One of the not-so-secret secrets to the effectiveness of online display advertising is “retargeting.” If you’re advertising online (and, obviously, you should be advertising online) you’ve probably heard the term… but you might not know what it means.
Wikipedia defines Retargeting as:
Retargeting (also known as behavioral retargeting) is a form of online targeted advertising by which online ads are targeted to specific consumers based on their previous Internet actions. Retargeting tags users by including a pixel within the target webpage or email that sets a cookie in the user’s browser. Once the cookie is set, the advertiser is able to show display ads to that user elsewhere on the Internet via an ad exchange.
That’s a good technical definition… but for me, the best way to describe retargeting is Groundhog Day. Retargeting makes your ads work like movie Groundhog Day.
Just like in the movie
In Groundhog Day, after Bill Murray visits Punxsutawney, PA, he keeps living the same day over and over again. With retargeting, after someone visits your site, they keep seeing your ad over and over again as they surf their favorite sites.
Retargeting keeps your ad, your business, in front of prospects and customers so you’re on their mind when they’re ready to buy.
It would be easy to imagine that everyone who visits your site will just automatically call you and buy what you’re selling… but we all know reality rarely works that way. People visit your site… they probably visit a couple other sites… they shop, they consider, and then, after a certain amount of time, they make a decision and a purchase.
With retargeting, they see you over and over again as they go through the journey… just like Groundhog Day.