Retargeting 101

Retargeting Ads 101

Everybody knows you need eyes on your product in order to convert them into customers, that’s just a foundational business principle. And that’s why most of us tend to spend the lion’s share of our marketing efforts, both time and money, on traffic.

But here’s a shocking stat you may not know…

According to Kissmetrics, 96% of the people that land on your page aren’t ready to buy yet!

Yikes! That means if you paid for 1000 clicks, 960 of the people you paid to push your website product or service are not ready to click the “BUY” button.

Can you imagine how devastating it would be to brick-and-mortar stores if 96 out of 100 people that visited them walked out without making a purchase? But that’s exactly what is happening on many websites with “cold” traffic.

Cold Traffic: So what the heck is “cold traffic” (or warm traffic for that matter) and why should I care?

Before we dive into what cold and warm traffic is and why it matters to you, let’s take a quick step back and look at why people buy. There’s an old tried-and-true marketing trope that goes something like this, “People buy from people. And they ONLY buy from people they know, like, and trust.” The gist behind it is that people aren’t buying their home improvement supplies from Ace Hardware Stores, a worldwide corporation. They are buying Keith, the helpful hardware man that always assists them in making their purchases and ensures they get what they need.

They know Keith, he graduated with their cousin and is a member of their local chapter of Rotary. And they like him because he’s always been so helpful. Add to that, the fact that he’s never steered them wrong or recommended something they didn’t need, and now you have a solid relationship built on trust. So when Keith says you need the 3/4HP jet pump for your landscape project, you know he’s not upselling you. He just knows that with the volume of water you’ll use, you’d likely burn up that 1/4HP you had in your buggy by next summer.

Because he checks ALL the boxes on the KLT equation (Know-Like-Trust), you don’t think twice about buying what he recommends.

Now imagine you walk into an Ace Hardware on the other side of the country. Same scenario, same product, even the same brand, but a different salesperson. You have nothing against the new guy, but he’s not Keith, so when he recommends the 3/4HP model, you say you’re “just browsing” to buy some time and then roll over to the next aisle so you can whip out your phone and work some “Google-Fu” research to make sure this new guy isn’t trying to cheat you.

Warming up your audience:

This is exactly what happens when people land on your website.

If they’ve already bought from you, then you’ve probably already built up a relationship with them based on KLT, and they know they can trust you to provide the product or service you are offering in your ad. But if they’ve never heard of you or seen your website before, they have no clue who you are and no reason to trust you! So they are going to leave your website and go do some research on their own rather than just take your word for the fact that they need your product or service.

(Interesting Fact #1: QuickSprout found that 49% of potential new customers {cold traffic} needed to visit a site 2-to-4 times BEFORE they even make their first purchase!)

That’s the concept of cold and warm traffic in a nutshell. So now let’s get back to how this affects you and your business.

As we said earlier, most businesses focus on driving traffic to their website. That’s not a bad thing. You definitely need traffic to make your offer work.

The breakdown happens when they ignore their conversion numbers and just try to increase the volume of traffic. Increasing your volume of low-converting cold traffic can absolutely burn up an ad budget (kind of like that 1/4HP pump you tried to buy for irrigation that Keith talked you out of.) What retargeting does is take all those people who weren’t ready to buy yet (up to 96%) and warm them up with ads that say, “Hey, remember me? We talked about a solution for that problem you had. I know you needed more time to do some research. I just wanted to touch base and see if you were ready to swing back by and check out our products.”

Some “traffic gurus” will tell you that is a gross oversimplification of retargeting, but remember, “People buy from people.” So you want to start thinking of your traffic not as inanimate objects, but as individuals with a specific problem that you have a solution for. So your retargeting ads should have a similar tone to that of someone who you’ve already met and are now past the introduction phase and into the relationship-building phase.

It sounds crass when you hear people say retargeting is like “shooting fish in a barrel.” But the symbolism isn’t that far off. Once you have traffic that has visited your website and you’ve started building rapport, you’ve dramatically zeroed in on the area you where you are fishing for customers. It’s like you’ve gone from casting random bait into the Atlantic Ocean, to fishing in your favorite fishing hole.

As you can imagine, this “second-pass” ad campaign structure is extremely effective because you get to skip the introductions required when you first meet someone (i.e. cold traffic) and jump straight into your customer’s needs and your solutions (i.e. warm traffic).

Because of this, a retargeting campaign typically results in dramatically higher conversion rates and lower cost-per-conversion than your standard cold traffic visitors.

GETTING STARTED: So how do I start running retargeting campaigns for my business?

For the sake of the tutorial, we will assume you are currently using Facebook Ads. Since we’ve already covered concepts like setting up your Business Manager and building Lookalike Audiences, by now you should be fairly comfortable in the platform.

One of the things we covered in an earlier lesson was creating, installing and setting up your Facebook Pixel. This is the lesson where we actually start putting it to use.

First off, there are two basic types of retargeting:

  • Pixel-based Retargeting
  • List-based Retargeting

With Pixel-based retargeting, you use that snippet of code placed on your website to re-broadcast your ad/message to anonymous website viewers based on behavioral actions.

With List-based retargeting, you upload a database of existing user/customer emails into Business Manager and instruct Facebook to display ads only to people on that specific list.

Both methods are extremely effective and serve a similar purpose. They will either increase awareness (keeping your product and brand in front of your potential buyers) – or conversions (turning those potential buyers into customers).

Segmentation is critical to the long-term success of your retargeting campaign. Three common segmentations are to divide traffic into categories based on the following segments:

  • Behaviour: Some form of expressed purchase intent, such as an abandoned cart.
  • Time frame: Retargeting and segmenting based on the recency of website visits.
  • Purchase history: You don’t want  to forget to set up your campaigns to stop showing ads to individuals who have already converted! You don’t want to accidentally waste your ad spend visitors that have already clicked “buy.”

The difference between long-term success and failure in a campaign often boils down to the most boring stuff, the analytics. Often it’s not the creative, the copy or even the targeting that determine the overall campaign success. It’s the discipline to keep an eye on the numbers and know not only WHAT works, but WHERE, HOW and with WHO.

For example, if 65% of your traffic is mobile, but only 10% of your purchases come from mobile, don’t waste your ad spend on visitors that are far less likely to click the “BUY” button!

Retargeting audiences with a history of a high-probability of purchase behavior will give you a near endless supply of easy wins in your campaign. That’s why segmentation is so important!

COME BACK TO ME: A basic retargeting option that works well is to create a custom audience of recent website visitors. When someone has recently stopped in and had a look around your website, you are already in their mind as a viable option to provide a product to solve their problem. That’s why retargeting recent visitors to your website is so effective! These ads will keep you popping up in their newsfeed to remind them that you are still out there, just waiting to solve their problem.

Here’s a guide to setting up a simple retargeting campaign using a custom audience. You can use inclusion rules to base it on recent website visits:

  1. Go to your Audiences.
  2. If you already have audiences, click the Create Audience dropdown and select Custom Audience.
    If you don’t have any audiences, you’ll see audience creation buttons, rather than dropdowns.
  3. Choose Website
  4. Set a rule section. (You have to start with an inclusive one.) There are standard rules and pixel event rules. Add rules to the section as desired.
  5. Add more inclusive or exclusive rule sections as desired. You can have up to 5 total rule sections per audience.
  6. Give your audience a name (and description, if desired).
  7. Click Create Audience.
  8. When we finish creating your audience, select it during ad set creation to reach the people in it with ads.

That’s all there is to it! You now have a basic retargeting campaign set up using a custom audience.

There’s just no question that retargeting campaigns are an essential part of any paid traffic plan. Failure to launch these “easy win” campaigns is literally like leaving money on the table! So take the time to deep dive into learning more about the process in Facebook’s Blueprint training and work to become a master of retargeting strategies! It will pay off exponentially in the long run by dramatically boosting your conversions and cutting your cost of customer acquisition.