The Key to Retargeting Success is Audience Segmentation

Brenda Ton
February 26, 2015

If your retargeting campaigns are not performing as you expect, there's a good chance that you need to improve your segmentation. The biggest mistake a marketer can make in retargeting is to assume that all visitors are alike and show every visitor the same ads. By being lazy and not segmenting your visitors into pools, your results will be poor and a lot of your impressions will simply be wasted, irrelevant spend. For instance, it doesn't make sense to target a user who has viewed a page about shampoo and show them a banner ad for cat litter.

The secret to successful retargeting is audience segmentation. By segmenting audiences, you will be able to identify and understand the different behaviors and intent of the users on your site. This is very important because it allows you to aggressively target users with relevant ad messages, making the retargeting experience personalized.

You can easily setup segments by URL within your retargeting platform once your pixels are setup. There is no right way to segment your users. It depends on what type of business you're in, what part of the funnel the visitor falls into, and what your goals are.

If you are a B2B marketer, you may want to consider the following segments and targeted messages:

  • People who visited a whitepaper page and didn't convert > Send them to whitepapers and webinars
  • People who visit the blog > Send them whitepapers and webinars
  • People who visit platform or service features > Send them to a free trial or demo
  • People who attended a webinar > Send them to a demo or customer case studies

If you're a retail marketer, you may want to consider the following segments and targeted messages:

  • People who abandon the cart > Send them a dynamic ad of the items in their cart and a free shipping offer
  • People who complete a purchase > Send them a thank you offer to incentivize their return
  • People who previously purchased in category > Send them an ad informing of new items in stock or informing them of a sale
  • People who viewed different product types > Send them a dynamic ad with the recent products they viewed in that category or back to the categories they browsed with an offer. The segmentation would look like this:

You also want to make sure that your audience segments do not overlap, so be sure to exclude people in other segments you may already be targeting in other campaigns, as well as irrelevant people, like those who may simply be looking for a job at your company.

It makes sense to only segment sections of your website with significant traffic. I would recommend 5k cookied visitors at the very least, otherwise you will be doing a lot of work for very little to no return.

There is one more thing to consider - recency. Users who have visited your site and viewed a product 5 hours ago are more likely to convert than a user who visited 15 days ago. The first step is to break your visitors into segments, but you will need to associate that with a lookback window. It is worth testing out different hours and days and it can make a huge difference in ROI.

Do keep in mind that too much segmentation may not make sense and will make your campaigns tedious to manage, so you should think strategically about which stage in the funnel your visitors fall into and segment accordingly.

Happy retargeting!

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