Business Performance Online Display Advertising

2nd Chance: easy way to boost your conversion rate

This article is one of a series entitled Digital Marketer+. The series is aimed at marketers working in the digital marketplace and also at others looking for new ways to promote or build their business online.

The intention of the series is to take a second look at what you’re currently doing and approach it from a different perspective. So far we have covered knowing your objectives,  fixing your customer experience and conducting a Mobile review. Plenty more to come, including tips, best practice and case studies.

I’m going to let you in on a secret. In your very near future, you’re going to see a stupid, crazy spike in your conversion rate. Bold statement, but true.

If you spend any money on advertising your website, you need to be doing this. Trust me.

The great thing is, your competitors are highly unlikely to be doing it, so now’s your chance – your advertising performance will improve and you’ll look like a genius.

And the craziest thing about it; it’s in a place you’d never think to look.

Spill the beans

I’m sensing I should get to the point. So what is this magic elixir that will cure all marketing ills?

Display advertising. That’s right, you heard me. Display advertising. Okay, so no ordinary display advertising, but dynamic retargeting.

You’ll be aware of standard display ads and you’ve probably heard of behavioural targeting, whereby ads are targeted to users who match broad segments (i.e. visit a travel site on an ad network and be shown holiday ads in the future). However, dynamic retargeting takes it a whole bunch of steps further, by creating personalised displays ads containing content relevant to the individual, based on their previous activity on your site.

As the ad content is tailored based on the user’s intent and deeplinked to the relevant product page, your click through and conversion rates are significantly improved.

You talking to me?

Let’s take a look at an example. Bob is looking for a holiday in Spain. He’s spent the week sneakily checking out travel sites – including yours – during his tea break at work. Now it’s the weekend and he’s in a well known coffee chain taking advantage of the free WiFi with his Latte, whilst checking the football match reports.

As he scans the page a display ad catches his eye. Now normally he wouldn’t give it a second glance but this one is different. Yes, it shows Spanish holidays, but more importantly it contains the exact holiday resort he was looking at earlier in the week and several other very similar resorts he may be interested in. So what happens? He clicks the ad, books the holiday and the rest, as they say, is paella.

There are 2 reasons why the ad was so successful in converting Bob. 1) The content was personalised to his preferences and 2) it was presented to him whilst he was still in a buying frame of mind.

Bob may very well have forgotten about your site in all his research, but your use of dynamic retargeting has enabled you to leapfrog your competitors in his mind, and secure his custom.

So how does it work?

There are a number of companies that provide behavioural based display products, including Google and Criteo, but the product I’ve been describing in this post is from Struq, which from my perspective has the more sophisticated technology of the three. Hand in hand with that sophistication goes a greater conversion rate, due to its ability to deliver personalised content.

In terms of how it works, this graphic explains it well (click to enlarge).

How retargeting works – image courtesy of

In a nutshell, the user comes to your website, where Struq collects data on their activity. If the user leaves without converting (e.g. purchase), Struq will display a personalised ad to them if they turn up on another site in the ad network(s). The ad will contain at least one item they have previously looked at on your site, plus other similar content / products they may be interested in. Clicking on the ad will take the user straight through to the deeplinked product detail.

There is a live demo running if you want to see it in action.

Awesome but does it work?

From personal experience, yes, it certainly does. I’ve seen click through rates 1000% better than standard Run of Network display advertising, very impressive conversion rates, and cost per acquisition lower than pay-per-click advertising.

Clothing site, Republic, have reported getting ‘conversion rates for retargeted customers that are two or three times higher than our normal average’.

However, It’s worth pointing out, that dynamic behavioural targeting is not a replacement for your other advertising activity. Consider retargeting as your second chance to convert. Your PPC, SEO, email marketing, TV advertising and social media activity are all still needed to drive the traffic into your site in the first place, but the retargeting presents a great opportunity to complete the sales cycle and reduce wastage.

5 Key takeaways

  1. Dynamic retargeting is a cost effective way of bringing back unconverted visitors
  2. Delivers relevant content to users whilst they’re in a buying frame of mind
  3. Enables you to keep your brand ahead of your competitors in the mind of the potential customer
  4. Must be used as part of your marketing mix, not on its own
  5. Dynamic retargeting dramatically outperforms other types of display advertising (and other digital media)

You don’t need a lot of money to get started with dynamic retargeting, so it’s a great, low-risk opportunity to make a significant difference to your marketing performance. If you want help with your digital activity, I can recommend I Spy Marketing (who I use), or you can contact Struq directly.

So I’m guessing you weren’t anticipating an article raving about the incredible performance of display advertising, right? Well, I was sceptical when I first heard about it too. It took about a week for that all to change when I saw the first performance numbers come in.

I’m pretty confident, that you’ll think the same too. Thank me later, just don’t tell everyone about our secret. It’s too good to share.

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