeballs on the page because we are not an impulse based decision. Yoga mats or products can be impulse driven purchases.

The Key Takeaways (TL;DR)

The key takeaway is that you should start with retargeting and start now because it's a low hanging fruit. Retargeting has a huge ROI and it's something you should be doing. Take a look at this Shopify post on how they set up an effective retargeting campaign and increased their branded search by 1046% and got a 726% lift in site visitation after four weeks of retargeted ad exposure.

One misconception we see with a lot of business owners is they think that before they have to do these "advanced tactics" they should explore all other avenues first.  With some basic Facebook ads, blog posts and continue building out a social media presence, retargeting is a great add-on to get warm traffic coming back to your website.

In general with any sort of marketing strategy, starting with the highest return on investment items first is always a good plan of attack. With retargeting, setting up one simple retargeting ad one just one platform like Facebook, for example, will get you great results in a very short time.

To get more insights into retargeting listen to the full episode above!

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