How to Set Up an Effective Remarketing Campaign

Re-marketing is a powerful online advertisement strategy, targeting the consumers who already showed interest in your product. Instead of seeing online ads that are completely irrelevant to them—which used to be a lot!—they see you.

Innovations in technology have completely transformed how we, as business leaders, can market our services, making it easier than ever to reach your ideal audience. This contrasts starkly with the overboard marketing efforts of yesteryear (Sorry, Don Draper).

With re-marketing, you can target those who were on the brink of converting (becoming a paying customer), but stopped just short. This not only allows you to re-engage lost visitors, but increase brand awareness. So, how do you do it?

Smart Cookies

Re-marketing hinges on a little thing called “cookies”—not of the chocolate chip variety! First, let’s explain what a cookie is. An internet cookie is a simple text file that is stored in the web visitor’s device when they enter your website. This text file contains information about their behavior on your site.

Cookies tell marketers:

  • What pages the consumer visited
  • What products and services they looked at
  • How many pages the consumer looked at
  • How long they stayed on the site

To set up cookies for remarketing, you add a small piece of JavaScript to your website’s code. This will “drop a cookie” every time you get a new web visitor. (It won’t affect their web experience in any way). After your web visitor has been “cookied” and proceeds to visit other websites (or use social media), your remarketing ad service provider will display an your ad on these other web locales.

This ad might be personalized in some way to the particular visitor seeing it. The way it’s “personalized” depends on how that user behaved when visiting on your site. Let’s see re-marketing in action:

Lola visits She puts a lamp, a bedspread, and a blouse she loves in her shopping cart. She doesn’t purchase any of them, closes the tab, and forgets about it. Lola is prime for a remarketing campaign, if Target has such a campaign in place.

Lola is reading a gossip news site a couple nights later—in the margins, she sees the same lamp, bedspread, and blouse she’d selected in a banner ad for Target. All Target has done is present Lola with the same items she already liked, putting them back in her line of sight.

It’s a simple truth: Consumers usually don’t make a purchase or dial a phone number their first time visiting a website. But now, they’ve shown some degree of interest in your product. That’s more than you can say for Joe Schmoe, who has never visited your website, has no use for your product, and should in no way account for any of your ad spend. When you zero-in on your “lost visitors” and court them until they convert, this is one of the smartest possible uses of your marketing budget.

Re-marketing: a smart strategy

I’ll be frank—re-marketing can feel a little weird to consumers. When you’re wearing the hat of consumer, you may find it odd, too. It certainly raises a few eyebrows, with consumers wondering, “How do they know I looked at that product? Why am I seeing it again now?” But once you put on the hat of business owner and marketer, you understand why companies employ this strategy.

Remarketing has proven indispensable in the ad game. It allows for increased user touch points, drives repeat traffic to your site, and increases brand recognition and awareness. In practice, you begin to appreciate just how intricate the process is.

This article only serves as an introduction to the concept, which can be employed on the web, social media, and other platforms. Every re-marketing strategy is a little bit different, depending on the nature of your business and what you offer. It can actually be exciting to tailor a re-marketing campaign to your business, reviewing the behavior patterns of web visitors to determine who is ripe for re-targeting.

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