What Makes a Good Retargeting Ad?

Direct response display advertising is all the rage and with the holidays coming, advertisers are creating deeply segmented lists based on user behavior and site activity to retarget. But what about ad creative itself? It’s important to make sure your ad messaging gives you the best chance in terms of sales lift for each of your custom audiences. Follow these tips for dynamite retargeting ad creative.

Segment

Segmentation is a big part of display advertising, especially if your goals are direct response focused. Creating segmented lists is the easy part (usually). Using information about the members of that segmented list in ad messaging and creating is often where the ball drops.

Create ads that will resonate with each segmented audience. What do you know about them? Include imagery and copy what speaks directly to the age, gender, location, and interests of the segment.

If you’re flying blind here, a great way to gather information is to set up a Google AdWords Remarketing campaign and review the placement performance report to see what type of sites users visit. The information in this report is essentially the browser history of the user segment you are targeting. Take a look at those sites and draw some inspiration for your own creative ad, based on the content your visitors like.

segmentation

Familiarity

The most powerful aspect of retargeting is the knowledge you have on the user segment based on their behavior on your website. Make use of this information in your ad creative! Use familiar imagery and copy from what you know redarding where your segment has been on your site and what they have done.

Has this segment viewed a specific product on your site without completing a purchase? Has the segment used a tool on your site? Create your ads in a way that they deliver this information to the specific user to get them to come back and complete the transaction. Just be careful not to cross the line into creepy ad territory.

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Bribery

What about offers? Does it make sense to offer a bribe to customers whom with their behavior on your site, expressed interest in your product or service? Yes, it’s ok to bribe your customers to come back and purchase.

Yankee Candle Company did this by retargeting customers who placed an item in their shopping cart but did not follow through with their purchase by offering $10 off of a purchase of at least $25. They were able to get 10% of the 41k users they targeted to come back and purchase. Not a bad campaign if you ask me!

bribery

Eye Catching Images

Don’t forget, this medium is still display advertising. Which means you’re interrupting users’ regularly scheduled browsing experience. Your ad copy still needs to stand out and distract your target audience from what they’re doing online. They’re not specifically looking for you. You’ll have to wave your arms in the air and get their attention. Make sure you use colors, images, and headlines that stand out against the content on the pages where you place.

Also, don’t forget to consider your retargeting platform. If you’re running in the Facebook Exchange (FBS), use faces and pictures of people in your ad creative!

Branded Not Branding

Retargeting ads need to be branded. Since the audience you’re targeting has already visited your site, they’re familiar with you as a brand. That does not mean you should run an ad that is only branded. You have to remember the call to action along with all the tips described above.

Branded Not Branding

Running ad creative that is purely branding focused will result in less than optimal retargeting performance. This medium is designed to bring users back to your site to perform your desired action. To convert!

Give your campaign the best chance possible and create ads that stand out, catch attention, are familiar, and speak directly to your target segment.

What ad creative tips do you have? Share them in the comments!

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.

Author: Heather Cooan

Heather Cooan is Director of Client Services for paid media firm Clix Marketing. Heather is a regular writer and speaker on topics including paid search, social media, web analytics, and display advertising. She has also contributed to many publications on the same topics and served as a technical editor of Google AdWords – Managing Your Advertising Program (O’Reilly Media, 2011).

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