Let’s face it: paid advertising – banner ads or PPC – has been a huge failure for most B2B companies. The ROI has been pitiful.
But retargeting ads are dramatically different. They change the cost of customer acquisition so radically, they make paid advertising worth a second look.
But I’ll warn you, retargeting ads are being miscast as Lead Gen campaigns, when they are really Lead Capture and Nurture campaigns. They play a valuable role, but boost the effectiveness of rather than replace other lead gen initiatives.
What is Retargeting?
Retargeting is displaying your ads to someone (who allows cookies) who once visited your web site or opened an email – when they visit other web sites covered by a retargeting ad network. Your business can sign up to use Google or Bizo or other reseller of ad properties and they arrange to display your ad when someone with the right cookie shows up on a web site they sell ads for.
I recently visited BigCommerce’s web site and days later, when I was doing some research, the site I ended up on displayed this ad:
Retargeting ads aren’t limited to subject domain web sites – your prospect might see them on ESPN or weather.com. Before retargeting, B2B companies would never consider display ads on sites like these. That the magic of retargeting.
How Big a Difference Does Retargeting Make?
One company measured a CPA (cost per action) for retargeting at ONE FIFTEENTH or 7% the cost of traditional display ads based on the web site property or page title. If your CPA for a traditional display ad was $100, a retargeting ad might be $7. $100 and $7 doesn’t represent the cost of a click. Rather, it’s the cost of the average number of display ads you pay for before 1 person clicks. The enormous difference in cost is the result of only displaying ads to someone who has responded in some way to your prior outreach.
Lead Capture and Nurturing, Not Lead Gen
Because retargeting ads are only shown to people you’ve had some interaction with – either they visited your web site or they opened an email – some other investment you made did the hard lead gen work of first provoking interest. But many of these first step lead gen investments falter because they don’t lead the target prospect to share contact information with you.
Retargeting ads give you a few more chances to fan that initial spark of interest into action that lets you capture the information that converts a web visitor or email recipient to a captured lead. Think of it as pumping up your other lead gen efforts with steroids.
Another way to think about it is that $7 might double or triple the effectiveness of whatever prior investment you made in that potential lead. But it won’t attract leads that your other investments aren’t touching in some manner.
Limitations of Retargeting
Many large companies wipe out cookies on their employees devices so retargeting will be less, though not completely, ineffective if your targets are in large corporations. And it won’t work where the PC owner doesn’t allow or frequently wipes cookies.
Some Dos and Don’ts
- Craft calls to action based on your type of business.
For a SaaS vendor like BigCommerce selling a low price point product that is well understood by prospects who are actively shopping, BigCommerce’s optimal pitch is their free trial. For a more expensive, more complicated solution, a better pitch might be a great piece of content that can do more work convincing them to engage with your company.
- Test for Duration and Number per Day
Watch to determine when the law of diminishing returns kicks in for you based on elapsed time or number of views per day. Mike Holtz recommends limiting retargeting ads to a week and to something like three per day so you don’t cross the line from attentive to obnoxious.
- Coordinate with sales data
This is for companies where sales is sometimes the first point of contact. If your sales and marketing systems aren’t synched up, your marketing system might see someone recently contacted by sales who is now checking out your web site out as a new visitor and automatically subject them to retargeting ads. If the offer is for content of interest to them, it won’t be annoying. But too aggressive a call to action and you might undermine the relationship the salesperson just started building.
For more information
In addition to reading Mike’s blog post, MarketingProfs has a webinar available on how to use retargeting to capture and nuture leads.
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