Retargeting Done Right: How To Avoid Over Marketing

February 25, 2023

Last week the Tesco’s mobile experience director Luke Vinogradov said: “Ad retargeters do brands a disservice every time they bug me about something I already own“.

Also he added that if you over market to customers they pull back. Yes, he is right.

Over marketing a product or service that the customer already bought or owns is a nightmare and probably many brands don’t even know that they are doing that.

I call this lazy retargeting. Don’t be lazy…

Here is how you can avoid retargeting to customers who already bought your product or service online.

Retargeting Lists

To run a retargeting campaign you need to create lists for your funnel. For example an online store could have lists like:

  • All visitors – Visitors who landed on the main page.
  • Cart – Visitors who viewed the shopping cart.
  • Checkout – Visitors who landed on the checkout page.

By including and/or excluding the lists in your campaign targeting you can make sure that the right audience sees your ads based on your campaign goals.

Let’s say you want to show ads to visitors who clicked the Checkout button.

You woud create a new list called “Checkout“.

You might be asking: What about the customers? I don’t want to show ads to my customers who already bought the product or service.

To accomplish that you need to create another list that is called “Customers“. The list pixel has to be installed on the “Thank You” page that customers only can access after the purchase.

Based on the previous targeting example you would include the “Checkout” list and exclude the “Customers” list. This way you can make sure that your customers don’t see any ads after the purchase.

Lists Duration

Another important part of any campaign is list duration. Basically that’s the number of days to keep a visitor in the list.

For example if you set the duration to 10 days, then your retargeting cookie will be alive for 10 days. After that period the browser erases the cookie and the visitor will be removed from your list.

Also that doesn’t mean that the cookie can’t be erased earlier. Modern web browsers have private browsing options, where the cookies are deleted after the browser is closed.

If you set the “Checkout” list duration to 7 days that means you would show your ads only for 7 days and most likely visitors who don’t finish the checkout process within 7 days will not purchase at all.

Campaign Timeline

It’s a pretty clever idea to have a campaign timeline. Use the timeline to plan 30 days ahead. Here is a quick example:

  • Day 1 – 7: Try to bring back the visitors who did not finish the checkout process.
  • Day 8 – 17: As there was no purchase within the first 7 days, then show a better offer (bonus or coupon).
  • Day 18 – 30: Still no purchase. Now it’s a good time to get the visitor to engage with your site again. You can brand your site or advertise some article from your blog.

After 30 days the visitor is removed from the retargeting list, so that you don’t waste more money on somebody who probably isn’t interested in your product, service or brand at all.

Using Retargeting lists, lists duration and a campaign timeline you can avoid over marketing.

As you can see retargeting campaigns have many moving parts and one small missing part could harm your whole campaign. Let the professionals run the campaigns for you.

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