April 17, 2013
How To

B2B Retargeting: 5 tactics from burn pixels to Facebook

SUMMARY: Last week's B2B marketing article offered five tactics on retargeting as a marketing strategy. This week, we're "retargeting" you with five more tactics from our group of experts.

Read on to learn what three of our sources said about retargeting in multiple marketing channels including email, online advertising, paid search and social media. The tactics covered this week include using analytics coding instead of website coding for retargeting, and tailoring your message for specific audiences. Plus, you will learn the importance of burn pixels, retargeting on Facebook and why you need to test your retargeting campaigns.
by David Kirkpatrick, Senior Reporter

Retargeting, also known as remarketing depending on who you are speaking with and even the context of the execution, is a valuable and versatile B2B strategy. It covers numerous marketing channels including email, paid search, online advertising and social media.

To provide a look into retargeting tactics both old and new, MarketingSherpa reached out to three expert sources: Shelley Ellis, Principal, Shelley Ellis Consulting; Ryan Phelan, Vice President of Digital Impact Strategic Services, Acxiom Corporation; and, Justin Vanning, Customer Acquisition Manager, SEOmoz.

What is retargeting?

At a very high level, retargeting is proactively reaching back out to prospects who have shown an interest in your company. Let's take a closer look.

The first step is finding someone with interest in your company. This intent may be expressed as strongly as a "hand raise." For example, registering for your list by providing an email address and then continuing to interact with your website. Or, it may be as subtle as a prospect visiting designated pages on your site containing a cookie or a tag that allows you "find" that person on other websites or search engine results pages.

The next step is to continue to interact with that person, even after they are no longer on your website, with targeted email, relevant online ads or paid search results.

This part 2 how-to article features five more tactics on how to execute retargeting across a number of marketing channels.

Tactic #1. Use analytics coding for retargeting tracking

Ellis said for ad retargeting with Google, tagging pages has changed. Instead of running small Java script on each page, it can now be done in Google Analytics.

"It is essentially just your Analytics coding. And, you have to update that," Ellis said.

She said from there, you can perform rules-based targeting.

"For instance, I could go into Analytics and say I would like to target every single person who has an interest in physical therapy. They came to my website, and maybe I had a health-related website where I offer services, so I want tag anybody who has been on any page that has anything to do with physical therapy," Ellis explained.

She added, "Now, through Analytics, I have tagged all those pages through rules instead of through actual little snippets of code."

Tactic #2. Tailor retargeting efforts to specific audiences

Ellis provided an example of retargeting to multiple, specific audiences. Her client was a nonprofit with an interest in reaching educators, and because it was nonprofit, also reaching sponsors. There were opportunities for educators on the website, and there were also opportunities for visitors to become members of the nonprofit.

"In that case, we had set up a number of different remarketing strategies for them that were very different depending on the target audience," Ellis said.

"If someone went to their sponsorship page, then we had a very specific message going back to them related to the sponsorship and how that worked for this particular organization," Ellis said.

Educators, the other ongoing audience for the website, received messaging about new opportunities such as bringing students on field trips.

Ellis explained, "We had multiple different remarketing tags going on, and multiple remarketing strategies all working at the same time to very different audiences."

Tactic #3. Use burn pixels after conversion

One very important tactic is to make sure and use "burn" pixels once a targeted prospect hits a conversion page. That is, wherever you were driving them with the retargeting campaign, when they actually visit that part of the website, you want to remove them from the retargeting program. These pixels allow you to track those conversions.

"You want to have conversion pixels, or burn pixels is what they are commonly referred to, set up properly," Vanning said.

He said in SEOmoz's case, that would be a sign-up — for another marketer, it might be a white paper download.

"Make sure that whatever that 'thank you' page, or 'welcome' page after somebody signs up, whatever the next page after they completed that conversion action, make sure you have that burn pixel or conversion pixel there so you can move that person from your regular retargeting audience and that you are no longer showing them those ads to try to get them to take that action that they have already taken," Vanning said.

Tactic #4. Don't overlook retargeting through social media networks

Through Facebook Exchange, the social media platform is opening up serving Facebook ads through some third-party retargeting publishers and platforms, Vanning said.

From a marketer's perspective, this means you can serve Facebook ads to people who have made it to a certain point on your website.

Instead of serving a standard Facebook ad, marketers have the ability to show ads to those groups of people they know have made it to particular areas of their website.

"We have seen really good returns on those. They have been performing great. Much better than our standard retargeting ads, and way better than standard Facebook ads," Vanning said.

Facebook offers another retargeting avenue, according to Vanning.

"Facebook now lets you upload an email list, or a phone number list, of people you have," he said.

He explained if 50,000 people sign up for your newsletter, you can upload those email addresses to Facebook as a custom audience. Facebook will then run that list against all of its users to find matches.

Vanning explained, "Let's say you uploaded 50,000 email addresses, maybe 25,000 of them have matched to a Facebook account that also uses that email address. Now, you can go in and add all your Facebook targeting on that and then run Facebook ads to that specific group."

Tactic #5. Test your retargeting program to increase internal resources

Like any digital marketing effort, retargeting programs benefit from testing, according to Phelan.

He said in working with past clients, for a successful program there was a "heavy, heavy reliance on testing."

Phelan continued, "In tone, in messaging, in structure, in timing — it is all about testing to find the sweet spot and start small."

He said one issue he's heard from marketers is they don't want to start a retargeting effort because they want that "perfect solution" already built, or at least conceptualized.

The way to begin is simply to start small — base an email drip campaign around a trigger based on a single data point.

"You are never going to get it started if you wait for perfection," Phelan said.

To provide encouragement behind his point, he said, "Run a test. There is no better way for your boss, or your CFO or CEO to give you justification to have resources, money and time and effort."

He continued, "No better way to get internal resources allocated than by saying, 'I can make tons of money if you give me what I need because look at [this successful test] here.' Start small, prove the case and then you will be surprised at how many people want to give you resources to help you support the effort."


Shelley Ellis Consulting

Acxiom Corporation


Related Resources

Retargeting: 5 tactics from drip email to lead generation

Would Retargeting Look Good With My Current Marketing? by Ellis, via Marketing Land

Email Marketing: Drip Campaigns Drive Revenue

PPC Advertising: How to track AdWords and Facebook ads in 5 steps

Online Advertising: Retargeting drives 3% to 7% in incremental topline revenue for CafePress

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