Is Retargeting a Viable Way to Succeed Online?

retargetingThe first time I heard about re-targeting, I was sitting down in a business meeting with a client and someone from an SEO business pitching the idea to him. At the time, I already knew what it was, but never really knew there was a name attached to the method.

As the meeting kept going, I advised my client NOT to sign up with the SEO company because I felt what was being pitched was far too expensive, regardless of the cheesy sales pitch the guy was trying to use. 

When I arrived back home, I started researching re-targeting in general and as I learned more and more, the truth is that this method was what I originally assumed: Very viable, BUT under the right circumstances. So to answer the original question which was posed in the title, the answer yes. Yes it can help you succeed online. 

What is re-targeting?

It is a form of marketing in which visitors who see your ad/s, then leave will keep having the ad show up on other websites they visit. Here’s an example:

Ever visited a product page on Amazon, looked it over, decided not to buy it, left the site, then saw an ad for the EXACT same product on a different site? Well that’s re-targeting in action.

When it comes to other sites, say you have a website selling something and visitors come and go. Through re-targeting, you would still be able to reach those customers who left. 

The theory behind re-targeting is that most people who visit your site click away. Depending on which estimates you look up that number is somewhere between 90%-99% (sometimes a 100%). This estimate is pretty accurate since most people who visit your site will leave it, no matter how well organized and marketed it is. This is just the way this business works.

Why do they leave? It could be for all kinds of reasons:

  • Something came up.
  • A phone call, an emergency, something that distracted them.
  • They were just researching and didn’t want to buy anything. 
  • They just don’t like your site.
  • They could have a short attention span and clicked out.

Whatever the case is, most people who leave your site fit into one of these categories and through re-targeting, in theory at least, you can still get those customers back by just popping up in front of their screen. Basically continuing to be on their radar. 

A lot of re-targeting companies, including the one I mentioned earlier always like to pitch themselves as being the solution and that they can get those 90%-99% of customers back. While this is a bold claim, there’s no way this is possible. Yes you can still reach those visitors who left your site, but don’t think you will get them all back. It’s going to be a scavenger hunt and here’s why:

  • Those people who leave your site may have lost all interest in your product.
  • They may be annoyed at seeing the same ads appear over and over.
  • They may not trust the ad that appears. Yeah it’s the same product, but some people are afraid to click on ads because they may be worried it’ll lead them somewhere else they didn’t intend to go. 
  • They may come to your page but not buy anything (again).

These are all possible scenarios and things you need to keep in mind when considering re-targeting. 

If I’m browsing an online store looking for say Product A, but then stumble across another product I like better (product B), then decide to leave, but all I keep seeing is ads for product A from re-targeting campaigns, I won’t give them a second look because my mind has been made up: Product B or nothing at all. 

There could also be the other alternative where I could still click on those ads. Personally, I am not the type of person who likes clicking ads to begin with, especially if I know where the ad is connected to. At the very least, I’ll visit the site manually rather than click on a link I don’t trust, but hey that’s me. 

Now obviously these scenarios differ. Sometimes you could have sites providing information and selling products (considering they are niche based and targeting that niche), while others are more e-commerce based in that they have online stores.

I honestly think re-targeting would be more cost effective for the first option since in the first website, the audience visiting the page is mostly the crowd that interested in that niche which technically would mean if they left and saw the ad for their interest appear again, they’d have more chances of re-visiting the site. But that’s just my opinion since I haven’t had much hands on experience with it (retargeting that is).

How to make re-targeting work:

This form of advertising really has the same principals as SEO/PPC/Email marketing and the most important is this:

If you have a site that’s correctly marketing itself and what that means is it’s attracting a specific audience interested in what you have to offer/say, then you have a better chance of keeping these people around, with or without re-targeting.

Think of your website as your headquarters. If it has everything in order and is maximizing it’s potential in sales/lead referrals, whatever, then everything else you do to improve that site’s exposure, whether it be SEO, PPC, re-targeting, email marketing, Solo Ads, ect… will also improve.

My main point is this:

Focus on getting traffic to your site first, specifically quality traffic (SEO, correct PPC). Then focus on improving your site’s conversions. THEN focus on maybe adding in re-targeting campaigns. 

Above all, don’t think of re-targeting as a solution to all your problems. It’s still a gamble like PPC. Prioritize and put your site’s traffic/conversions at the top, then when you have that area checked and making you money, add in the re-targeting if you want. If you need help with this, I’d recommend getting proper guidance on building a successful online business through resources like this

What about budgets? Well like any form of paid advertising, you’re going to have to spend money on re-targeting. If you’re tight as it is, I wouldn’t recommend doing it. Focus on the most important things as I mentioned earlier. 


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