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E-Marketing Performance Blog

How Does Retargeting Work on Real-Time Bidding Platforms?

Retargeting is a way to bring back users who left your website without converting.

Image source: Omar Barcena


[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Retargeting is a way to bring back users who left your website without converting.[/inlinetweet] These users are potentially valuable, and campaigns targeted at these users often perform much better than standard display campaigns.

While retargeting audiences are naturally more engaged than broad contextual or demographic audiences, it’s important to set campaigns up correctly to maximize performance. Here’s a quick overview of how to setup a retargeting campaign on an Real-Time Bidding (RTB) platform.

Step 1: Adding retargeting code to your website

To create a new audience, you need to place a piece of code on your website. You can either build an audience of all visitors to your site or create more specific retargeting lists for different pages. There are other types of retargeting – including search retargeting – but site retargeting is the most common.

Once the code has been placed, any user who visits these pages has a cookie placed on their browser. This cookie tells advertising platforms which users belong to a retargeted list so that ads can be shown. The whole process of retargeting is anonymous – only the cookie is recognized.

Step 2: Creating a campaign on an RTB platform

Once a retargeting list has been built, you can then use it as a targeting option when creating a campaign. This is usually a simple process, and other targeting options can be layered with a retargeted audience for an even more specific campaign. You might decide to retarget users in a certain state, for example, if you are running a location-specific offer.

Bidable also provides a number of additional options when retargeting a campaign. These include when to start retargeting a user (immediately or a certain number of hours after a visit), whether to target all users or specific segments, and how long after the cookie is placed to target the users. It’s important to test the effect of changing these variables on your campaign’s performance.

Step 3: Ad is served to users around the web

Whenever your retargeting pixel is detected on a placement available to an RTB network, there is a chance for your ad to be shown. Impressions on RTB platforms are sold via auctions in real-time. Whether your ad is shown depends on your bid relative to other advertisers.

RTB platforms can serve ads on thousands of different locations around the web. This makes the chances of reaching retargeted users very high. For the greatest potential reach, you should create banners of different sizes, so that your ads appear on more placements. RTB platforms can also provide information about which banner sizes have the most volume.

Why is retargeting important?

Most users who visit your website will probably never convert. The exact percentage of non-converting users varies, but it is almost certainly a large amount. Many of these users are never seen again, even though they may have been interested in your products.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Retargeted ads usually show far greater engagement and better performance than regular banner ads[/inlinetweet]. The users are already pre-qualified, so they are much more likely to click. Performance does depend on how the retargeted list is collected though, and how soon after visiting a user is retargeted.

Note that Retargeting as a term is not to be confused with Real-Time Bidding. Retargeting is one tactic of many that can be employed through so-called Demand Side Platforms (DSPs). Demand Side Platforms have revolutionized the online marketing industry over the last few years because instead of negotiating directly with publishers, or buying impressions in fixed rate packages from ad networks, advertisers can now purchase inventory through real-time auctions. This allows them to be a lot more targeted in their advertising and in addition that advertising is much cheaper than direct advertising.

Rosy Rana of BidableGuest blogger Rosy Rana is a writer about all things digital marketing and specializes in online advertising, search engine optimization and social media strategy. Being in the industry for 5 years, Rosy has worked with clients in a diverse set of industries including health, electronics, real-estate and the mobile application ecosystem and is currently a writer for Bidable, the self-serve RTB advertising platform.

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