6 Steps to Optimize Your Retargeting Campaign
 By Aaron Bell, CEO & co-founder, AdRoll

Retargeting advertising is quickly gaining traction in the world of online marketing, and with good reason. Businesses that employ this technique see a noticeable increase in CTR (Click Through Rate) while also realizing a significant cost savings. In fact, recent analysis has shown that the average CPM (Cost Per Thousand impressions) is actually lower for retargeting campaigns than traditional display advertising. And, it’s the perfect complement to successful PPC and SEO campaigns, because retargeting encourages repeat visits from the traffic that these other methods generate.

Maybe you’ve kicked around the idea of adding this technique to your current strategy. Perhaps you’ve already jumped on the retargeting band wagon and launched your own campaign. Either way, there are a few important tools you should be aware of in order to best optimize your plan and achieve a positive ROI.

Tip #1: Serve up product specific ads. Retargeting gives you the unique opportunity of being able to see exactly what products your visitors have shown an interest in, so take advantage of this by creating dynamic product specific ads to draw them back in and close the deal. A “window shopper” is much more likely to come back and buy from you if they are shown ads and promotions for the very products they are interested in while they interact on the Web. In fact, retargeting has been shown to perform at least 2x better on CTR than traditional display, so use this to your advantage.

Tip #2: Utilize your frequency caps. The whole purpose of retargeting advertising is to compel potential customers to come back and buy from you. That being said, if you’re not careful and you overdo it with ad placement, you could actually end up doing just the opposite, and turning them off completely. By setting frequency caps on how often your ads appear, you can avoid this and make your campaign much more effective. For example, try placing a default limit of two ads per day to start, and see how that performs. Better yet, play around with different segments, setting the first at one ad per day, and the second at four ads per day. Measure performance and adjust accordingly to see which brings you the best ROI.

Tip #3: Segment your audience. This advanced retargeting technique allows you to group your visitors based on where they went on your site or what actions they performed. Once you’ve outlined the segments you’d like to target, you can deliver hyper-relevant ad content to your visitors after they’ve left your site, offering product specific promotions, and keeping your brand on their minds. Let’s say you sell different lines of clothing for men and women. You can segment each based on which URL was visited, and market more specifically to that demographic.

Tip #4: Create unique retargeted landing pages. Now that you know more about the visitors who are clicking on your retargeted ads, you can create specific landing pages that are optimized for conversion. Adding customized messages, such as “welcome back,” or “glad to see you again,” give these landing pages a more personal feel, and allow you to have a little fun.

Tip #5: Consider your pixel placement. Rather than placing a pixel to capture site-wide information, consider focusing on only certain pages. For instance, consider strategically placing a pixel on the next-to-last page of your checkout process to target visitors that have placed items in their cart, but abandoned before completing the purchase. This allows you to hone in on prospects who exhibit a high intent to buy, thereby increasing your chances of conversion. And, don't worry—you don't need to be a webmaster to set this up. Just be sure to work with a service provider who only requires you to place one pixel; that should be all you need to do to segment your site.

Tip #6: Filter your conversions. In most cases, once you’ve convinced a potential customer to convert, it’s no longer necessary to continue advertising to them. By adding a conversion URL, you can filter out your converted visitors so they are no longer targeted by your campaign.

Bonus Tip: One important tip—make sure you work with someone that gives you site level detail, as well as detail into pricing. The site level detail can also be valuable in your other marketing campaigns, and the transparency into pricing ensures you are optimizing your campaign, and not being charged for things you shouldn't be.

Experiment, experiment, experiment.
Retargeting is a highly effective technique that can do wonders for your bottom line, while helping to build valuable brand recognition. If you’re planning on launching your own campaign, or have already added this technique to your existing online marketing strategy, be sure you’re utilizing all the tools available, such as those listed above, to best optimize your plan and ensure you’re achieving maximum results.

And, remember to always be looking ahead. While following all of these points should help you create a great retargeting campaign, there are new refinements and techniques that can help you maximize your ROI appearing every day. Be sure your retargeting solution provider keeps you informed of innovations that can help to ensure your campaigns are constantly improving.

---Source: OMC Sept. 17, 2010 newsletter ( Aaron Bell is the CEO and co-founder of AdRoll. Follow him on Twitter @AdRoll.

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