Do you ever get the feeling that you're being followed? Well, you might actually be right. There's probably not an actual human being following you around, but your ads might be. I'm talking about retargeting ads. So, what exactly is a retargeting ad? According to Hubspot, retargeting ads are a form of online targeting advertising and are served to people who have already visited your website or are a contact in your database (like a lead or customer).
Basically, companies can keep track of where you've been and what you've been doing online so that the ads you're shown can be more personalized to you and ultimately be more effective. This is the reason that the pair of shoes you were debating on purchasing yesterday coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidentally) appeared on your Facebook this morning. These ads turn window shoppers into customers, and while they might seem a little creepy at first, are not actually as invasive as you might think.
I know how they work, but are they effective?
Yes! These ads are extremely effective. In fact, USA Today states that retargeting ads are more than twice as effective as normal ads, and in some cases far more. The brilliance behind these ads is that they connect the right people with the right advertisements at the right time. Retargeting advertisements are simply a tactic in the overall Inbound Marketing strategy. The Inbound Methodology is all about attracting customers through relevant and helpful content throughout their buyer's journey to eventually convert, close, and delight. There's no arguing that these ads are relevant (hey, you're the one who visited that website in the first place, so it clearly must have some relevance to your life in one way or another). You started as a stranger to this website, and these ads do a remarkable job of showing up at just the right times to convert you into a customer. If the product is a homerun, you might even find yourself a promoter of said product.
Let's be real here, not every buyer's journey looks like a straight path to the end. We're all human; we get distracted easily. One minute you're weighing the pros and cons of buying a brand new blender and the next minute you're watching a video on Facebook of how to make the best fudge brownies in the world. Heck, you might not even come back to visit that website again for a few weeks. Retargeting advertisements make sure that your product or service is staying on customers' radars and not your competitor's so that when you eventually close out of that video, you'll be reminded to go back and visit that blender you were eyeing beforehand, make a purchase, and viola! You're a customer.
If you're thinking, "yeah, they're brilliant, but I still think they're creepy..."
If you're still not convinced that retargeting ads aren't intrusive or if you simply just don't want to see them, there are a few options you have to lessen your chances of being retargeted. One suggestion would be to use an ad blocker. Another option may be to simply "opt out" of the ads by clicking the triangle icon on the ad itself, but only some ads allow this. Browsing in incognito mode while you're online or deleting your cookie history may also help. If all else fails, just ignore them.
Intrusive or Inbound? Definitely Inbound.
Now when one of your friends talks about being followed by ads, you can confidently explain to them that what they're actually referring to is the marketing tactic known as retargeting. Retargeting advertisements are extremely effective, and aren't really quite as intrusive as they first seem. These ads use your web history to show you advertisements for products and services that are relevant ("hey, I've seen that sweater before") to you personally, and in terms of the Inbound Methodology, are quite brilliant. From a company or brand's perspective, these ads make sure that your target audience sees your products and not your competitor's.
So, you know about retargeting advertisements and the Inbound Methodology and now you want to run your very own Inbound Marketing campaign. Great! Before you start planning your first campaign, check out this eBook we created to help get you started. It's free, just click on the download button below.