How Those Same Online Ads Follow You Around By Retargeting

a surprised online shopper who is retargetedDid you know that you’re being stalked online. Almost every retail site or blog that you go on, which has advertising on it, the algorithms are now slick enough to instantly decide if you’re just a casual surfer without intent, or if you’re a real potential customer with credit card in hand, ready to make a purchase.

So if you’re considered to be a likely buyer, what may appear are the same identical ads which will follow you around while you surf from site to site.

It’s pretty well known that conversion rates on e-commerce sites are extremely low. For every 1000 people who visits a site, approximately 1.9% percent, or 19 out of the every 1000 visitors will actually buy something. The other 98.1% percent are just passing by. They may however, sometime in the future, eventually return and buy something, someday.

So the riddle that these online retailers face is deciding which of those 981 will return again. They now have a better chance to do so by nudging them back to their site, by reshowing them targeted ads once they leave. This is known as “retargeting,” and it’s a common practice on the Web.

You Most Likely Have Been Retargeted If…
So there you are going from site to site on the Internet, just virtual window shopping, when suddenly you notice that a familiar ad for a particular product, which you’ve previously looked at on a completely different website, reappears again. If this has ever happened to you, then you’ve been retargeted.

This technology is already in place and used by various advertising networks and platforms. What their algorithm does is it will analyze a particular online retail sites traffic, and predict whether a particular visitor who leaves the site is likely to return again, and potentially become a customer of that site they just left.

For those who are thought to most likely return again, they’re then retargeted by being shown ads for the previous site’s products, whenever the opportunity arises. This would apply, however, on other sites who are participating on these various bidding exchanges which are used to fill ad space on their sites.

There is also proof that retargeting works, as up to 7.5% percent of these visitors actually decide to click on the targeted personalized ads. This retargeting technology is ten times more effective than the generic click-through rates from the conventional Web ads. Around 4% percent of those who happen to click through on a retargeted ad, also eventually end up making a purchase.

The Future Of Retargeting Ads
What the tracking system does is it will assess the site visitors patterns by analyzing their surfing habits, much like a well trained commission salesperson would when reading cues from a customer who’s intent on purchasing something in a “brick and mortar” store at the mall.

Once you walk into a retail shop, say for instance, a car dealership, the salesperson will instantly begin developing a profile on you, this based on your mannerism, who you’re with, and even what you’re wearing. Obviously, when it comes to the online world, these signals are much harder to establish.

Online Retargeting Techniques
When it comes to online retargeting, what is taken into consideration is a tremendous amount of data which is provided by the online retailers who they’re working with.

For instance, once someone happens to visit a particular retailers website, the very first thing that’s examined by these algorithms is where this particular visitor had been previously.

Once they reach the retailers site, did they immediately click on an ad or read a blog article. How did they end up on the site, was it directly from a search engine query, or was it from checking out other unrelated products.

Once the visitor reaches the retailers site being tracked, what did the visitor do first. Did they leave the site after seeing just one product page, or did they appear to be comparison shopping.

What’s also taken into consideration is what products the visitors browsed, or if a particular category or categories were browsed, and how popular the items that they viewed are.

Oh Those Evil Cookies
These slick algorithms will also record the time of day, as well as the surfers IP address to determine whether they’re browsing from home, work, or using a coffee shop Wi-Fi. Then, it’ll track what the user does next by planting a “cookie” on their Web browser, which is a standard method of tracking people online.

Cookies for a while has been a controversial issue, but they’re not usually as sinister as they may seem. The majority of cookies do not store or collect any identifying information on a particular user. What most of the cookies are interested in is the behavior and characteristic of the person who’s behind the computer. It’s not to steal their identity.

Retargeting Getting More Advanced
Retargeting will most likely get a lot more precise. Some experts predict that it can eventually increase online sales for a merchant who’s using this technology by up to 25% percent.

They can do so by pinpointing and then identifying and following which of the consumers are more than likely to purchase something. One method is by offering online coupons or promos. The user who accept the coupon, for instance, as an inducement, are obviously ready to buy.

Similarly, some retailers will offer an opportunity to use a coupon when the consumer is ready to check out. There are also those who don’t bother with coupon codes, and just proceed through with the purchase without using one.

There is another segment of consumers who will actively search the Web to find coupon codes for immediate discounts. Once they find one, they will return back to complete their transaction.

There is also technology in place where retailers will display a “popup” of a coupon code, just to get the sale, if they feel that the consumer is on the fence about making a purchase. If the retailer feels that the surfers behavior shows they’re not interested, they won’t bother either.

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