Simply put, retargeting (also known as remarketing) is the practice of tagging a user who visits your website so that you can show them ads later on to bring them back again. It’s a known fact that a good portion of the users who hit your website will not convert into followers, customers, users, etc. So retargeting allows you to show them advertising after they leave in an attempt to win them over.

How Retargeting Works

To understand how retargeting works you first have to understand how “cookies” work. When we speak of cookies we aren’t talking about the kind you eat with a cool glass of milk. We are talking about something that embeds in your browser as you surf the internet.

What Are Cookies?

A quick Google search for the question “what are cookies on a computer?” turns up the site – it defines cookies as follows:

Cookies are small files which are stored on a user’s computer. They are designed to hold a modest amount of data specific to a particular client and website, and can be accessed either by the web server or the client computer. This allows the server to deliver a page tailored to a particular user, or the page itself can contain some script which is aware of the data in the cookie and so is able to carry information from one visit to the website (or related site) to the next.

Retargeting a Javascript driven technology that embeds in a user’s browser when they load a particular page. This “cookie” then allows you to show that user ads all over the web using programmatic advertising technology, or real time bidding.

When To Use Retargeting

In order to engage a retargeting campaign you first must have a large amount of traffic visiting your website that can be cookied and retargeted. In other words, you can’t simply start and run a retargeting campaign. It’s typically done in conjunction with other forms of marketing that drive the traffic to your site first. As one example, brands who spend big on pay-per click advertising almost always run a retargeting component. The conversion rates with retargeting are much higher because you’re only showing your ad to people who have a known interest in what you’re doing. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have visited your site in the first place.

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