The Local Marketing Stack
Retargeting & Audience Matching
Zone 5 • Difficulty: • Sugg. D.I.Y. Monthly Budget: $100+
As a consumer, if you’ve ever browsed a product page of a major retailer’s website (say Amazon or Macy’s), and then seen an ad for that exact same product in your Facebook feed or in a banner on an unrelated website (like a newspaper or other media site), you have been retargeted.
How it works
Retargeting technology places a cookie (a miniature digital tracking file) on your computer, phone, or tablet, passes information to a central database about the page or pages you were viewing, and then depending on the parameters set by the advertiser, shows ads to you when other websites connected to the same database detect that cookie.
Don’t overdo it!
Overdone retargeting definitely gets into the realm of “creepy” pretty quickly and can backfire, but done well it can be a valuable way to resurface your business to prospective customers who, for whatever reason, were not ready to purchase from you on their initial website visit.
Audience Matching: Retargeting’s cousin
Audience matching works in a similar fashion, but instead of retargeting your existing customers or visitors, audience matching services look for new customers that match the demographic and/or geographic profile of your existing customers or visitors. (Another term for audience matching a “lookalike audience,” which is the term popularized by Facebook.)
The power of an email address
Both retargeting and audience matching are possible even without a website visit. Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (among others) allow you to upload a list of your customers’ email addresses, and can serve them, or users that look like them, whatever ads you’d like. This kind of targeting is another reason that collecting customer information at every stage you can is so valuable.
Offline cookies: possible but risky
Devices like beacons are beginning to extend retargeting and audience matching to offline visits as well as online visits, but there are a number of privacy concerns with third-party beacon networks, so it’s best to stick with Facebook’s beacon program if this is something that interests you.