B2B Ad Retargeting: Re-engage Website Visitors without Breaking the Budget

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Conversion lift is every marketer’s goal and it’s the reason we’re quick to try new tactics to rein in that elusive prospect. So, if you’re a B2B marketer looking for a way to re-engage with visitors after they leave your website, you may want to consider ad retargeting. It’s also a great way to better target your online ad budget, and improve your ROI.

Retargeting basics

Retargeting displays your ads on websites that your prospects visit around the internet after they’ve left your website. With retargeting, ads are seen by people who have already shown an interest by visiting your website. This means you’re not wasting precious ad dollars on an uninterested audience.

Just ask any B2C marketer and they’ll tell you just how effective ad retargeting can be. It can boost ad response by up to 400 percent. E-commerce sites like Amazon and Zappos regularly deploy ad retargeting.

I bet you’re thinking that a customer who spends $100 at Amazon is nothing like the business solution-seeking prospect you’re trying to lure. And you’re right. But according to Bizible’s State of Pipeline Marketing report, 53 percent of B2B marketers are using retargeting to generate demand. It’s a part of a well-planned demand generation strategy because it complements lead nurturing throughout the buyer journey. It doesn’t replace it.

How does retargeting work?

Proper planning is always important when you’re deploying new tactics. Before you dive into a retargeting campaign, you’ll want to make sure you understand how it all works and how it will fit into your existing demand generation strategy.

Retargeting is enabled by placing JavaScript code on your website, which adds a cookie to a visitor’s browser when they come to your site. Later, that same visitor may go to publisher sites supported by ads, such as USAToday.com. Within milliseconds, the publisher hosts an auction to determine which advertiser is willing to pay the most to deliver an ad to the visitor. By reading the cookie placed on the visitor’s browser, retargeting platforms like ListenLoop can selectively – and aggressively – bid on high-value visitors to win ad impressions at the publisher sites.

Email matching is another type of ad retargeting that relies on matching email addresses to third-party cookies. Once you upload your list to a retargeting platform, some percentage of your prospects who match an “email-to-cookie” database will see ads. In theory, it’s a great opportunity for highly targeted cross-channel marketing.  But, in practice, this approach still works better for B2C marketers because the databases that match cookies-to-emails have few business email addresses mapped to visitor cookies.

Retargeting and the Buyer’s Journey

Developing a plan for your ad retargeting efforts should include aligning different ads with the various stages of the buyer journey. For example, in the awareness phase, it’s all about education.

Your prospect realizes she has a problem or need so she conducts an online search to learn about possible solutions. Most likely, she will come across your competitors during her search, but she’s drawn to the white paper at your website. When she clicks through to your website, she finds other helpful information.

It’s highly unlikely that your prospect will make a purchase decision during the limited time she spends at your website. But a retargeting campaign that delivers ads based on her recorded interests and behaviors at your website will keep your solution top-of-mind.  Some marketers leverage that capability to leave more top-of-funnel assets ungated so they can build a deeper relationship, making it easier to acquire contact information later.

A first ad can pique her interest by providing a thought-provoking question. A second ad can contain an offer like a free assessment of her problem. The third ad may simply be an eBook offer. Remember, these ads appear over a specified time period, say three weeks. In the awareness stage, your ads are providing her with the exact information she’s looking for and your solution remains top-of-mind.

The consideration phase presents another opportunity to customize ads to further address the needs of your prospect. The retargeted ads your prospect sees on websites as she travels around the internet – like offers to download a case study or a white paper – become more precise and specific to the kind of information she’s seeking. You can even begin to personalize ads as your lead moves through the buyer journey.

Setting Your Retargeting Campaign in Motion

By leveraging the information you’ve collected about your prospect’s activity at your website, you can segment the information you deliver by demographics, behaviors, and personas. Segmenting your ads using this method makes your prospect feel as though you are addressing them in a way that’s timely and relevant.

Your creative should be crafted to speak to your prospect’s needs and interests at each stage of the buyer journey, so you’ll want to consider a few things when creating banner ads for your retargeting campaign.

  • First, create several images and test them to see which perform best.
  • Next, make sure the headline and subtext are within the proper character limits.
  • Test these, as well, to see what works best.
  • Finally, include a call-to-action like “Download Now” or “Learn More.”

Campaign Basics

To set yourself up for success, you have to go back to the basics of any good digital marketing strategy. Set your KPIs such as downloads, movement down the funnel, and closed-won opportunities. Then measure the cohort of accounts that were exposed to ads against these as your campaign kicks into high gear.

Finally, identify a landing page that allows your visitor to take only the exact action you want. Limit unnecessary content and make taking that action as simple as possible, like limiting the number of fields a prospect has to fill in to get that eBook or white paper.

It’s no secret that a good return on investment is essential for any successful online ad campaign. Ad retargeting is a particularly smart use of that all-important ad spend. It gives you a much better shot at improving the ROI for your advertising.

Despite tons of success stories, B2B marketers aren’t taking advantage of retargeting like B2C marketers are. What’s holding you back from taking advantage of this awesome tactic?

Now that you know how retargeting works, it’s time to put the strategy into action! Join Linda West, Director of Marketing at Act-On Software and Rodrigo Fuentes, Co-Founder and CEO of ListenLoop, as they discuss how to extend your nurturing capabilities across digital channels so you can generate more sales ready leads, by extending your lead nurturing efforts through retargeting.