Retargeting Is The Sh!#!

I was talking to Gauher yesterday about retargeting and how many people are using it/know about it etc.  The discussion turned to how so many big brands even, are completely stupid about how they do their retargeting (and eventually got into what he’s personally doing with his retargeting, which I’ll tell you about in a minute).

For example, ever seen a LiquidWeb, RackSpace, HostGator, or GoDaddy retargeting campaign – even when you’re already a customer?

Why are they pitching you to become a customer when you already are one?

They should be pitching you upsells!  They should be communicating with you as the existing good customer that you are!

But they aren’t.  These are 8 and even 9 figure brands, and yet they apparently can’t figure this out.


But even before that level… how many people just in general are even using or know how to use retargeting effectively?

I’m a member of a small (100 member maximum) private invite-only mastermind group.  It’s loaded with heavy hitters… mostly underground “behind the scenes” types that you’ll never hear of, but that do absolutely mind-bending numbers online.  There’s SEO people, Social Media geniuses, all-star copywriters, code mavericks, SEM masters, etc. etc.  So I posed the question to them…

[8/14/2013 4:08:06 PM] JvC:  @group:  Quick informal poll – Who here uses retargeting and sees a direct substantive ROI from it?  Can include clients you might work with.
(not looking for details, just wondering how many people in this high level group are using it)

Now granted, everyone isn’t always sitting around waiting for activity in this group all the time, so I didn’t expect a flood of responses.  But I got a few… and these two in particular stood out (emphasis mine):

[8/14/2013 9:54:55 PM] :  @jvc, i use retargeting for all major sem clients. their roi jump from 500 to 1500%. adspend at 40k/mth. hotel chains and pestbusting companies.  results vary across verticals as usual


[7:30:57 AM] : @jvc I used to use it at the college I taught at. ROI went up double digits. It also scared our competitors out of certain keywords because they didn’t understand it at the time and thought we had a ridiculous budget.

I’ll probably get more responses over the next day or two but that was already pretty exciting stuff.  Retargeting, when done correctly, is absolutely huge.  The problem (in my mind anyway) is that I don’t see it being done correctly very often at all.  I see companies building one single big retargeting list for a vertical, and marketing to it forever.  Period.

That’s a totally unfocused, lazy approach.  Don’t get me wrong, it can still be very profitable… but it could be so much more!!

Now, combine retargeting with the kind of scale and reach you can get with Media Buying, and you’ve got a 1-2 knockout combination for sure.

So that brings me back to what Gauher is doing.  He’s one smart dude for sure, and he’s doing it right.  The smart way to retarget, is to do something like this:

  1. Visitor comes to you the first time and is put on a “new visitors” list.
  2. Visitor opts in (or does something else you would consider a “lead conversion”) and is removed from the first list, and put on a second list of “leads” or “prospects”.  Now you can market to them separately with different messaging.
  3. Visitor buys or otherwise does something that turns them from a prospect to a customer.  Now you remove them from list #2 and put them on list #3 so that you can again reach out to them with custom messaging, since they are not just some random visitor anymore – they’re a valued customer!

Now I ask you – who’s doing this?  Nobody that I’ve seen.  But this kind of custom tailoring of your message is how you stop wasting ad spend on people who are never going to be receptive to your message!  Every time I see a LiquidWeb or RackSpace ad asking me to become a customer – when I’ve already been one for years… I just cringe at those wasted advertising dollars.

But Gauher is doing exactly this, and today he’s going to explain it to you and show you how he does it – for free.

I’m told that this content won’t stay up for long so if you’re interested in finding out how to use retargeting to really explode your advertising profits, give it a look now before it’s gone.

Enjoy and prosper!


4 thoughts on “Retargeting Is The Sh!#!

  1. Hi Jonathan,

    VERY interesting concept. With all the redundant marketing emails I receive, I’ve often thought about this, but never knew what to call it or how t oexploit it for my marketing. Now I know.

    Glad you’re back marketing, again.


    • Howdy Ben! I’ve actually always still “been marketing”, just primarily for clients the last couple years rather than myself. But those two are becoming one and the same with the level of involvement I’ve taken in my latest project.

      Anyway, email marketing isn’t really related to retargeting, at least not in the way that I’m talking about here. Retargeting in this sense, is the practice of placing a cookie on someone’s computer when they come to a specific page of yours, and then being able to recognize that same visitor when they are on someone else’s website, and advertise to them. So let’s say you sell digital cameras, and someone visits a page of your website. You drop a retargeting cookie on them, and then a few days later they’re on some news site that has nothing at all to do with you – but that site participates in the same retargeting network you use. You now have the opportunity to display a banner ad of your own, to that person, even though they’re on someone else’s website. It essentially increases your reach just about infinitely. And to that visitor, you look like you’re a huge brand because they’re seeing you all over the place, or maybe on their favorite news sites, etc. You the small advertiser, can actually pick up credibility and name recognition from the advertising website. Like if your ad showed up to them on for example, it might give you a lot of instant credibility just by associating with that brand.

      It’s cool stuff, and there are some crazy super ninja tricks you can do with it that go way beyond the obvious, like dropping multiple retargeting cookies from multiple networks at the same time, or buying cheap traffic from one network, and dropping a retargeting cookie from another network. You can end up bypassing the other network’s keyword bidding entirely and go direct to people you’ve already segmented by keyword on the cheap network. It gets a little crazy, but the power is there for all to use. 😉


  2. Cool, thanks Jonathan. I’ve actually been working on a script that does exactly what you mentioned in your 3 steps; moving visitor from list to list as they convert from one status to another. It’s about 98% completed, but there are still final touch-ups required before release.

    • Nice one Dave! That would be pretty damn useful. Though I can’t help but wonder how it’s going to automatically get the new list code from the network you’re using. But I suppose that will be revealed once it’s ready? 😉

      Good luck with it!


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