Retargeting is a key online marketing strategy for any business to use. It is a type of online targeted advertising in the Search Engine Marketing wheel that involves targeting consumers based on their past Internet habits and search history. In short, retargeting ads are ads that target the same audience who has already clicked on and viewed the same ads in the past. The main point of retargeting ads is to reach your business’s target audience with advertisements at a time when the online consumers you target are ready to make their purchases.

The process works something like this. An online consumer within your target audience views an advertisement from your business, clicks on it, and is redirected to your business’s website. They click away from your website without making a purchase, but they log into their Internet browser later that day or later that week and see the same advertisement again as a retargeted ad. They click the ad again, are again redirected to your business’s website, and–hopefully–convert from an online consumer to a customer of your business the second time around. This process can be repeated as needed if a consumer is not ready to make a purchase the second time they view one of your business’s advertisements–it takes some consumers three or four or five times of viewing and clicking on retargeting ads to actually make up their mind and make their purchase from your business’s website.

A woman shows her colleague Why retargeting ads work

A woman shows her colleague Why retargeting ads work

So how do retargeting ads actually work? How do you successfully target the same audience of online consumers to make sure they view the same ad from your business that they have already clicked on? The technology behind retargeting ads is actually fairly simple. Once a potential customer clicks on one of your business’s ads and visits your business’s website, a cookie is placed on that consumer’s device–whether it be their mobile phone, desktop computer, laptop, tablet, etc. This cookie then prompts the same ad to retarget that consumer by showing up all over their browser as they go about their day browsing the Internet in order to give them additional, better-timed opportunities to decide to click on the ad again and actually make a purchase from your business’s website when they are redirected there.

Why Use Retargeting Ads?

One of the primary reasons why every business should market using retargeting ads is that more than 95% of online consumers who click on a targeted advertisement are actually not ready to make their purchase right at that moment.

Even if their intent is to eventually purchase the item or service they’re searching for online, the vast majority of online shoppers go through a process of browsing the Internet for what they want to buy and waiting at least some amount of time before actually making their purchase.

This is where retargeting ads come in very handy. If you fail to run retargeting ads, your conversion rate will very likely be disappointingly low. If you ensure that your target audience is reminded of ads they have clicked on before at a later time by running retargeting ads, however, you give your business a higher chance of converting more consumers into customers at a time when they are actually ready to make their purchase instead of when they are just in the casual browsing stage of their purchase process.

Behavioral science also shows that consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a business with which they feel familiar. Once they have been shown an advertisement that interests them from your business several times–and potentially clicked on the ad and gotten redirected to your business’s website at least a few of those times–consumers are more likely to feel familiar with your business and trust it enough to make their purchase from your business rather than from another business that has not targeted them with advertisements for days or even weeks.