Have you ever researched prices on Amazon.com or shopped for a new pair of shoes on Nordstrom.com? If you are like me, then the answer is “yes.” If you are still like me, you run out of time or need to switch gears to a different task like looking up weather forecasts for your upcoming trip. And what to your wondering eyes should appear, right next to the weather predictions, is an advertisement for the exact same item you were researching seconds ago. In my case, a step tracker. How is it that the item has followed you to a totally different site? You, my friend, have been retargeted.

What is retargeting?

While retargeting is not a new advertising tactic, many outside of the advertising world are still unfamiliar. Retargeting is an innovative method of online display advertising that serves targeted banners to visitors that have abandoned your website to draw them back for a desired action (purchase, RFQ, registration, etc.). AdRoll.com gives a straightforward description of how retargeting works:

“Technically all that is necessary is to place a JavaScript tag in the footer of your website. This code creates a list of people that visit your site by placing anonymous retargeting ‘cookies’ in their browser. This list allows AdRoll (or other retargeting vendors) to display retargeting ads to your potential customers as they visit other sites.”

Like my example, I was browsing a specific item on Amazon (a step tracker) when a cookie was dropped on my computer which then allowed Amazon ads to “follow,” or more accurately, retarget me on Weather.com.

Types of retargeting

From a strategic perspective, there are several types of retargeting methods that are beneficial for B2B and B2C clients. This is not a comprehensive list, but rather a basic overview.


Static retargeting is the most basic form of retargeting. Banners are served to people who abandoned after visiting your website. The banners are not contextual — served based on the exact content that was viewed — but rather brand-specific. Static retargeting can be used for multiple objectives, such as awareness or e-commerce.


Dynamic retargeting is an excellent way to personalize and specifically target customers. It features the exact content on the Web that was recently viewed (i.e. my infamous step tracker) or the item that was abandoned in the shopping cart. This form of retargeting is typically used for B2C but can certainly be used in B2B depending on objectives. Both static and dynamic retargeting can occur within social platforms like Facebook, in addition to standard websites. It just depends on the type of retargeting program you are working with.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

CRM retargeting specifically retargets your email database with ads across the Web. It allows you to re-engage with past or present customers, once again bringing your business top of mind. The benefit is that as the database profiles become more complete to include the customer’s activities, the ads can be more relevant and targeted to those customers.

Why choose retargeting?

Implement a balanced advertising plan that includes programs that meet specific objectives like driving e-commerce sales as well as ongoing coverage from key programs. When considering ad programs, keep in mind that retargeting alone is not the answer to improved overall ROI. For it to be successful, you need to drive traffic to your site in order for your audience/customers to be retargeted. Traffic can come from social media, PR and other digital advertising efforts. Cutting all other digital advertising efforts is not the way to go. Instead, think of it as an ingredient in your overall marketing mix. You’ll definitely want to try other methods like native advertising and programmatic advertising.

Retargeting has become a strategic part of the majority of M/C/C’s clients’ advertising plans, and we include it as a foundational program due to several key factors:

  1. Retargeting Nurtures Relationships

Retargeting is a consistent way to nurture an existing audience that has already expressed interest in your brand. By serving ads on “unexpected” sites via AdNetworks through retargeting, prospective customers are more likely to click content relative to them.

  1. Retargeting Works

Our ongoing research shows considerably stronger engagement from our retargeting programs than other digital advertising efforts. Not only are they more likely to click on the ad, but those who have visited your website before are more likely to engage with your content after the click.

  1. Retargeting is Cost Effective

Retargeting costs less than traditional digital advertising efforts, allowing you more bang (impressions) for your buck. No more wasting impressions on an audience that may not be interested in your brand.

Have more questions about retargeting or want to get ramped up? Whether it’s programmatic advertising or retargeting – shoot us an email and we’ll get your program started!

Previously posted on The M/C/C Minute.