There’s a psychological principle called the exposure effect, also known as “familiarity breeds liking.” You know how the first time you hear a song on the radio, maybe you don’t understand how anyone else would like it, but after 20 or so times of hearing it, it starts to become a little catchy?

This principle is valuable to advertisers, who can show the same ad or similar ads of one brand over and over to an audience, in hopes that the more a consumer is exposed to the brand, the more likely they’ll be to purchase from them. Online, this technique is called retargeting. Let’s take a look at how retargeting works and how your business can use it.

Retargeting Explained: A Beginner's Guide to How to Use ItHow Does Retargeting Work?

If you’ve ever been browsing around the web and have seen the same ads from the same brand on every website you’ve clicked on, it’s probably not the case that the advertiser has taken out space on all those websites. Instead, it’s likely you visited the website.

A cookie, or piece of data sent from the website and stored on your web browser, now alerts its ad network that you’ve visited the site. When you are on a page that is served by the ad network, their ad might show up.

To do this for your business, you’d implement code on your site, and when someone visits you, you drop a cookie that is stored on that consumer’s browser. This means, your ad could be served in forms ranging from banner ads to Facebook ads. Your ad becomes more relevant to the user, because they’ve already expressed interest in your business by visiting your site.

What Are the Benefits of Retargeting?

To understand the benefits of retargeting, here are just a few case studies that demonstrate its effectiveness.

Facebook Retargeting Creates 7,425% ROI in 24 Hours

With Facebook retargeting, a Facebook Pixel is placed on a website, and then when the website host creates a Facebook Ad, those ads are shown to visitors of the website. One New Zealand-based brand made nearly $300 in sales with just a $0.04 investment using Facebook retargeting ads.

Google Remarketing Increases Average Order Value and Has 1,300% ROI

Google calls its version of retargeting “remarketing.” The agency of watch retailer Watchfinder created lists of visitors who demonstrated intent, such as spending time on a website or viewing a certain number of pages, but did not purchase. A Google Display Network campaign, which showed ads throughout Google’s network, resulted in 1,300% return on investment and an average order value increase of 13%.

Google Search Remarketing Nets 500% ROI and 7x Conversions

Shoe manufacturer Clarks used search ad remarketing on Google, creating pay-per-click (PPC) ads based on website visits. There was a 15% conversion rate for traffic from the ads, and return on investment achieved 500%.

Ad retargeting campaigns can be run on most online ad platforms, including email clients like Gmail. Installing code to capture user data on your website doesn’t affect your website design, so the ads are relatively easy to create.

Retargeting Explained: A Beginner's Guide to How to Use ItTips for Using Retargeting for Your Brand

Another advantage of retargeting is that you can get very granular in your targeting. You can avoid serving up ads to users who just accidentally clicked over to your home page and quickly bounced. Here are some tips to make your retargeting campaigns more effective.

Create Detailed User Lists

You’ll want to serve different ads to different types of consumers. For example, a retail store who has had users add items to a shopping cart but abandon it could show an add displaying the items that were added to the user’s cart. For a software company, if a user clicked through several pages of a website, read a few blogs, but never purchased the software, the ad the company displays may work better if it’s a free consultation ad. Segmenting your audience enables you to target the right ads to the right people.

Use Durations

Do you really want to show an ad to a user who hasn’t visited your website in the past six months? Depending on your business model, maybe you do. Experiment with durations for ads by A/B testing them with the same user set. This way, you can learn what the sweet spot is for how long your ads are effective based on how long users have seen them.

Freshen Up Your Ads

Keep users engaged with your ads by switching up the creative elements periodically. This will combat ad blindness, where a user is used to seeing the same ad over and over and stops paying attention to it. A/B test your creative elements so you can optimize the types of ads you show.

Get Started with Retargeting

Retargeting can be a powerful form of online advertising for your business. It gets even better with the right copy, images, testing and strategy to stay effective. Get a free consultation on retargeting ads for your business here.