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Targeted Offers - Capture the Low Hanging Fruit

by Fritz Brumder | 04.16.14

Remarketing and retargeting strategies are being used more and more by adept e-commerce retailers. Even people who aren't familiar with the terms have become accustomed to seeing ads that are consistent with their recent searches or purchases. Remarketing ads allow businesses to put offers in front of people who have previously demonstrated an interest in the subject or search term.

Types of Remarketing and Retargeting

Any type of strategy that allows a business to target offers to customers, visitors or search engine users based on their past behavior falls under the categories of remarketing or retargeting. While most internet users already take this for granted, it's still a relatively new technique. In the last few years, however, it's become quite widespread.

One type of retargeting is used via Google and other search engines. This allows businesses to leverage the searching actions of internet users. If, for example, someone searches for a term such as "digital cameras," he or she is likely to see ads for digital cameras sold on sites such as Amazon. A similar version of retargeting occurs when a visitor lands on a certain website and then sees ads related to that site's content.

Remarketing uses the same basic principles, but this term usually refers to email campaigns. For example, many large retailers such as Amazon and Levi’s will encourage you to add more related items to your cart after you've made a purchase. To some extent, this is done while you're still on the website, as when Amazon immediately suggests related items as soon as you've done any kind of search. More aggressive remarketing, however, involves sending customers emails that encourage them to make more purchases. This is often done by offering them coupons or telling them about special promotions.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Retargeting and Remarketing

Retargeting and remarketing strategies can be beneficial for both companies and consumers. They allow businesses to put offers in front of people who have already shown an interest in similar products or services. Because they are targeting customers that have shown prior interest, the conversion rate on this group is higher. With retargeting, the process does not always work perfectly. For example, a person may be visiting a website on digital cameras in order to write a term paper on a technology company for college rather than because he or she is looking to buy a digital camera.

Web searches can be similarly ambiguous, as not everyone searching for something is planning to spend money. One way around this is for businesses to be more specific in their targeting, such as by only advertising to people who did a search for "buy digital cameras."

Remarketing has the potential danger of annoying customers if it's done too aggressively. For example, someone who has just made a purchase might not appreciate immediately getting a coupon to buy something else. For this reason, it's wise for businesses to use restraint and perhaps wait a few days before sending an email with such offers.

There is little doubt that both retargeting and remarketing are going to be used more and more in the future. The techniques for implementing these strategies are likely to get even more sophisticated, allowing businesses to avoid wasting money chasing the wrong prospects.

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