Mastering Retargeting: 5 Essential Strategies for Digital Marketers

March 22, 2024 | 6 minute read
Virginia Carcavallo
Practice Manager, Oracle Digital Experience Agency
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Retargeting via email, SMS, push, or social media advertising is no longer just a nice-to-have strategy. Today, it’s a necessity that enables you to reengage customers and drive marketing success.

For digital marketers, retargeting is a strategy used to reengage consumers who have previously interacted with content on their brand’s website or mobile app, but haven’t completed a desired action. For example, perhaps a customer added a product to their shopping cart, but didn’t purchase it. 

Retargeting involves using a variety of channels to remind or incentivize them to return and convert, including potentially:

  • Displaying targeted ads across various online platforms they visit
  • Sending a personalized email (if they’ve opted in)
  • Sending a personalized SMS message (if they’ve opted in)
  • Sending a personalized mobile push notification (if they’ve opted in)
  • Sending a personalized browser push notification (if they’ve opted in)
  • Sending a personalized direct mail piece

By doing this, you increase brand recall, encourage conversions, and maximize the effectiveness of marketing efforts by focusing on consumers who are already familiar with your brand.

During my more than two decades working with clients, I’ve identified five indispensable practices that can help you elevate your retargeting game. Let’s discuss each of them.

1. Prioritize Visitor Identity

Just as in real estate where location reigns supreme, it’s all about visitor identification when it comes to retargeting campaigns. The ability to accurately identify your visitors is paramount for effective engagement.

To accomplish this, conduct thorough and routine audits to ensure your tracking mechanisms are effectively capturing various identifiers, including:

  • Customer IDs
  • Email addresses and hashed email addresses (MD5/SHA256)
  • First-party cookies
  • RIID (Responsys System ID), Eloqua first-party cookie, and other identifiers from non-Oracle platforms

The visitor identifier should be based on your marketing automation solution to allow the integration to take place. To increase your retargeting success, strive for persistent identity, where visitors remain identified across touchpoints. Solutions like Oracle Infinity Behavioral Intelligence offer robust support for persistent identity, setting the stage for optimal visitor match rates.

2. Harness the Power of Data

Dive deep into your visitor behavioral data to uncover valuable insights. Beyond only surface metrics like open and click rates, examine your conversion rates, revenue per email, and click-to-open ratios to understand campaign effectiveness. Explore patterns in visitor behavior, such as cart abandonment points and preferred communication channels, to tailor retargeting efforts for maximum impact.

With a comprehensive grasp of your data, you can craft compelling campaigns that resonate with your audience members. You’ll also be able to learn which attribution models work best for you. Sometimes taking a look at your results through different lenses can bring you more insights than you ever thought. That’s why successful companies are leading the adoption of multi-touch attribution.

Embrace multi-touch attribution and move beyond overly simplistic first- and last-click models.

3. Seek Inspiration from Others

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Draw inspiration from industry peers and best practices. Whether you’re in B2B or B2C, leverage insights from similar verticals and brands to enhance personalization and timing in your communications.

Embrace a consumer-first mindset by immersing yourself in the world of marketing communications firsthand. Sign up for your own marketing campaigns and explore the experiences crafted by your competitors and various other brands in your industry and adjacent industries. 

By putting yourself in the shoes of the consumer, you gain invaluable insights into what resonates, engages, and ultimately converts. This firsthand experience not only allows you to understand the effectiveness of different marketing strategies, but also fosters empathy and creativity in crafting campaigns that truly connect with your target audience. So, dive in, explore, and let firsthand experience guide your journey toward creating impactful marketing communications.

More widely, be sure to keep up with new and evolving marketing trends, so you can stay ahead of the curve. For example, our teams here at Oracle Digital Experience Agency share research on email marketing trends annually and regularly discuss other trends, including digital marketing redesign trends and holiday marketing trends.

Watch how Neostar leverages Oracle Marketing to track and segment customers based on interests, paving the way for customized email campaigns tailored to individual preferences. 

4. Embrace Continuous Testing

Adopt a culture of experimentation by constantly testing and refining your retargeting strategies. From message formats to timing to channel selection, explore diverse approaches to optimize campaign performance. Define a testing plan and what is best for your campaign and website.

For example, you’ll want to test more than just your subject lines. You’ll want to test the time from last action to sending a campaign, and to test different ways to present your offer to get your visitors to convert, as different people value different offers. For instance, some people really dislike paying for shipping, while frequent buyers often really value getting a discount on their next order.

Real-time solutions like Oracle Infinity Behavioral Intelligence enable swift action based on visitor behavior, ensuring timely and relevant retargeting interactions. By iterating and fine-tuning your tactics, you can stay agile as consumer behaviors shift.

Avoid these A/B testing pitfalls.

5. Prioritize Campaigns

With a myriad of retargeting opportunities at your disposal depending on your vertical and market, strategic prioritization is key. Avoid overwhelming your audience with multiple simultaneous campaigns by setting clear priorities based on campaign objectives and audience segments. 

Integrate retargeting seamlessly into existing customer journeys to deliver cohesive and personalized experiences. By streamlining your approach, you can enhance engagement while optimizing costs and generating incremental revenue.

Picture this: You’re orchestrating campaigns tailored to meet the needs of your customers. You’ve got your eye on a set of key use cases that always need to be live, leveraging valuable behavior data to fuel personalized interactions. But wait, there’s a twist—you need to ensure you’re not bombarding visitors who are already engaged in a specific campaign flow, like a welcoming journey for new registrants.

For example, if you have both Category Abandonment and Search Abandonment campaigns set up and a customer takes actions during a session that would trigger them both, which one do you send? Well, it all comes down to analytics insights. While Category Abandonment often signals early-stage research, Search Abandonment indicates a more focused intent, so you’d send that one.

As a general rule, you’ll want to prioritize campaigns that have a stronger impact on the customer journey. That means prioritizing campaigns triggered by higher intent or by actions that take place farther down the funnel. 

Another example: From Browse Abandonment to Cart Abandonment to Checkout Abandonment, each stage offers unique opportunities for re-engagement. However, each one represents higher customer intent, since each one is occuring farther down the funnel. Consequently, Checkout Abandonment almost always packs a higher revenue punch per email compared to its predecessor, Cart Abandonment. And Cart Abandonment campaigns almost always deliver more revenue per email than Browse Abandonment campaigns.

But the magic doesn’t stop there. Picture running parallel campaigns like a product comparison campaign that would supplement a Browse Abandonment campaign. That’s a game-changer for brands offering decision-making support to visitors browsing high-consideration products and services, like service plans, expensive electronics, and industrial equipment. With the right strategies in place, your ecommerce campaigns can truly transform the customer experience. 

Take a deeper dive into how to emphasize the right messages with message prioritization.

In today’s digital age, mastering the art of retargeting is essential for driving marketing success. By focusing on visitor identity, leveraging data insights, seeking inspiration from peers, embracing testing, and prioritizing campaigns, you can elevate your retargeting efforts to new heights. And remember, with solutions like Oracle Infinity at your disposal, effective retargeting is within reach.

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Need help with your retargeting efforts? Oracle Digital Experience Agency has hundreds of marketing and communication experts ready to help Oracle customers create stronger connections with their customers, partners, and employees, even if they’re not using an Oracle platform as the foundation of that experience. Handling everything from creative and strategy to content planning and project management, our award-winning specialists consistently exceed our clients’ expectations, earning a customer satisfaction rate of 96%.

For help overcoming your challenges or seizing your opportunities, talk to your Oracle account manager, visit us online, or email us at OracleAgency_US@Oracle.com.

Virginia Carcavallo

Practice Manager, Oracle Digital Experience Agency

Virginia Carcavallo serves as a Practice Manager at Oracle Digital Experience Agency, bringing over 27 years of rich experience in the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing. Her journey spans across diverse realms of the industry, encompassing distribution, agency work, client-side operations, and consultancy for vendors. This multifaceted background has honed her ability to drive client success through invaluable insights and strategic guidance.

With a foundation rooted in managing many projects simultaneously, Virginia excels in delivering projects with precision and adherence to budgetary constraints. Her proficiency in process optimization and governance empowers her to identify areas for enhancement and implement effective strategies for streamlined operations. Guided by a strategic mindset, she adeptly navigates complexities, offering innovative solutions that propel clients towards their objectives.

Outside her professional pursuits, Virginia finds fulfillment as a dedicated mother to two energetic boys. She enjoys engaging in sports and camping adventures with them, alongside volunteering for various social causes and organizations


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