Let’s start with a scenario you probably know pretty well. You’re a small business owner who has invested some of your marketing budget in search engine optimization and/or marketing. By now, you’ve done some research on display advertising and have learned that Vantage Local offers the unique, industry-leading solution for businesses of your size and structure. Using our state-of-the-art creative design, we’ll only show your display ad to target customers who browse websites whose content matches your offering and who live in your local geographical area. If all goes according to plan, you’ll soon have an upsurge in local customers visiting your business. Our reports will monitor your improvement, showing the click-through rate on your unique display ad. Revenue increases should be on the horizon.

We know what you’re thinking: display advertising certainly seems great, but you doubt there’s actually a correlation between the number of people who click on your ad or visit your website and the actual conversion rate of closing a sale. You’ve done your research and know that, according to industry standards, a whopping 98% of one-time visitors to company websites do not complete a sale. What’s more, online marketing is so anonymous! Traditionally, you’ve been able to nurture and follow up on potential customers who visit or call your store; in the labyrinth of the web, you have no way to track potential customers viewing your ad or visiting your website. Once they’re gone, they’re gone, leaving no virtual trace.

Until now, that is. Retargeting is online advertising’s solution to this problem.

The basic idea behind retargeting is simple: when someone clicks on your display ad or visits your company website, you can identify the browser with a virtual tag. As this user later browses the web–reading the news, scanning facebook, even comparing you with your competitors–your ad will follow him or her on practically any website on the web, providing a gentle but consistent reminder of the value of your product. Retargeting technology will therefore keep your product front and center to potential buyers, nurturing their interest. What was once passive curiosity becomes active desire. Lured by your ad, your disinterested browser is now a target customer. And boom – by the second, third…fifteenth view of your ad, your browser decides he or she will make time this Saturday to visit your store. In short, retargeting is the most effective online advertising strategy to optimize your customer conversion.

A New Spin on Familiar Techniques

The two basic insights behind retargeting are not new. They are the online advertising translation of classic sales and marketing techniques: brand presence and targeted prospect nurturing.

Traditionally, the big-name, large enterprise strategy of flooding the public sphere with their brand remained a pipe dream for small businesses. Overlooking the mammoth price of launching a large-scale branding campaign, it doesn’t make business sense for small, local businesses to reach a customer base on an international scale. Retargeting therefore preserves the psychology behind big branding while reducing execution to a small business scale. Seeing your ad pop up all over the web, your browser will have the feeling that your business is huge, all over the place, not only on his or her mind but on everyone’s mind. That is, your browser doesn’t know that your ad is only following him or her. While you save money by focusing your efforts on self-selecting customers, these customers will affiliate your brand with big names like Apple, Nike, or Starbucks.

Second, retargeting is the online analogue to traditional lead nurturing that you know so well. While you may not have detailed information about your online prospects, you will know that they have demonstrated interest in your business because you will know that they have clicked on your ad or visited your landing page. Repeatedly showing your prospect your ad is a hands-off, automatic means to nurture your online leads while you focus your attention on managing other aspects of your business. This is just like having your sales team follow up on registered leads, with the difference that the process takes place automatically on the web, letting your prospect do your sales work for you.

How does Retargeting Work? 

The technology behind retargeting entails seven simple steps:

  1. We place a small piece of HTML code on your Vantage Local display ad and/or company web page(s)
  2. A user clicks on your Vantage Local display ad. If you have a company website, he or she is directed to your company landing page
  3. This user is labled with a tag called a “retargeting pixel”. Consider this to be a virtual tracking device.
  4. The next time this user opens his or her browser, you know he or she is there.
  5. Thanks to Vantage Local’s large ad exchange partner base, your ad can show up on practically any new webpage your prospect visits on the web
  6. Your prospect remembers his or her former interest in your product. He or she either clicks on your ad to return to your site, or visits your location
  7. Your customer converts and you close your sale

The idea behind building up a retargeting audience is that the people who comprise this audience segment have already demonstrated an interest in your product or service, and although they may not have converted the first time around, there is a higher probability that they will convert once they are retargeted. It’s your key to nurturing virtual leads, wherever prospects may go online.