What is Retargeting: A Powerful Tool for Affiliate Marketers

Conversion rate is the mantra that drives success in affiliate marketing. For most affiliate marketers, an increase in conversion goes hand in hand with an increase in website traffic. However, with the increase in advertising and more awareness about internet advertising methods, some people simply will not make a quick purchase and require a little more convincing.

Enter retargeting.

An amazing tool in the hands of affiliate marketers, retargeting allows you to leave your website imprinted upon the mind of the person who has visited your site but has not converted yet.

What is Retargeting?

Retargeting is a form of remarketing where advertisers use cookies to track users who visited their website previously. The goal is to show ads to these visitors again when they visit other websites. Advertisers can also target specific keywords, such as “retailer” or “car.”

Imagine a visitor to your site who wants to opt-in to your list or wants to purchase a product that you are offering. For any possible reason, the visitor might decide not to go ahead with the purchase or the information sharing. The reasons for this could vary from a knock on the door at the worst possible time to a postponement of the decision to buy.

Retargeting is a method by which you can choose to display advertisements to that user the next time he/she opens a website, any website within a retargeting network. Retargeters today have an estimated reach of 90% of the internet and this provides you with a very powerful tool to remind the user to visit again and complete his/her transaction without having to send them emails or reminders.

How does Retargeting work?

Simple. Once you sign on with a retargeting service provider, they give you a few lines of JavaScript code to install on your website. Many companies call this piece of code their “pixel”. This code is small in size, and there will be no noticeable change in the speed with which your site loads. However, your website will now download a cookie into the visitor’s computer based on the activity done while browsing.

You can set certain conditions to use this cookie to display targeted ads just for that customer alone. For Example: A visitor to your website entered some details and clicked on submit but it was not enough for your needs. Distracted by something, the visitor just closes the window.

Retargeting services will use the cookie downloaded to the computer and offer the option of advertising the offer that the visitor originally wanted to sign up for. So the next time the visitor opens a website that is a retargeting partner, your ad will be displayed on the screen only for that visitor alone.

Many Combinations Possible

Retargeting websites offer their clients a whole lot of mix-and-match combinations which can be useful for affiliate marketers. For example, you can decide how often the visitor sees your advertisement on other partner websites.

You can decide to show the visitor the same advertisement 3 times a day for 14 days or just once a day for 30 days. The combinations are left to you to figure out. This provides you with a great tool to keep reminding the visitor to complete his/her purchase or opt-in with you.

You can also offer different advertisements based on which products the customer was browsing before he/she left your site. For example, a person who had clicked on a premium clothing brand would be targeted with ads that feature that brand, while a shopper looking for a pair of shoes could be sent an ad with shoes as the central theme. There are many combinations available to marketers with retargeting.

Can be Designed to Stop after Conversion

What happens once a visitor reads your targeted banner ad and remembers to finish what he/she had left incomplete? The best retargeting service offers a service that categorizes people based on whether they have visited your landing page post-conversion.

Known as a ‘burn pixel’, post-conversion, the visitors will be placed in a separate group for you to decide further action. You can either choose to stop showing them your ads altogether or decide to display cross-section ads as well. For instance, if you are selling tires and accessories, once a visitor converts by signing up or purchasing tires, you can choose to display accessories advertisements

Designed to follow the Visitor Around

Affiliate marketers can use retargeting services in order to take a peek into the internet browsing cache of their site visitor and understand what kind of products the person has been looking for online. This information can then be used to push ads related to those particular products no matter which site the person is browsing as long as it is part of the retargeting network.

Once the person goes back to the original vendor’s site and makes a purchase, the affiliate marketer’s software can claim a commission from the merchant for driving traffic to their site and helping with a conversion.

Retargeting- Now Social Media Friendly

It is now possible to push your advertisements into social affiliate marketing 404 feeds as well. Using the same principle of browsing through your internet history, retargeting services and affiliate marketers can now push content directly into an interested prospective customer’s Twitter feed or Facebook wall as advertisements.

So if you visited a popular tire store and browsed through a certain range of tires, chances are, you will see advertisements for the store when you sign into Facebook. As an affiliate marketer, this is a great opportunity for you to take advantage of as it enables you to target an interested customer on social media where he /she is likely to spend considerable time or visit at least once a day.

Best Practices and Ethics

According to the Quality Assurance Guidelines (QAG) of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, it is imperative that merchants be aware of where and how they are advertised. The guide recommends that merchants be able to request and analyze information as to how advertisements are bought, the current ad placements, and placements available in the future.

The guide further recommends that affiliate networks report the websites on which impressions or clicks occurred and allow merchants to approve or reject ad placements and purchases.

Final Thoughts

Retargeting marketing is not without its share of controversy; many internet users compare retargeting to stalking. It is nevertheless a useful tool for affiliate marketers and networks that are looking to convert more and more visitors to their site in order to increase revenue.

In addition, the ability to track a user’s activity across multiple sites gives affiliates a better understanding of how their customers behave. This allows them to make informed decisions about which campaigns to run and which ones to drop.

Have you used a retargeting campaign? What has been your experience? Do let us know in the comments.

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