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Retargeting is a highly effective ecommerce marketing strategy that turns window shoppers into paying customers by serving ads to those who have shown interest. Individuals can show interest through a website visit or a click on a social ad. With people spending more time on social media than ever before (more than 2 hours a day!), marketers have long used social platforms to engage with interested audiences.
Setting up social media retargeting campaigns requires minimal effort, but maximizing efficiency involves significant analysis and optimization.
Social media retargeting is when you utilize a social platform to serve tailored ads to a targeted audience that has once before visited your website. Here’s an example of a dynamic social media retargeting campaign experience:
A visitor views one or more pages on your site→ they leave your site→ they use Instagram→ products from your site are served in their feed as an ad.
Social media retargeting works by using data from a pixel that is installed on your website from the social platform you want to use to retarget. Platforms like Facebook or Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok are some examples. This pixel gathers data about how site visitors interact with your site.
Then, that data is used to serve ads to those visitors who visited your site on the respective social platform.
Once you’re comfortable with retargeting basics, you can advance your strategy by segmenting your audience based on their behaviors and other factors to ensure the ads they are served are relevant and optimized for conversion.
Ready to jump in? Here are five social media retargeting strategies for creating highly effective social media retargeting campaigns.
No matter the ad campaign, it’s imperative to match the customer experience with the wants of a specific audience. In other words, it would be ill-advised to deliver an ad featuring a hamburger to a vegetarian.
Great social media retargeting strategies require marketers to carefully think about what creative (messaging and imagery) will appeal to a certain group of customers. Instead of broadly retargeting every website visitor, try segmenting audiences into interest-based groups. This allows you to create messages and ad creative that specifically appeal to each group. On Facebook, brands can create a custom audience based on people who:
Visit their website
Visit specific pages
Visit specific pages but not others
Haven’t visited in a certain amount of time
Or a combination of the four options
You can create a better customer experience by serving audiences highly relevant content. The more specific the targeting, the more personalized the experience. This increases ad engagement and boosts your bottom line.
There are many types of retargeting ads that you can run successfully. Relevance to the viewer will be critical in determining how effective they are. To use an ecommerce example, a person who visits a product page for sunglasses should be served ads with sunglass options. If another visitor purchases jeans, it might be best to show that customer an ad for matching belts. Other retargeting ads examples include:
Deal seekers: Serve ads that include discounts to customers who have visited a clearance section.
Past customers: Serve ads that feature new or complementary products to those who have already purchased.
Cart abandoners: Show cart contents to those who left during checkout.
Nothing leads to ignored ads faster than muddled messaging. Focus on creating eye-catching advertisements with enticing calls-to-action. Aim to create memorable advertising with minimal copy and simple design, so your audience absorbs your message quickly and takes action.
Digital marketing isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it exercise; it's something that requires constant optimization and experimentation. Enter A/B testing. In A/B testing, an ad or piece of content is duplicated but with one alteration. The original (test A) is compared against the duplicate, (test B) to see which delivers a better result. Elements that typically change in A/B testing include:
Email subject lines
A/B testing is a critical component of successful retargeting strategies. To properly utilize A/B testing in your campaigns, make sure to create two variations of an ad and run them side-by-side until a clear winner emerges. Pause the loser and then create a new variation of the winner so you can keep improving incrementally. Continuous improvement provides insight regarding how your audience responds to particular messages and allows you to make educated refinements to your ad creative.
No marketing strategy, let alone a social media retargeting campaign, can truly be successful without building an ideal customer profile (ICP). An integral function of B2B marketing, ICPs can and should also be used by direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands to form a clearer picture of a target audience. ICPs take into consideration everything from customer demographics, geographics, preferred marketing channels, and pain points.
When you have a full understanding of your ideal customers, you’re better able to leverage data to personalize ad campaigns. For example, brands can use customer data to create audience segments and deliver ads that call out a specific pain point.
Here are some examples of how to gather data from known sources to build custom audience segments:
Exporting customer information from your CRM and building lists based on phone numbers, email addresses, and several other identifiers. As noted above, it’s good practice personalized messaging based on customer behavior. This will encourage audience engagement, improve the customer experience, and boost customer lifetime value (LTV).
Building custom audiences based on user interactions with social profiles, posts, and advertisements. With Facebook, brands can create audiences based on behavior like engagement with any ad, followers to their Facebook page or Instagram profile, or messages sent. Use these options to perform tests and find the audiences with the most engagement.
Tracking and comparing retargeting efforts across multiple channels or campaigns can be difficult and time consuming. Business growth platforms have been proven to help manage ad campaigns by leveraging data and AI-driven technology to maximize ad spend and limit costs.
Furthermore, tapping into these platforms’ data-driven approach makes it easier to track, measure, and continually optimize social media retargeting campaigns toward crucial marketing objectives. This eliminates wasted time piecing together reports from various sources and dashboards.
It’s important to think about the timing of your campaigns to avoid ad fatigue while still accomplishing your goals. It’s a delicate balance that is best determined by your audience, offer, and desired outcome. However, there are times when it’s best to up the ante. For example, a campaign with a short-term offer should serve ads without frequency caps to audiences who’ve shown interest.
When setting up social media retargeting campaigns, it’s important to remember that a campaign should be unique to the organization and audience and tailored to marketing goals. Remember that this is an ongoing and evolving effort, which requires continual testing, refinement, and adjustment. Don’t lose patience if the results are not what you imagined in the first round. They will continue to improve the more you learn about your audience and what they respond to.
Looking for an easy way to launch, manage, and report on your social ads, display ads, and email? Unsilo your data and make better improvements to your ad campaigns. Learn more about the AdRoll automation builder.
The concept of retargeting, no matter platform, is the same. It is always about serving ads to customers who have engaged with you before.
Yes! It’s helpful to use social media retargeting in conjunction with other retargeting ads. By implementing retargeting strategies across channels, you can diversify your marketing efforts and see better returns.
Learn more about the power of ad retargeting with AdRoll here.
For even more tips and tricks, check out: 9 Social Media Retargeting Mistakes to Avoid
Last updated on October 5th, 2023.