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How to Build Effective Remarketing (Retargeting) Ad Designs?

Remarketing or Retargeting Ad Design

Retargeting or Remarketing Ads – What are they?

Are you ever left wondering, how to setup a remarketing ad? Better yet, how to setup an effective remarketing ad design? Truth be told, the biggest mistake that marketers (and people) make is that they do not consider a remarketing strategy BEFORE they publish their initial advertisements.

First, let’s define remarketing ads, better yet let us define retargeting ads. Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is a component of internet, digital, search and social media advertising that enables businessess and brands to reconnect with previous visitors to were previously engaged on a website, in a marketing list or from a video that was previously viewed. The benefit of retargeting, or remarketing, is that for most websites, less than 1% of web traffic converts on the first visit while retargeting is a process designed to help marketers reach those 99+% of users who don’t convert right away with an unlimited number of additional chances to convert those consumers.

Retargeting Ad Strategy

Remarketing or Retargeting Ad Design

Remarketing or retargeting ad design begins with a strategy (yes, I will recite this over and over again!). The strategy required needs to addresss 5 basic questions; Who, What, When, Why and How!

  • Who are you retargeting? What consumers are you retargeting? Everyone or a subset of consumers?
  • What are you retargeting? What type of media and copy writing are you placing in front of retargeting consumers?
  • When are you retargeting? When do you places secondary, tertiary, etc. ads in front of consumers?
  • Why are you retargeting? What are the goals
  • How are you retargeting? What is the overall strategy, are you retargeting in one step or a series of steps? How many touchpoints are required?

When all is said and done, a sound remarketing plan or strategy is part of the overall CONSUMER JOURNEY; from initial to awareness to consideration to purchase to service and finally to loyalty. At each step of the consumer journey, effective remarketing addresses a need of the consumer to solve a problem with you presenting a value proposition how your goods or services can help solve that problem and with a clear call-to-action that invokes ACTION by the consumer.

Marketing Touchpoints via Social Media Retargeting

Remarketing or Retargeting Ad Design – Who are you Retargeting?

A simple question, which consumers do want to re-engage with? Do you want to re-engage with EVERYONE (all visitors to your website) or just re-engage with visitors to certain web pages? These are important questions, let us use an example of an attorney. If an attorney is running an advertisement for personal injury, does it make sense to publish remarketing ads to people who have shown an interest in divorce or family law representation?

The absolute best way to control and manage the message, save on time and costs and ensure that you are getting the best return on your advertising investment is to define the exact audience BEFORE you begin your initial advertisement(s).

Remarketing or Retargeting Ad Design – What are you Retargeting?

Another HUGE mistake that many people (and even marketers) make is to publish the same ad over and over gain in their retargeting and remarketing cycles. Remember, there was a reason the consumer did not optin or purchase the first time around, so if you are not presenting new content then you are simply doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Please check out the video below which makes a comparison between Retargeting and ladies night!

Facebook Retargeting vs. Ladies Night

Remarketing or Retargeting Ad Design – When are you Retargeting?

Another critical question that needs to be addressed, when will you display and publish retargeted ads? The answer to this question is typically different for everyone BUT one preliminary question should be asked here;

What is the average lead time for a new customer or client? 

The longer the average amount of time it takes for a typical consumer to purchase from you, the longer the duration in between retargeted ads. Conversely, the shorter the average amount of time it takes for a typical customer or client to purchase from you, the more critical it becomes to hit up the retargeting as hard as possible and as often as possible!

Let us consider two scenarios to further explain and describe what we mean; (1) a roofer and (2) restaurant.

  • Roofer Advertisements – The average time it takes for someone to make a decision is relatively long (I searched long and hard for exact numbers but the best I could find is that the window is 3-4 weeks when the purchase becomes a necessity). The reality here is that you have 3-4 weeks to remain in contention for the new business, our recommendation would be a retargeted ad 2-3 times per week, for a total of 6-12 impressions during the purchasing decision cycle.
  • Restaurant Advertisements – The average purchasing decision for a consumer that wants to go out to eat is immediate! As a restaurant owner or manager, timing is EVERYTHING and timing is CRITICAL! Considering those known facts, one of the recommended strategy for a restaurant would be to publish retargeted ads with daily specials between the hours of 3pm and 7pm everyday. The objectives and goals here are the re-engage with people that have previously shown an interest in your brand (visited your website or watched one of your vidoes), capture that intent with a retargeted ad and then strategically time WHEN to place an ad in front of them!

Remarketing or Retargeting Ad Design – Why are you Retargeting?

Many times when I discuss advertising strategies with business owners, marketers and brand managers we are asked the question;

Do you do retargeting?

We typically respond to this question with a question; Why do you ask? In order to justify implementing retargeting, remarketing or re-engagement ads, their must be a goal or objective. Some examples of goals and objectives below;

  • Insurance Retargeting – To ensure that our brand is a consideration when consumers are considering changing carriers. Timing is critical so we need to make sure insurance advertising has enough different content to present to consumers at strategically determined times. It is also critical in insurance to capture loyalty and referral when publishing retargeting ads.
  • Legal Ad Retargeting – If a consumer has visited specific pages on your website, it can be assumed there is an active interest and/or need for service. The strategy is to stay relevant in the conversation and decision making journey of the consumer, rotating through a series of retargeting ads that communicate VALUE and help the consumer with their decision.
  • Retail (Clothing) – Some retail, such as clothing, is not a one-time purchase or activity. The retargeting goals for clothing retail is to remain relevant with the end game being retention, loyalty and converting customers into brand advocates. Retaining customer by satisfying their purchasing demands, loyalty by ensuring they become frequent customers and brand advocates by promoting among customer that they share your content and experience with your brand.

Every business and every business model has a custom strategy or plan for their retargeting. The biggest mistake you can make here is to “do remarketing or retargeting because your competition is.” Do it with a purpose, do it with a plan, do it with a strategy!

Remarketing or Retargeting Ad Design – How are you Retargeting?

Piggybacking on the WHY question, the how question is important because it helps solve the question; What factors are important in the decision making journey of your typical customers, how many times must they see your brand before they trust you and how many total touchpoints are their in the decision making cycle?

  • Consumer Decision Making Factors – What are the factors and why do people do business with you? If you are retail, do they LOVE your customer service and exchange policy? Maybe they appreciate your prices? Whatever those factors are, you need to address those in your series of initial and retargeting ads. We equate these questions to both the “Problem Statement and Value Proposition” that you present in the marketing place.
  • Number of Impressions – The old marketing adage is SEVEN (7), a consumer must see your brand seven times before they will build enough intitial trust to consider doing business with you. While many still find this “rule” valid and employ it as part of the strategy, more important than the total number of impressions is; A) the quality of the impressions and B) the timing of the impressions.
  • Total Number of Touchpoints – First, we must all understand there is a difference between an impression and a touchpoint. An impression is an advertisement that is impressed upon a consumer, each impression can be the same content (matter of fact, the 7 impression rule can be satisfied with the same ad a total of 7 times). A touchpoint is different in that a touchpoint is a stategically determined piece of content that is presented to a user depending on the previous content viewed by the consumer. A touchpoint is a piece of content that maps directly to the purchasing journey for consumers.

Please see the image below, at 3V we map our purchasing journey to the traditional sales practices of; A) Problem Statement, B) Value Proposition and C) Call-to-Action. We start with a baseline of 3 touchpoints (or steps), with an unlimited number of impressions at each step. Once data is captured, our funnel process and touchpoints allow for additional content to be added or even additional steps to be added, the key being that the funnel and retargeting (remarketing) be flexible to allow for additional content as needed. NOTE: The majority of our funnels leverage video content, the image below depicts a video marketing sales funnel although the same strategy applies for other types of content.

Internet, search and social media basic sales funnel

Summary and Takeaway: Remarketing Strategy Needs to be Defined at the Beginning of a Campaign

As “remarketing” (or retargeting) becomes more and more of a craze in the marketing and advertising world, many fail because a remarketing strategy is an after thought. A robust remarketing or re-engagement strategy at the beginning of a campaign will certainly help you lay out a game plan and foundation for a successful campaign, it is also imperative to have a flexible strategy that can be adapted once intelligence is gained at each touchpoint (or step in your funnel).


Michael Lucy
Michael Lucy
Michael Lucy is an avid digital marketer with a deep-rooted passion for anything and everything involving technology. Michael has owned and operated 3V for nearly 8 years - AND - has now taken the knowledge and experience acquired over that period and has started an insurance and financial services brokerage (https://leavealegacynotdebt.com).

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