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Audience Re-Targeting

How To Use Audience Re-Targeting as Part of Your Digital Display Advertising Strategy

Audience Re-Targeting can be a useful way to keep your message in front of potential customers who have expressed interest, but haven yet taken that next step toward engagement.

Website Visitors

The most common form of audience re-targeting is simply using Google Analytics to build an audience of website visitors and then target digital display advertising to that audience for a period of time after they’ve visited the website (usually determined by the length of your typical buying cycle). We recommend tracking three separate audiences in Google Analytics:

    • All Visitors
    • Visitors Who Became Active Leads
    • Visitors Who Bought On-Line

By removing people who bought, and those who became active leads (typically by calling you or filling out a lead form on the website) before you begin re-marketing, you’re not spending money trying to talk to people you’ve already identified as prospects, or who’ve already become customers.

Visitors to Your Storefront or Showroom

By combining the tactic of Geo-Fencing, you can build an imaginary fence around any physical locations where prospective customers may visit you, such as a storefront, showroom, or lot.  This allows you to capture the unique device IDs of every phone within that fence, and build a target audience based on those phone IDs. Often, we can work backward from the device ID to connect the actual identity of the owner, and expand the targeting to include name, address, other devices, other family members, income, home value, and a host of 3rd-party information such as automotive registrations, past purchasing behavior and search history. Then you can determine the viability of each prospect by comparing it to your customer persona and target the best matches for audience re-targeting.

Social Media Followers

Using pixels and other tools available from most social media platforms you can build audiences of people who have already engaged your posts on social media. You can also build look-a-like audiences based on your existing social media followers, or even your existing customer database.

Dormant Customers in Your Point-Of-Sale (POS) Database or E-Mail Newsletter Database

By performing an analysis of your POS data in combination with your e-mail database and/or your customer relationship management (CRM) system, we can build a custom list of prospects who either haven’t purchased within a certain period of time, and/or haven’t ever purchased and use that to build audience re-targeting strategy. If you’re confused about audience re-targeting as part of your digital display advertising strategy or you’re just wondering if it can help you grow your business, we are happy to offer some insight.  We offer a free initial marketing consultation.  By helping us understand how you want to grow your business, we can help you decide if digital display advertising is right for you, and if audience re-targeting is the best method of targeting.

How To Know When Audience Re-Targeting Can Help Grow Your Business

When is audience re-targeting a smart tactic within your digital display advertising strategy?  It all begins with our formula:


By following this simple road map to design, execute, and evaluate campaigns we can know our return on investment (ROI).

Make Sure You Can Track Any Digital Display Advertising You Place

We typically accomplish this with two primary tactics:  (1) Pixel tracking, and (2) UTM or other tagging. Some digital advertising platforms offer tracking pixels.  We deploy these to know which visits to the website are driven by each campaign.  Combined with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, this allows us to know how far down our customer acquisition funnel each prospect goes. When tracking pixels aren’t available, we use a tagging process that communicates with Google Analytics to achieve the same goal.

Use Layers of Targeting to Avoid Waste & Make Your Ads More Relevant to the People Who See Them

Begin with the end in mind.  We often layer multiple targeting methods for best results. For example, we often use questions like these to determine targeting layers:

Q:  Are there locations visited that indicate someone is a potential customer?

A:  This often includes places like competitor showrooms, restaurants similar to yours, nearby hotels, or even certain office buildings (location behavior can often be tracked to specific floors of high rises).  We commonly use location behavior as an indicator for targeting.

Q:  Is there past search behavior that indicates someone is “in market” for your product or service?

A:  It’s common for people to begin a purchase with an on-line search.  Being able to target your ads based on keywords and phrases can be helpful.  We commonly use recent search behavior as an indicator for targeting.

Q:  Is there past purchase behavior that indicates someone is a good prospect for your product or service?

A:  This often is represented by categories.  For example, if someone has purchased pet products in the past, it’s a strong indicator they have pets in the household.  We commonly use past purchasing behavior as an indicator for targeting.

Q:  Are past customers, and/or past visitors to the website important prospects for the future?

A:  Whenever someone visits your website and doesn’t become an actionable lead (or make a purchase), that may be a strong indicator that they are “in market,” but not yet ready to make a buying decision.  This is the classic application for audience re-targeting.

Q:  How specific is the customer persona?  Age?  Gender?  Location?  Income?  Home?  Car?

A:  For example, let’s say your best customer prospects are women 35-64 in a series of high-end zip codes who drive luxury import cars, are in the top 20% of household incomes, and live in homes valued at over $900,000.  That target can be built quite easily. These various qualifiers can be layered on top of each other to narrow in on your best prospects.  And once you build the universe of your best prospects, you can then begin.

When Is Audience Re-Targeting Most Useful?

Audience Re-Targeting is most useful when you have an extended buying cycle.  If customers tend to make a quick decision (on-the-spot), then audience re-targeting won’t likely be as useful.  However, if customers tend to research and make a buying decision over 3 days or more (we have customers who have identified a buying cycle as long as 12 months or more) audience re-targeting can play an important role in your strategy. A key benefit of audience re-targeting is the ability to evolve the messaging to create more and more urgency.  For example, you may find that one final discount or added-value offered to re-marketing prospects may dramatically increase your conversion (closing) rate. Re-marketing also allows you to tell more of your unique story over time.  If you feel confident a prospect has gotten the basic value proposition already from a website visit or other engagement, you can take the messaging more in-depth on factors you find are most important to customers who buy.  For example, if you are selling residential roofing and you find that customers who take longer to make a buying decision are consistently concerned about price, that’s the time to inject a discount or value-added with a time-constraint.  “Schedule your install today and we’ll upgrade…” Alternatively, if you find that customers who take longer to make a decision are more concerned with quality, re-marketing is a good time to emphasize why you use the products you use, and what’s unique about the quality of your people.  Back to the roofing example, you could re-marketing with messaging like “Three reasons quality-conscious customers choose us.”

Context is Meaningful to the Outcomes

Reach, simply because it’s available, doesn’t always translate to success.  In our experience, reaching the right people with the right message has to happen in the right context — the correct time and place that allows your potential customer to engage.  Ads that reach prospects when they can’t respond won’t get the desired levels of engagement. Our unique Bullseye Marketing Method is designed to track the context where our best engagement comes, and make adjustments to the campaign to focus on the most successful days, times, and other aspects of context that prove to be important for success. When properly organized, you can deploy test campaigns on multiple digital advertising platforms and track the results to know which combinations of messaging and platform get the best results.

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