retargeting filters

Retargeting is powerful paid channel that can drive lots of pipeline growth. Being able to serve specific ad campaigns to prospects who have already engaged with your brand is the stuff that David Ogilvy dreamed of 40 years ago. What retargeting filters do you have, and what should you be using?

But if you’re just targeting every person that views your website, you’re missing a lot of potential. By being careful with retargeting filters you can narrow the audience keeping costs lower, and dramatically increasing conversion rates.

Depending on what your marketing tech stack looks like, some of these filters may be applied through the ad platform, while others will require setup within a marketing automation platform.

1 – Time filters

The value in retargeting comes from the top-of-mind effect. The prospect has engaged with your brand recently and is significantly further along the buying path than a random prospect. Retargeting can often be the thing that pushes someone who is close to purchase- however, the longer it’s been since they engaged with your brand, the less-likely they are to purchase.

Adjust the filters on how long to continue targeting a prospect based on your average buying cycle for the product the prospect was investigating. E-commerce B2C brands should consider very short re-targeting (less than a week) traditionally, while B2B brands with larger purchases might consider ending the campaigns closer to the 30-60 day mark. If you’re going to go with a longer period before removing them from retargeting entirely, consider having multiple campaigns to differentiate different amount of time since activity. The shorter the time, the higher you can pay for impressions because those leads are going to be the ones more likely to convert.

2 – Prospect vs customer filters

Be sure you have separate campaigns for those that purchase and those that haven’t purchased. There may still be value in marketing to those who have purchased if up selling and cross selling are part of your marketing strategies.

Be sure the campaigns for prospects are different from customers or recent purchasers. Its a waste of money and will hurt your conversion if you are serving “buy this!” ads to people who recently bought.

3 – Low interest

If someone visits your site and quickly bounces, they aren’t a good prospect. If you use out-of-box retargeting solutions, often users who just engage with a single page will still be targeted. Set a filter so only leads who view multiple pages get moved into potential retargeting campaigns.

There may be a few exceptions to this rule- If you invest heavily in content marketing, there may be single page visits that when coupled with a long time-on-page do actually indicate a prospect. However, if you are going to add someone to a retargeting campaign for a single page view make sure it isn’t for any page, and if you have the ability to capture their scroll distance on the page, or their time on page, be sure to put some reasonable minimum requirements that take those factors into account.

4 – Careers filter

If someone has visited your /careers/ or /jobs/ pages there is no reason to be serving ads to them. While many brands set thresholds and are careful to not retarget users who only visit one page, they drop the ball by including users who have visited their careers page. In many ways, job seekers mimic good prospects (multiple sessions, multiple page views per session, etc.) so filters to remove job hunters are key.

Along the same line, are there other pages on your site that are also negative signals? Often viewers of the “partners” section aren’t active prospects either. Spend a few minutes with your site map and add filters to catch users who aren’t prospects based on what pages they are viewing.

5 – Demographic data

If you are using a marketing automation platform for retargeting filters, you may have a lot of options for additional demographic data points that can be filtered out. This would require the lead to be a known lead, but if you already know who they are, use it!

Some possible demographic filters:

  • Email address contains: .edu,.gov,.org
  • Location is not: United States, Canada
  • Job title contains: Contractor, consultant
  • Company revenue: Less than $10M

If you start looking through the demographic data points you collect on prospects, you may find other things that can be used for filters as well. It also doesn’t ever hurt to ask the sales team, “what are common indicators that someone isn’t going to purchase?” and see if they have any insight as well.

Besides the above five filters, what other filters do you use to remove people from your ad campaigns? Comment below with that works for your brand!

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