One of the biggest problems that companies face with their websites is traction, the ability to get first time visitors to return. Lots of money is spent on digital campaigns to drive new traffic to websites, but only a small percentage of users follow through on the call to action to create a complete conversion, or return again during the same or future campaigns.
To combat this problem Google launched retargeting, which essentially allows companies to show ads to users who've previously visited their website as they browse the internet. This has had a big impact on the digital landscape for advertisers.
The primary benefits of retargeting are increased brand recall, greater online engagement and more likely conversion to purchase.
Retailers with an ecommerce site have been quick to use retargeting because people are already online, and their conversion rates from advertising to purchasing are easy to track.
In South Africa, there are a number of advertisers, including online retailers, banks, telecoms as well as small and medium business owners that have taken advantage of this innovation.
As with most targeted online advertising, the key to using this tool successfully is to accurately define the parameters.
One of the biggest challenges for retargeting has been that people use multiple devices and retargeting is currently only effective on a single platform. However, Google is now broadening and improving its retargeting platform to allow advertisers to reach people who've visited their sites with ads on tablets and smartphones too.
And it makes sense. Just think about the way you use your different devices every day. You wake up and check your phone, you may do a quick search for the Pilates class at your local gym. While you're browsing you see an ad about a new range of Nike shoes. At work you're on your laptop for most of the day and every now and then you still see the Nike ad with great images of the new range. Finally, while you're on the couch at home watching TV and browsing on your tablet you catch another glimpse of the Nike shoes, so you take a moment to research the product properly and end up buying a pair.
This is a major breakthrough for advertisers that want to run campaigns where they can connect with people as they engage with multiple devices during the course of a day. Getting access to all these touch points would give advertisers the added advantage of increasing brand recall with a potential client.
As the advertising sector continues to adapt to the changing demands of an online world, retargeting offers unique and sustained contact with target audiences that advertisers can use to great effect.