AdRoll: Converting the 98 per cent

Advertisement feature

Using retargeting technology can turn almost customers into actual customers, says AdRoll EMEA managing director Marius Smyth.

Marius Smyth

AdRoll logo

On average, only 2 per cent of shoppers make a purchase during their first visit to an online store – leaving 98 per cent of potential customers to browse the web, check out competitor sites or forget about the website altogether. 

Ad retargeting is now one part of the marketing mix that can be effectively deployed to help turn those ‘almost customers’ into ‘actual customers’. 

What is ad retargeting?

Retargeting works by analysing customer behaviour online and then serving those customers with personalised content relating to that brand as they visit other websites. When delivered correctly, retargeting can increase conversion rates by as much as 85 per cent.

Advertising is all about reaching the right person at the right time and with the right message. Retargeting is, therefore, one of the few, if only, advertising techniques out there that delivers in real-time, allowing site owners to reach their customers when they are most engaged. 

While traditional analytics tools collect some intent signals, they require internal analytics teams to scan over that data to identify how a site can be optimised. 

Retargeting is a real-time translation of customer data into effective advertising campaigns that allows online retailers to reach their prospective customers at the right time.

Building a successful retargeting campaign is all about unlocking the data value of your online visitors, and then communicating in real-time with those consumers on a personal yet non-intrusive level.

Harnessing your online data

The amount of web analytics tools available now can be overwhelming for today’s online marketer. Furthermore, even though most website owners have an analytics package in place, many tend to just look at top-line figures such as the total number of website visitors. Taking a closer look at the data, these analytics tools can help identify why potential customers are not converting into actual customers.

For example, if a lot of visitors are putting items in their basket but then abandoning the website before completing their purchases, this could indicate that they are unsure about delivery information or that shipping costs are too high. Retargeting can then be used to provide those customers when they leave with a personalised message offering free shipping.

Today’s marketers now have access to better data about who visits their website and it is important they utilise this to full effect. 

By identifying and understanding ‘intent signals’, such as whether your visitors are browsing or close to purchase or which product types they are looking at, brands can effectively deploy a retargeting campaign that harnesses this granular data to really refine their retargeting approach and in turn increase impact.

How to avoid the common pitfalls of retargeting

Effective retargeting allows online retailers to reach their prospective customers at the right time

The first step in building an effective retargeting strategy is to understand your customers and their behaviour on your website. 

Once you understand customer behaviour, or customer ‘intent’, you can devise a customer segmentation strategy. For example, grouping those who looked at dresses versus those who looked at shoes, or those who looked at online delivery information.  

By segmenting your visitors, a retargeted ad can be shown to each group with a unique message based on which products or web pages they looked at. Furthermore, customers who have already converted can be opted out of being retargeted.

Another common mistake is showing the retargeted ad too frequently. If a potential customer visits a website and suddenly every ad they see is for that brand then they are bound to find the experience overwhelming. 

This can be easily solved by implementing a frequency cap and limiting the rate at which retargeted ads are displayed, which will help prevent overload while maintaining impact. 

However, it is important to understand that the optimum frequency level is different for each vertical such as retail, travel, entertainment and luxury items. What’s more, the first, third, and fifth ad shown to a given web visitor are not all equal in value.

Delivering personalised, targeted content

Once you understand the data behind how visitors are interacting on your website and the common pitfalls of retargeting, the next step is delivering a highly engaging and targeted advert. 

With the recent explosion in online advertising, today’s consumers are exposed to an exponential boom in digital display ads. However, as much as 80 per cent of consumers say that the last ad they saw was not relevant to them. As a result, the key to driving increased value from online visitors is some level of personalisation – giving customers an experience that is tailored to their needs and preferences.

The most effective personalised retargeted ads are those that are delivered to the user at the right time and incentivise the recipient to go back to that website. For example, tailoring the creative to a specific user based on the products they have expressed an interest in will help to deliver a more powerful message and build that desired one-to-one conversation with the customer.

While marketers want to provide relevant, engaging ads that stand out and improve campaign performance, few have the technology and design resources they need to produce personalised display campaigns at scale. But there are products that can help to create dynamic, personalised ads that boost retargeting performance.  

In a world where only a tiny percentage of shoppers make a purchase on the first visit, it is vital for retailers to take advantage of the insight provided by customer behaviour to deliver content that encourages those customers to commit to purchasing. 

By delivering a retargeted ad with the right content to customers at the right time, retailers can help improve conversion rates, sales and brand loyalty.

AdRoll’s LiquidAds help to create dynamic, personalised ads that boost retargeting performance. To find out more about how retargeting can work for your business, AdRoll is giving away five copies of its Retargeting Playbook to the first five people who email: 

Marius Smyth,
EMEA Managing Director,

Level 6,
1 Burlington Plaza,
Burlington Road,
Dublin 4

T: +3531 6532009



    Leave a comment