In case you aren’t familiar with retargeting, let’s start with two important facts:
- Retargeting is the business tactic of placing your brand in front of audiences that are already at least somewhat familiar with who you are (i.e. it’s why we all have ads follow us around the internet after we visit a website)
- Retargeting, or remarketing, is an important tool if you want to grow your business and maximize your marketing ROI
How is it an important tool? When done correctly, it’s a way for companies to prevent lost leads while growing and sustaining awareness. The key words there are when done correctly. Retargeting ads should not be treated the same as general targeting ads because they don’t truly have the same purpose. With targeting, you want to entice someone to come and check out your product or service. With retargeting, you want to remind someone that you exist and work on deepening their engagement.
B2B nuances to remember
The most important thing to remember is that B2B companies have a longer sales cycle than B2C companies. This is in part because the process includes multiple decision makers, and it’s also because the product or service in question is going to play a bigger role in someone’s life than a new t-shirt. (Probably. We don’t mean to make judgments on the importance of t-shirts).
What this means is that B2B retargeting all boils down to building trust.
How do you build trust?
First and foremost, you need to keep your messaging consistent. The goal with these ads is for people to recognize you and your brand. Ads therefore should match your website – whether in the language used or even in the images used – and further your audiences’ experience with your brand.
You should be consistent across all platforms so that no matter where someone engages with your brand, the story and the journey are the same. Every step of the process should be telling someone more about who you are and what you do in order to build trust in your product/service.
What doesn’t work well?
Don’t ask for too much too soon. For example, we haven’t seen companies experience a lot of success with retargeting ads that ask someone to sign up for a demo or a strategy session as the second step of engagement. If someone has only visited your website once, they likely aren’t ready to spend an hour on the phone with you. What you can do in this situation is ask someone to sign up for your newsletter. We’ve personally experienced a lot of success with that type of lead generation.
Once someone is very knowledgeable about your product – perhaps they’ve visited your website multiple times, they’ve read some articles and see you as a thought leader, they’ve followed your Facebook page, etc. – that is the time to go for the big ask like a demo or strategy session sign-up.
Can I retarget everyone who visits my website?
The short answer is no. This is for a number of reasons but we’ll go over some common scenarios here.
You can’t retarget anyone who visited your website using a private or incognito browser, or anyone who declined cookies.
You also can’t retarget anyone who can’t be matched. What does this mean? Whatever platform you are running your campaign on, has to correctly match the information they have with the information gathered from your website. This is easier if someone is logged in with one email address across all their devices and all platforms. The matching data makes it easy to follow someone from space to space.
If someone uses multiple email addresses though, or doesn’t have their phone synced with their computer, retargeting gets trickier. That person might only see certain ads when browsing on their phone, different ads on their work computer, and still different ads on their personal computer. It doesn’t make retargeting impossible, it’s just something to keep in mind when estimating audience sizes for retargeting ads.
You can be as specific as possible
Not only can you, but we think that you should be as specific as possible.
It used to be that you could only retarget anyone who came to your website. Now, you can still keep your ads broadly focused, but you can also narrow down your audience with retargeting options.
These options differ from platform to platform. For example, on Facebook you can narrow down audiences based on factors like age, location, and gender. On LinkedIn, you might select options centered around company size and job title.
You could therefore have one campaign that focuses on anyone between the ages of 35-55, who lives in Orlando, and visited your blog. A separate campaign could target anyone with a sales or marketing title who visited your products page.
Remember that retargeting is all based on audiences, sharing more of your story in order to build trust, and, eventually, capturing qualified leads.
Which platforms work best?
Generally speaking, we see a lot of success with Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. We also have seen tech companies see success on Reddit, as long as people on Reddit are already discussing the brand.
We don’t recommend using something like Snapchat, unless you want to be really, really creative and create a campaign that people are going to be willing to share in their personal lives.
Retargeting ads here work really well for building awareness. People tend not to click on display ads very often, but they do still see them, and this helps get out that reminder of, “Hey, I’m here and this is what I do.”
Google allows you to narrow down the websites where your ads appear, as well as narrow down ads based on the pages someone visited. For example, your ads could only appear on entertainment sites or news sites; and you can show different ads to someone based on which pages of your website they visited or which service they appeared most interested in.
You can also retarget audiences based on their Google search. For example, you can create a campaign that will only reach people who visited your services page and searched for a specific term or phrase on Google. This can be helpful if you have something very specific about your brand to communicate that is only going to make sense to someone who already knows something about your company.
A lot of times we see companies ignoring Facebook because they don’t like Facebook’s targeting options. Remember though, you aren’t targeting here, you are retargeting. It doesn’t matter if Facebook doesn’t allow you to select someone’s professional title because you are dealing with people who already visited your website.
Because of this, and because Facebook offers lower costs per click, per lead, and per conversion, we suggest giving Facebook a try.
In addition to the general ads, you could also create something specific for Facebook, like a campaign designed to grow your Facebook followers.
LinkedIn is great for B2B because it lets you retarget audiences based on different professional criteria. Other than that, it is pretty similar to Facebook. Both allow you to create lead ads, follower campaigns, and sponsored content.
With retargeting, it can be easy to think that you need to remind someone of the exact page they already visited on your website. There’s nothing wrong with this, and sometimes it’s the best choice, but it isn’t the only choice.
For example, maybe you want to grow awareness of your blog and establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. Create retargeting ads that serve audiences blog posts. In this case, retargeting can help to connect different campaigns and different channels of marketing. Ask yourself, what else would this person want to read, see, look at to further understand what I do and bring value to their own life?
What retargeting isn’t
Retargeting isn’t creating “look alike” lists. These lists start with a list you created of a certain audience that has engaged with your brand. Then, the software studies the list and identifies common characteristics, and then creates a brand new list of people that share those characteristics. This new list consists of people that don’t know you and haven’t been to your website. This list can therefore be used for targeting, but not retargeting.
These “look alike” lists tend to work better for B2C companies. If your B2B company wants to use them, we recommend using LinkedIn rather than Facebook. This is because LinkedIn will highlight professional shared qualities, while Facebook can look more at social commonalities. This could result in Facebook identifying everyone based on the pet they own, and compiling you a list of pet owners, which could have absolutely nothing to do with your brand.
High-Level Wrap Up
- Retargeting is different than targeting because you’re starting with an audience who already knows you.
- Retargeting should focus on building trust with your audience.
- All your messages should be consistent and share the same story.
- You should be as specific as possible when creating retargeting ads because you want to serve the most relevant ads to your audiences. These audiences already know your name, it’s time to bring them further down the path.
- Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Reddit (for tech companies) are all good platforms.
Retargeting is one of those tactics that can be easy to grasp, but harder to execute. If you’ve got any questions about specific campaigns or platforms, give us a shout at any time.