Digital Retargeting: How to Reach Leads That Didn’t Convert Initially

Digital retargeting

Approximately 80% of visitors aren’t sales-ready. It’s as simple as that. That’s why having a solid game plan in place for nurturing this segment of prospects is so important. You simply can’t expect everyone to convert right off the bat. HubSpot mentions that it takes eight touchpoints, on average, to make a conversion. 

There are a lot of ways to reach leads that didn’t convert initially, but one of the most potent is digital retargeting which “beats all other ad placement strategies with a 1,046% efficiency rate.” 

For this post, we’ll provide a detailed overview of digital retargeting and break down specific strategies to cash in on the highest possible percentage of leads. 

What Exactly is Digital Retargeting?

This practice uses cookie-based technology where you place a simple piece of code on your website to “follow” visitors after they leave your site and navigate other areas of the internet. From there, you can display targeted ads based on the specific products or services they showed interest in. 

“Every time a new visitor comes to your site, the code drops an anonymous browser cookie,” explains Retargeter. “Later, when your cookied visitors browse the web, the cookie will let your retargeting provide know when to serve ads, ensuring that your ads are served to only people who have previously visited your site.” So, if a prospect doesn’t convert initially, as many won’t, digital retargeting allows you to get back on their radar to set the stage for re-engagement, thus increasing your chances of ultimately making a conversion. 

This graphic illustrates how the process works step-by-step. 

Digital retargeting

An Example

Say someone was looking for equipment management software, a SaaS product to help them streamline the equipment management process, create more efficient workflows, and gather insightful data. They start their search in Google by entering “equipment management software.”

Digital retargeting

After browsing through the results, they click on ManagerPlus, “manufacturing equipment management software that helps you take control of your assets and get out in front of your maintenance schedule.” 

Digital retargeting

The visitor explores the ManagerPlus website and specifically checks out the enterprise asset management page where they learn how this software can help increase their ROI to become more profitable. 

Digital retargeting

However, the visitor is only doing some initial research to gather information and isn’t ready to buy right away. So after learning a bit about ManagerPlus, the products they offer, key features, and so on, the visitor leaves. 

Under normal circumstances – for example, if ManagerPlus hadn’t acquired the visitor’s email address – that would probably be the end of it. No sale, no new customer. But with digital retargeting, the company can get relevant ads in front of the visitor on other platforms like search, social, and other websites they visit. 

Say, for instance, the visitor that didn’t convert is scrolling through their Facebook feed later that day and sees this retargeted ad from ManagerPlus. 

Digital retargeting

It reaffirms their value proposition and is specifically geared around the content the visitor was looking at earlier. Just like that, ManagerPlus is back on their radar, which can result in the visitor returning to their website for another valuable touchpoint and potentially a sale. 

Why Retargeting is So Effective

There are two main reasons why this marketing strategy works so well. First, people are far more likely to notice and consider retargeted ads featuring a product or service they’ve already viewed vs. one they’ve never seen. In our digital marketing age, users have become increasingly adept at ignoring ads where many essentially become “white noise” that hardly anyone notices. Research indicates, however, that users notice retargeted ads much more frequently at 65%.

Also, you’re spending your advertising budget on prospects that have already expressed interest in your brand. They already have some degree of familiarity with your product or service, and whenever they click on an ad, their odds of converting are much higher than someone who’s finding your brand for the first time. In fact, studies have found that digital retargeting increases online sales by 20%

So to recap, users are far more likely to engage with retargeted ads than generic ads, and they’re also more likely to make a purchase. 

Specific Digital Retargeting Strategies

Although digital retargeting can be insanely effective, like most other marketing channels, you still need to execute the right strategies to extract its full potential. Haphazardly slapping a retargeting campaign together can lead to underwhelming results and quickly burn through your budget. 

Hands down, the biggest mistake marketers make is casting too wide of a net and retargeting every single visitor who lands on their site. Say, for example, you only create one generic ad and serve it to everyone who’s visited your site in the last 90 days. The results will likely be minimal (and costly). 

So the first strategy is to target users based on specific actions. Typically, the easiest way to do this is to target visitors by the URLs they visit. In our example earlier, the visitor checked out ManagerPlus’ enterprise asset management page. They didn’t, however, check out other products like mobile applications, vendor management, and preventative maintenance. From their session behavior, it was clear that the visitor’s interest was specifically geared toward enterprise asset management and nothing else. 

Here’s a refresher. 

Digital retargeting

In turn, the visitor was served a hyper-relevant ad in their Facebook feed that focused on enterprise asset management software. 

Digital retargeting

That’s what allowed the company to A) capture the attention of the visitor and B) dramatically increase their chances of re-engagement and conversion. Remember, if they’d served up a generic ad about ManagerPlus geared toward the masses, you can bet that their conversions would be way lower. 

The second strategy is to optimize the timing of your retargeted ads. For instance, a visitor who sees an ad a few days after engaging with your site would probably be more likely to click on it and seriously consider purchasing than someone who sees an ad 90 days after visiting your site. That’s because it’s still fresh on their mind, whereas someone who hasn’t been on your site in 90 days may have totally forgotten about you. 

Ideally, you want to strike while the iron is hot and not wait too long to display retargeted ads. That said, you also don’t want to do it too quickly because showing ads right after a visitor leaves your site can be annoying and leave a negative impression. This is especially true if they only visited your site for a few seconds and bounced, showing no serious interest. 

Finally, digital retargeting tends to be most effective when it’s used in conjunction with a larger inbound marketing strategy. As we mentioned before, creating hyper-specific ads is an important part of maximizing conversions. Building a robust library of content of blog posts, case studies, eBooks, and so on, allows you to subsequently create highly targeted ads based on the content visitors view. So, if someone looked at a case study featuring a particular product, that would be the product you would want to target in your ad. 

Partnering with a Professional Inbound Marketing Agency 

Many businesses now understand the benefit of working with a professional partner that knows the ropes of digital retargeting and inbound marketing strategies. Here at 3.7 Designs, we help clients focus on building a comprehensive strategy that provides value to their target audience. If you’re looking for direction on digital retargeting and inbound marketing in general, feel free to reach out to us.