Retargeting: How to Use Retargeting for eCommerce

retargeting-how-to-use-retargeting-for-ecommerce

In the third quarter of 2018, the average conversion rate across all U.S. eCommerce markets was only 2.23%.  The remaining average of more than 97% of site visits that do not result in a purchase represents a great deal of untapped potential for eCommerce businesses.

Retargeting is a significant way to bring customers back to your website and through your sales funnel.  This leads to higher conversion rates and therefore increased sales.  Find out how retargeting works and how you can make use of ad retargeting to grow your eCommerce business.

What Is Retargeting?

Image via Flickr by Rawpixel Ltd

Retargeting is a powerful conversion optimization tool.  As a form of online advertising, retargeting specifically targets customers who recently left a website.  This is done as a means of increasing conversion rates by attracting shoppers to return to the site and make a purchase.

Retargeting works through cookie-based technology and uses Javascript to track shoppers who leave a site across the web.  Targeted ads are then directed toward the shoppers.  Retargeting is a particularly effective tool that yields higher ROI than many other forms of marketing.  This is because it specifically targets individuals who have demonstrated an interest in your brand or a particular product.

Maintain Custom Segmentation for Retargeting

Merchants should consider setting up multiple segments to use retargeting to reach different types of site visitors, which correspond to different levels of the sales funnel:

  • Product Page Visitors: Casual shoppers who are browsing or comparing options may leave a product page without making a purchase.  Retargeting these shoppers is the most common way that eCommerce merchants use retargeting ads.  Using competitive messaging to retarget these visitors can transform their casual interest into a purchase.  This strategy can also keep your brand at the top of a shopper’s mind, even as the individual continues to browse competitors’ products.
  • Abandoned Carts: Some studies have found that 69% of all eCommerce visitors end up abandoning their shopping carts before making a purchase.  Potential customers who have abandoned a cart after placing items in it are the lowest hanging fruit for increased conversions.  They have already demonstrated an interest in particular products.  Reminding them of their items may be the final push they need to make purchases.
  • Conversion: Existing customers are already familiar with your brand and have demonstrated an interest in your products.  Once customers have made their first purchases, retargeting can entice them to enroll in a loyalty program.  They may also be more apt to return with a specific deal or special offer.

Retargeting can also show existing customers products that are complementary to their purchases.  For example, a customer who recently purchased hiking boots may be interested in camping gear or hiking backpacks.  Finally, retargeting can be used to re-engage customers who have not made a purchase recently.  Retargeting ads that offer discounts or promote new products may be the nudge that they need to re-engage with your brand.

Discover Best Practices for Retargeting Ads

A number of commonly employed best practices for designing retargeting ads can boost conversions.  Since every company’s base of potential clients may respond differently, it makes sense to experiment with different practices.  This will allow you to see what works best for you and your base of potential customers.

First, retargeting ads that incorporate product page reviews may be more attractive to potential customers.  Studies have found that 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as they trust in-person recommendations.  Incorporating reviews in your retargeting ads gives shoppers who are already interested in your product the extra affirmation they may be looking for before they make a purchase.  Reviews can be effective with first-time customers as well as returning shoppers.

Get creative with your retargeting ads.  While each ad should include a strong, concise, and effective call to action, think about different ways to appeal to potential customers. You could offer discounts and special promotions or make personal product recommendations.

Dynamic product ads are also particularly effective in retargeting.  Dynamic product ads use a scrolling or swiping feature to display one or multiple products.  The ads usually include information about the product’s price, a description, and a picture.  Dynamics product ads also display particular products that shoppers have already viewed. This makes it more likely that they will already be interested in the product.  This style of retargeting ads is particularly effective on social media sites such as Instagram.

Be aware that shoppers may become frustrated or turned off after seeing the same product or brand too many times. Seeing the same ad too often can lead to a phenomenon called “banner blindness.”  This is a condition where shoppers ignore an ad completely.  Frequency caps can be used to limit the number of times that a tagged individual is exposed to specific ads over a given period of time.  Generally, it is considered best practice to cap ads per individual user at 20 or fewer per month.  However, this quantity may vary depending on the product, the brand, and the potential customer base.

Finally, use A/B testing to analyze the relative impacts of different retargeting techniques.  A/B testing, or split-testing, allows you to experiment by comparing a control set of customers to an experimental group.  Testing different versions of ad copy, calls to action, promotional values, and graphics all lend themselves particularly well to A/B testing.  This effort can steer you toward more effective retargeting ads that yield higher conversion rates.

Optimize for Mobile

Despite the increasing share of purchases made on mobile devices in overall eCommerce sales, marketers often encounter a phenomenon known as the “mobile conversion gap.”  Conversion rates tend to be significantly lower on phone or tablet devices as compared to desktop and laptop computers.  Optimizing your retargeting ads for mobile is, therefore, a particularly savvy way to increase mobile conversion rates and begin to close the gap.

Retargeting ads can be specifically directed at mobile-optimized sites.  This includes the mobile or native mobile app versions of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Low average conversion rates mean that eCommerce sites have significant untapped potential to convert casual shoppers into customers.  Ad retargeting is a critical tool for increasing conversion rates and growing your eCommerce business.

Schedule a complimentary appointment with IronPlane’s team of experts today to learn more about what retargeting is and how it applies to your eCommerce needs.