Last night you were shopping for slippers on several websites. Today, ads for slippers from those same sites are showing up all over your Facebook and news feeds.

How do they know?

It may be a little creepy, but seeing those slippers pop up in your news feed may be what finally gets you to buy them. That’s why more and more companies are marketing to you through something called “retargeting.”

How did they know you were shopping for slippers on their sites? You got “cookied.” Somewhere on their site they installed a tracking pixel that attached itself to you. Well not literally to you – but to what you do on their website.

That line of code knows what you were looking at and it allows them to retarget you on sites all over the web as if to say “Hey, remember me?” as it targets you with ads for products or services in which you’ve already shown an interest.

The “target” part is what makes this form of marketing so effective. Unlike a general display ad that appears on a site, these ads have been tailored to your likes, interests and online activity.

What Does it Mean for your Online Experience?

It can be a little annoying, or even unnerving, to see ads for products you have been searching for. Although it seems like Big Brother is watching, he’s not. Retargeting is happening on a purely digital level, and don’t worry, companies are legally prohibited from using cookies to identify you or your computer. If a company is doing it right, they won’t over-do the retargeting ads.

But you do want to be careful if you don’t want other people to know what you’ve been shopping for. Sharing your computer or phone with friends and family can easily ruin a Christmas or birthday surprise. For example, if those slippers were for your wife or husband, or you were ring shopping to “pop the question,” your computer screen might show those ads at an inopportune time and give away your secret. To avoid this, go into your history or security settings and clear your cookies.

Does retargeting work?

According to stats from Digital Information World:
• Users who are retargeted are 70% more likely to convert to buyers.
• Display ads have an average click-through rate of 0.07%, while retargeted ads get a click-through of 0.7%.
• Retargeted ads have the potential to increase branded search exposure by more than 1,000%.
Here’s why. Let’s say you picked out the size and color of slippers you wanted. You were ready to check out, then you realized you left your credit card in the car and decided to come back to the website later. Or the phone rang, you got distracted, and you moved on to another website. In any case, you abandoned the slippers in the shopping cart. (Don’t feel guilty: 70% of shopping carts are abandoned.)

You may have forgotten about those slippers, but the company that you almost bought them from didn’t forget. They know that by retargeting and reminding you about those slippers, you are more likely to “convert” – to turn your original click to their website into a purchase. Statistics show they are probably right. So the next day, you see those slippers in your newsfeeds and on Google search results pages, and just maybe you click on the ad and complete your purchase.

Can my business retarget?

Yes! Any business can run a retargeting campaign. The most popular retargeting networks are Display Ads networks, Google AdWords, and Facebook. Here are some details on the first three:

• Display Ads Network Retargeting. When you place a tracking pixel on the pages you want to retarget viewers from, your site adds a cookie that connects to the viewers of that page. Depending on the networks and websites that you choose, your ads can show up across thousands of websites that support ads when your shoppers continue to surf the web. You can even decide how many times you want any given viewer to see your ads. Through this method, when a customer leaves your site, your ads can reach them on sites for news, weather, sports, or a host of other sites to create the conversion that you want.

• Facebook Retargeting. You can serve ads on Facebook to people who have visited your site through their Facebook for Business advertiser options. By adding a pixel to the pages you want track, your site adds a cookie that connects to the viewers of that page. You can define a “retargeting audience” based on how far back you want the pixel to track and create Facebook ad Campaigns to target that audience. The ads show up in the audience’s newsfeed when they are on Facebook.

• Google AdWords. AdWords allows you to reach audiences on mobile, Google search, YouTube, and websites within the Google Display Network. You create a campaign and select the audience you want to reach (for example: everyone who recently visited your website or specific pages on your site). After you choose a campaign name, bid strategy and budget, AdWords creates the retargeting code for you to install on your site. Your ads then appear in Search, YouTube, etc., when your customer visits those sites after leaving yours.

Or Have Someone Do it For You

Not sure where to start or how to design your campaign? Daily Digital can help! We can install a tracking pixel(s) on your website and retarget people through display ads across 59 different ad exchanges including Google and Facebook. We’ll get results, attract new business and sales, and turn more of your abandoned shopping carts into sales. Contact Daily Digital now.