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Are retargeting ads a dying tactic? How to rethink your remarketing program

Most people, even if they’re only viewing them from a consumer’s perspective, are familiar with retargeting ads. After you view a certain product or visit a website, they’re the ads that then start following you around the internet, encouraging you to keep the brand you’ve already expressed interest in top of mind and, hopefully, convert to a customer. Many of them are intrusive and annoying. Others serve as helpful reminders. Regardless of where you stand on retargeting, a lot is changing in this realm of digital advertising.

Last year, an iOS update greatly affected the way advertisers are able to utilize retargeting ads by allowing users to decide whether or not to allow apps to track their habits. Unsurprisingly, a whopping 96% of users have opted out after being given the choice.

If this wasn’t a significant enough hit to your retargeting program, Chrome also has a plan in place to phase out third-party cookies by the end of 2023, meaning now is the time to rethink your digital advertising strategy if you’re currently relying heavily on retargeting.

Let’s say retargeting becomes a thing of the past. What can you do to stay in front of and RE-engage your warm audience?

Double down on building out your database

  1. Work on building out your email list so that you’re able to follow up with your leads via email and text message, and if you’re set on incorporating retargeting ads, utilizing a quality email list is one way to continue to do that. While users may have opted out of tracking from apps and websites, advertisers will still be able to retarget them by uploading their email list database to Google and Facebook ad platforms and retargeting in that way.

  2. Use a pop-up to encourage web visitors to sign up for future communication from your brand. In a time when all of our inboxes are inundated with communications from mailing lists we don’t even remember signing up for, the key to getting them to actually share their personal information with you is ensuring that there’s something in it for them. Maybe that’s a discount code, free download or product, or something else of value to your particular audience. You want to establish the value your brand can provide early on so they’re primed to pay attention the next time you reach out.

Here’s an example that’s done well.

Maximize native platform retargeting

Don’t forget about audiences that are engaging with your social profiles. You can create retargeting audiences for all users who have engaged with your Facebook and Instagram pages through shares, likes, video watches, etc., and create specific campaigns targeting people who have interacted with your assets.

Use a third party tracking system

Platforms like Hyros and Triple Whale can be integrated into your website just like any tracking snippet and are used to communicate back to the advertising platform which visitors converted — though keep in mind, these platforms still miss a large percentage of data due to iOS restrictions.

Focus on top of funnel content

Retargeting ads, by nature, are targeting the portions of your audience that are further down your marketing funnel (in other words, closer to converting to a customer because they’ve already been exposed to your brand). With fewer opportunities to get in front of that previously engaged audience, focus on quality content to hook new visitors as soon as they’re introduced to your brand.

Consider topics that will be of interest to users who are in the initial stages of looking into what you do and how your services might benefit them. Work on creating blog posts or other content that will answer their questions and position you as an authority in your field. Becoming a key resource early on helps build trust as they get to know your brand.

Don’t forget that this type of content is a great way to work this audience into your database. At the end of your blog posts, offer a downloadable piece of content – an extension of what they’re already reading is a great idea – so that you’re able to add them to your email list.

In our view, while the technical aspects of retargeting via display ads may be more limiting, this is an opportunity to think more holistically about remarketing. Take the time to create messaging specific to re-engaging a warm audience to offer them something from your brand that they’ve learned to trust.


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