Home » Who, What and Why is Retargeting

Who, What and Why is Retargeting

by | Jan 23, 2018

By Kristin Dyak, The Cyphers Agency

You’re reading an article about the Best of 2018 fashion trends, and to the right, an advertisement catches your attention. Then you ask yourself, “How do they know I’ve had my eye on that necklace?” No, the Internet isn’t psychic, but it does seem to tap into our thoughts on a regular basis. The answer is retargeting, or behavioral remarketing. This online, targeted marketing tool is a cost-efficient way to attract visitors back to a website.

Do you still think that the Internet is reading your mind? Let’s break down the basics of retargeting.

As several targeting techniques aim to reach a new, prospective audience, companies use retargeting to focus on the repeat or interested customer. The messages are constructed around the interest and demographics of website visitors whose data is collected through various mediums, such as cookies or email lists.

Retargeting can be executed many ways, Pixel-Based and List-Based are the primary methods. Pixel-Based is the most common type of retargeting. HubSpot explains this process of retargeting as such, “When someone comes to your website, an unobtrusive piece of JavaScript (often referred to as a pixel) is placed on their browser — making their browser ‘cookied.’ When they leave your site to surf the web, that cookie notifies retargeting platforms to serve specific ads based on the various pages they visited on your website.” This technology essentially allows for companies to anonymously “follow” their audience throughout the Internet.

Another option is the List-Based method, which is highly impactful if a substantial email database is available. Once the list of the email addresses is uploaded to a retargeting campaign, usually on a social network such as Facebook, then the platform will identify users on that network who have those addresses and serve retargeting ads only to them. Although Pixel-Based is more common, List-Based retargeting is based on more than behavior and allows for highly customizable criteria. The main hiccup with List-Based retargeting is matching the email that is in your database to the address associated with the consumer’s social media accounts. According to MediaMath, “Match rates can vary from 70-80% down to as low as 20-30% for some platforms, so you’ll need a fairly large list to make this type of retargeting effective.”

General online marketing covers a significant amount of digital space. At times it can feel as if a company is throwing away digital ad money into the black hole of the Internet. Retargeting takes intuitive data and technology to pinpoint an interested audience and can ultimately help direct ad spending along with targeted messaging to keep consumers coming back for more.

Targeting a specific audience is a highly optimizable tool. The ability to use retargeting to grow a company’s consumer base and reiterate interest in a product or service has created another link in the online marketing chain. This function assists the success of developing opportunities for advertising on digital platforms.


The Cyphers Agency is a Capitol Communicator sponsor.

About the Author

The Cyphers Agency

Sponsor: The Cyphers Agency, Inc. is an independent, full-service creative agency offering advertising, public relations and digital services with a focus on marketing strategy and brand development. Headquartered in Crofton, Md., the agency works to promote regional and national brands in a range of industries including ADP, Seasons Pizza, Strayer University, Grain Foods Foundation, Capital Bank, Kay Apartments and Advance. Visit www.thecyphersagency.com.


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