The Retargeting Playbook – How to Turn Web Window Shoppers into Customers

Adam Berke, Gregory Fulton and Lauren Vaccarello. Wiley. €23

Mon, Jul 28, 2014, 01:00


Book Title:
The retargeting playbook – how to turn web window shoppers into customers


Adam Berke, Gregory Fulton , Lauren Vaccarello


Guideline Price:

Turning eyeballs into paying customers is the Holy Grail of web-based marketing and this book, written by three of the senior executives at AdRoll, a firm that specialises in this endeavour, aims to show users how it’s done.

Retargeting is a term that refers to the process of converting viewers to customers and optimising the chances that they don’t leave sites without making purchases.

Forrester research, we learn here, shows that only 3 per cent of customers make a purchase in their first visit to an online store. Even those who visit e-commerce sites with the express intention of purchasing, often get as far as the checkout but ultimately fail to make purchases, for a variety of reasons including distraction, last-minute comparison with other sites or concern about shipping costs.

One of the simplest example of a retargeting campaign is one that targets this group of “cart abandoners”. With proper analytic tools, this group can be easily identified and an appropriate series of ads can be used to target them.

Sometimes all it takes to push someone over the edge to make a purchase is an ad that reminds them of the quality of the merchandise that they were considering purchasing. Other strategies include offering a discount on those same products.

Care needs to be exercised here, the authors caution.

You don’t want to encourage cart abandonment behaviour with the promise of a better deal so discounting should only be used as a last tactic in a suite of marketing activity, typically around a week into the process.

Once the preserve of the business-to-consumer (B2C) market, it is now increasingly being used in the business-to-business (B2B) market as well where longer sales cycles are increasingly the norm.

Not surprisingly, the advertising industry is a keen proponent of this form of marketing.

The retargeting business is increasingly making use of Big Data and the ability to execute intelligent bidding based on how valuable a particular user is to a specific brand.

Where once advertisers simply wanted to know which sites to target, now the approach is much more granular and they want to know which users are likely to convert into customers, when they will do so and what approaches are needed to get them over the line.

When approaching retargeting, you need to start broadly and then drill down into more targeted audiences as you learn what is working.

You can discover for example what the order value is from someone who comes to you via Facebook as opposed to a display ad. You can see how much more likely it is for someone to make a purchase once they have looked at multiple products on your site.

Formal analytic tools are powerful but to really turbo-charge your marketing, you need to combine them with additional measures.

The authors suggest using live chat as a way of connecting with customers on a daily basis. This allows you to get to hear what they are thinking about and what their “pain points” are. There are a number of very simple-to-install live chat tools, including one recommended here called Olark, which can be found at

Another tip is to comb through customer service emails to see what topics are important to customers.

As the authors acknowledge, retargeting tactics will have to continue to evolve as consumer behaviours change and new technologies emerge.

The biggest change is likely to be around the rapidly growing mobile device area. One of the major issues here is the different standards between devices, operating systems and the so-called “walled garden” between mobile web and apps.

The trend of users moving from single desktop web experience to a fragmented one across multiple devices and apps will involve ad formats changing and adapting to this new behaviour pattern. Marketers who can become masters in this new environment and who can reach users across the spectrum of their digital engagement will become ever more powerful, it appears.