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The best retargeting platforms for e-commerce all have a common function: to track the user interests and behaviors of previous visitors to your storefront, then serve up ads to those users later as they browse. It’s a highly effective way to increase conversions and overcome cart abandonment.
With more than 5000 different retargeting platforms to choose from, selecting the best retargeting platform for your business takes research. We make that a little easier for you with reviews of the five best retargeting platforms from our experience with e-c0mmerce.
First, let’s look at the whole retargeting terrain across the e-commerce space.
Where do retargeted ads appear?
You usually see them on popular websites like news and social media platforms. Retargeting platforms collect data and create Interest Profiles for users of each unique device and browser combination, then sell those segmented lists to ecommerce clients.
Oftentimes, the retargeted ads come in the form of Native Advertising, so we’ll explain a little about that first.
What Is Native Advertising?
Native advertising is paid ads that look like they are part of the main editorial content of the page where they’re placed. One example is “advertorials,” which look like a separate article with informational content but end up with product pitching at the end.
You’ll often see native ads in social media feeds, or as recommended content on a web page. Different from display ads or banner ads, they look like editorial content, except for a small “Sponsored” somewhere near the top or bottom. Native advertising is non-dirsuptive – it exposes the reader to advertising content without a blaring banner or popup.
For retargeting purposes, native advertising can be very effective because if it is seen as editorial content, it can reinforce a buyer’s earlier interest in the purchase by providing a form of social or independent “proof.”
Features to look for in ad retargeting platforms
A/B Testing: The platform should let you segment out a portion of your list so you can run trial campaigns with image, headline or CTA variations to test which one is most effective.
Behavioral Targeting: This means tracking actual clicks, use of keywords in queries on various platforms, and time spent on a page.
Conversion Tracking: Make sure there is built-in reporting on how far users are proceeding through your sales funnel.
Geo Targeting: If you want to target users in certain cities, zip codes or states, you can define that with geo targeting.
Mobile Retargeting: When a user spends time looking at a product on their desktop browser, a mobile retargeting feature will allow your ads to follow them to the media they’re viewing on their mobile devices.
Personalization: Some platforms collect names as well, and can place these into
Social Media Retargeting: Most retargeting platforms will include social media sites in their publishing options. This is where native advertising models really shine.
Two types of retargeting
Offsite retargeting: Facebook and Google AdWords are the biggest platforms for retargeting ads, and they both have advanced targeting options to drill down on who sees them. They’ll display highly-targeted ads about your product as the person browses around elsewhere on the web, or in their social media feeds.
Onsite retargeting: Onsite retargeting is ads that are shown to visitors before they ever leave your site. It gives you a second chance to convince them with a sweetened offer or promotion. It differs from what we normally think of as “retargeting,” with ads that appear elsewhere later on.
Here are some of the best retargeting platforms for e-commerce:
Criteo, a retargeting platform based in France, claims 18,000 users worldwide. Features include Customer Targeting, Multi-platform campaign management, Social Media retargeting, Behavioral and Geo-targeting, Mobile retargeting, and a Recommendation engine.
Pros: It offers a wide selection of retargeting options, and customer reps are very helpful in getting you set up. (It functions as a script that you add to your website.) It provides a “shopper graph” so you can see your results at a glance. It increases conversions commensurate with the options you select.
Cons: Users say it works very well for reaching consumers at the bottom of the funnel, but that their branding and awareness tools are somewhat less effective.
Searchvision is an Israeli company that uses high-end data technology combined with sophisticated business intelligence tools to target the consumers most likely to engage with the brands or products you sell.
Pros: Search Vision takes a full-service approach to its remarketing when helping you launch a campaign. They’re looking to capture business from sellers of manufactured products with a lot of specifications and features. The team starts with a close, hands-on study of their customers’ products to understand all the features, so they can design effective retargeting campaigns.
Cons: As a newer company, it has less of a track record than the other retargeting platforms reviewed here. But the upside is that you can count on a higher level of attention.
Outbrain is one of the most popular and better-known of the e-commerce retargeting platforms.. It has easy to use Targeting options (GEO, Age, Interests, Retargeting etc…) Pixel and Tracking implementation, and a low CPC. Its specializes mostly in native advertising.
Pros: Outbrain gives site owners and brands the ability to advertise on different highly popular sites across the internet. They do the work and reach out to these sites while making campaign management a breeze with its intuitive user interface.
Many users say Outbrain helps them reach high-value customers.
Campaign set-up goes quickly, GEO targeting is highly specific, and tracking performs as you’d expect. You get good audience reach at a fair price, quick & reliable reporting, and top-notch customer service These are some of the reasons Outbrain is the leading platform.
Cons: You don’t get ad previews or a chance to edit your ads once a campaign has gone live.
Adroll is a retargeting ad management solution for e-commerce businesses of all sizes that helps engage, convert, and measure prospective customers. Its full-service features include A/B Testing, Analytics/ROI Tracking, , Customizable CTAs, and special functions like Drip Campaigns, Dynamic Content, Lead Scoring and Sales Intelligence.
Pros: Novices to retargeting like it because it’s an easy one to learn. The platform uses a step-by-step guide to getting your started, and includes help with banner ads.
Cons: If you own a local service business, the minimum ad spend could be a problem because a reduced, geo-targeted audience size means they’re seeing a lot of repeat ads from you, and that could get annoying.
OptiMonk is an ‘on-site’ retargeting tool that helps online store owners recover the visitors who abandon product pages, or their shopping carts, without making a purchase. Its tool is an “Exit Intent Popup Builder” that you can configure yourself.
Optimonk’s popups are designed to turn users into sales and leads before they leave the website. It allows you to create, personalize and launch exit popups, sidebars, notification bars and full screens, without coding.
Marketing through Facebook’s Messenger has open rates that e-mailers would die for: up to 80 or 90%. OptiMonk was an early adopter of Messenger marketing, which remains a strong feature of its retargeting platform. They’ve enhanced the experience with several personalization features.
Pros: With its concentration on Messenger, Optimonk is skipping over one of the frictions of traditional opt-in marketing. Instead of being asked for their email address, a user is asked to opt in to receiving messages from the company. Mobile users find this much less intrusive, and are more willing to opt in.
Cons: Optimonk is not a full retargeting platform in that it doesn’t serve ads elsewhere on the internet once a user leaves the e-commerce site.
Whichever retargeting platform you end up using, remember that once you are selling on a number of different channels, you will probably need to start using a syndicated product feed.
My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.
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