Media Buys through Retargeting – Do They Work?

Media buys can be a very effective means of driving traffic to your website and spreading your brand to new corners of your niche online. But how do you use them effectively while eliminating wasted spend and page views? One method that has become increasingly effective and profitable is retargeting.

The idea is very simple. When someone lands on your website, a cookie is put on their machine. You can then choose which sites your ads will be placed on and present banners and animations that entice them to return and finish their purchase order or read more about your products or services.

How Retargeting Works for Affiliates

Paid advertising for affiliates is a mixed bag most of the time. It can work when done properly, but more often than not it is done improperly and the effects are not good. The problem is that affiliates either lack the brand awareness of a larger company that uses these techniques or they don’t take advantage of the brand they have.

Good retargeting requires three things:

1. A clear product, service, or idea to sell
2. A clear audience to target
3. A clear metric for success in conversion

So if you haven’t yet defined these three things, media buys in general – let alone retargeting – could be a wasted endeavor. You need to know what you are selling, how to define a potential customer when they land on one of those pages, and how to determine if the conversion is successful in the future.

For an affiliate, that most often means creating landing pages with free content that builds trust with your audience (and promotes products) and retargeting people who land on that page, spend more than 10 seconds there (i.e. don’t bounce) and don’t sign up. If someone takes the time to read your landing page (or a review you write for a product) and doesn’t convert, that is a great targeting option.

Where to Buy Media

The point of retargeting is that you go and find a prospect where they already are and show them your ads. But some locations are better than others. For example, impressions on a news or magazine site are often empty – meaning the prospect rarely actually sees the ad.

On the other hand, banners and ads placed on a blog or a forum where the user might see the ad many times and spend a large amount of time on that page reading a post or interacting with content, is much higher. At the same time, it seems more likely that they would see the ad and the “creepy” factor is decreased (at least marginally).

If you choose to use retargeting in addition to your traditional media buys, make sure you take the time to create a plan. Know exactly who you want to target and why you want to target them. Spending big money to retarget anyone who has been on your site is a waste if your site is authoritative and filled with articles – why retarget someone who was only looking for a quick answer? These questions can save you a lot of money.