Five Pro Tips For Retargeting Ads

Retargeting Tips

Photo credit to Flickr user baloochester

This isn’t the first post I’ve written about retargeting ads, but as I’ve worked with this form of marketing more and more, I’ve gradually worked out what does and doesn’t work.

I want to give you my five pro tips for retargeting, which I truly believe will help you significantly increase the ROI you see on your campaigns. Let’s get to it!

Segment your visitors

OK – I’ll hold my hands up. I didn’t really understand the idea of segmenting visitors for retargeting – it wasn’t until my AdRoll account manager said “Whoooaaaaa dude, you’re wasting a ton of money!” that I started to pay attention.

I was sending the same retargeting ads to anyone/everyone who visited my website. Not a smart move.

Retargeting TipsWith the help of my account manager, I segmented my visitors into a few different groups.

The groups I have are quite complex, so for the purposes of this post, let’s just say there’s a “high intent” group populated with people who have visited four or more product pages on my website. There’s also a general group, which targets anyone who has visited my website, as long as they’re not classed as high intent.

So, how does it work? Because the high intent visitors have obviously spent a lot of time browsing on my site, the chances are they were fairly close to making a purchase. That means we can target them with voucher codes and other incentives to purchase.

We can also increase the CPM bids for this segment, so we might pay twice as much to display high intent ads, compared to the ads we target at regular visitors (but in theory the conversion rate should be far higher.)

You can also set up segments to target past customers (people who went all the way through the checkout flow), as well as “cart abandoners”. Segmenting your retargeting groups is hugely beneficial because it allows you to get super granular with your campaigns. The more granular your campaigns become, the better the ROI you’ll see. Now’s the time to start segmenting your retargeting campaigns.

Don’t skimp on design

I have another confession to make (it’s all coming out today!): I’m cheap. I like cheap designers, cheap coders, and cheap developers. Because they’re cheap.

I like expensive food, expensive clothes and expensive cars. See how silly that is?

I begrudge spending my money on business affairs that will make money – but I love wasting cash on a designer lifestyle. I only really came to terms with this a few months ago, and since then I’ve made an effort to spend less money on myself, and more money on my business (which means less wages).

So, the moral of the story here is that you can’t go out paying $20 for a set of banner designs if you want to see a 5x ROI. You have to go to 99designs.com and pay for a Gold or Platinum designer.

If you want a great ROI, you need great designs and ads that really catch the eye. You don’t get great designs for $20. $400? Now you’re talking.

Take my advice and stop skimping on designs, hop over to 99designs.com, bust open your wallet and weep. You’ll thank yourself for it a few months down the line when your click-thru rates are sky high, and you’re stashing suitcases full of money underneath your bed.

Great Design

Once you have some great designs that make people want to click them and find out more about your website, don’t forget to A/B test them.

I usually start with three different sets of creative – all hugely different (and usually from different designers.) I then select the most effective ad group and ask the designer to come up with some variations for me to test further.

Don’t just throw ads online and be done with it – for a vastly profitable campaign you need to test, test, test!

Great design doesn’t start and finish with your ads, by the way. If your website has been designed “cheap”, then users will bounce back to the site they came from. Making a commitment to design has to be a business-wide strategy – not just a strategy you adopt for your ad creatives.

Increase CPM and budget

Not long back, I realized that my campaigns were restricted by budget. We were seeing a great ROI – but my campaigns were being served until the budgets were exhausted.

This meant that potential customers were being missed because my budgets were depleted and my ads weren’t being exposed to as many people as they could be.

Easy fix: I increased the budgets across my campaigns (and weeped initially). When the sales rolled in, I stopped weeping. Are your budgets suffocating your campaigns?

CPM is the cost you pay per thousand impressions of your ad. The lower the CPM, the less often your ad will be displayed (because other advertisers will outbid you).

Don’t blow open your bidding to $1,000 CPM – instead you should increase it gradually until you find a happy medium between the number of impressions served and your overall ROI. How high can you go with CPM while still making a good profit?

Go dynamic

If you have an ecommerce website, then dynamic ads are by far the most effective form of retargeting. You know the type – the ads that show you the sneakers you were browsing last week or the Playstation game you’ve been eyeing, having gotten ever so close to just buying it on Amazon.com.

Dynamic AdThe dynamic ads we run have been infinitely more profitable than standard, static ads. They show browsers the exact products they looked at on-site. All of the metrics associated with our dynamic ads have far surpassed those witnessed with our static ads – I highly recommend them.

The only catch with dynamic ads is that you have to hit a certain number of unique visitors per day before AdRoll with let you run with them. It differs between networks, so be sure to do your research (from memory, it was around 2,000 uniques/day on AdRoll).

Another drawback is that AdRoll design the ads for you, and you only get a couple of rounds of revisions. So, if you’re super picky like me, you may not be hugely impressed with the creatives they design for you.

Don’t forget Facebook

My final tip for effective retargeting is to use Facebook. Of all the platforms we advertise across, the highest CTR and conversion rates all come from Facebook.

You have to be specific about where you retarget on Facebook (we only advertise in desktop newsfeeds.) CPMs on Facebook definitely aren’t the cheapest, but don’t be put off – run a few campaigns and you’ll see that Facebook is head and shoulders above the rest.

Facebook Ad Placement

There are various placement options on Facebook, take some time to experiment with them all, there’s lots of traffic to be won and lots of money to be made.

Another great thing about Facebook retargeting is that people can comment below your ad. Why not incorporate some kind of “tag your friends” call to action in your creative? It’s a good way to get more eyes on your ad, with the potential for it to go viral!

If your retargeting campaigns are “OK”, why not heed the above advice and make them GREAT?!

Have some other pro tips on retargeting? Share them in the comments!

Nick Whitmore Nick Whitmore is a regular contributor to the Sellbrite Ecommerce Blog. He sold his first item online at the age of 10 and now runs an ecommerce cosmetics business and a monthly ecommerce subscription service. Nick’s specialties range from content and digital marketing to procurement and logistics.