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What is ad retargeting and how to use it to capture customers

May 19, 2021

For those of you who run a small business and sell your products or services online, you know the critical role advertising plays in driving people to your website. However, if the potential customer isn’t ready to buy when they first land on your site, then you may be worried you’ll never get them to engage again with your brand. This is where creating a retargeting campaign could work to reengage the customer, reminding them of their initial interest and bringing them back to complete their purchase.

Let’s take a closer look at what retargeting is, and the benefits of retargeting when it comes to reaching your small business advertising goals.

How does retargeting work?

Retargeting and remarketing are sometimes used interchangeably, but they’re not the same thing. Retargeting attempts to get visitors back to buy via display ads or native ads, whereas remarketing is when you collect contact information from prospective customers in order to deliver email campaigns to them.

Retargeting works by involving the placement of a pixel (a JavaScript code) on your website or landing page. Anytime someone visits your website or landing page, the pixel drops a cookie in the visitor’s browser, and this cookie data can be used to serve ads to users again while their reading an article or visiting other stores online. Audience targeting features from Microsoft Advertising can help your small business maintain or reconnect with people who have previously visited your website. Learn more about how these solutions can help you build a retargeting campaign that will increase your return on investment (ROI) and reach high-value audiences.1

Why is retargeting important?

Most likely, your small business has created a marketing funnel that’s built to drive brand awareness and increase conversions. Retargeting can benefit your small business in several ways:

  • Builds brand recognition: The method of retargeting encourages previous customers who have already made purchases to come back and purchase again. It also helps you connect with users who left your site without making a conversion, boosting brand awareness.
  • Creates cross-selling opportunities: If your small business offers more than one product or service, you can retarget your previous customers with ads for a similar product they have purchased before. In-market Audiences from Microsoft Advertising is a tool that can help you do just that, expanding your audience and increasing conversions.2
  • Gives you control of your budget: Using the Microsoft Audience Network helps you engage your ideal customers with a dedicated budget that fits your business’s needs.

Retargeting in a cookie-less world

As the use of third-party cookies is positioned to fade out over the next two years, retargeting strategies will have to change. This means leveraging strategies such as increasing authenticated users, advancing their contextual and behavioral data collection and insights capabilities, and exploring data collaborations with partners. A cookie-less future may also cause a shift to more mobile retargeting, since most mobile devices and apps don’t accept cookies.

Before creating your retargeting campaign, consider these retargeting best practices to help you reach more customers. Extend your small business reach with Microsoft Advertising. Learn how our small business advertising solutions and tools can help boost your advertising performance.

[1] Comscore qSearch customer December 2020. Desktop traffic only.
[2] Microsoft Internal Data; pilot performance data from verticals including Travel, Autos, and Financial Services using “Bid Only” targeting on Bing O&O traffic, July 2017.


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