Welcome to Getting Granular

The podcast where digital marketing experts from the agency Granular talk about the latest trends, tried and true best practices, and share their unfiltered thoughts about the digital marketing industry.

Retargeting Tips


Join Jordon & Steve as they talk about some of the advanced retargeting tactics that Granular uses. They’ll cover the basics and then get a little technical. They also confirm and bust a few myths and might even deem a few plausible – like are advertisers listening to you talk on or near your phone? Maybe you use retargeting regularly, know about it in theory, or maybe you just feel like you are being followed around by ads. In any case, you’ll want to tune in to hear how the experts at Granular incorporate this strategy for our clients.


What you’ll learn in this episode of Getting Granular:

  • Retargeting vs remarketing (0:42)
  • What exactly is retargeting (2:00)
  • What is going on behind the scenes to allow it to happen (2:30)
  • How the retargeting audience list is created (4:23)
  • What is frequency capping and why you shouldn’t ignore it (7:20)
  • Granular’s retargeting best practices (9:37)
  • What are the types of retargeting ads we use (14:19)
  • Compare and contrast third-party platforms vs setting up natively (19:16)
  • How Granular incorporates retargeting w/ Google Search (25:29)
  • Share some advanced tactics YouTube (29:19)
  • How to use engagement retargeting on social platforms (28:52)
  • How to utilize landing page customizations with retargeting (35:23)
  • Myths of retargeting (39:40)


Jordon: Be careful what you like. Did you know that when you like, comment, or share a post from a company, they can then put you in a special pool and retarget you? Creepy.

Narrator: Welcome to Getting Granular, the podcast for digital marketing experts from the agency Granular talk about the latest trends, tried and true best practices and share their unfiltered thoughts about the industry. Whether you’re here to learn how to grow your business, improve your digital skills, or just want to hear some Midwest PPC experts rant about digital media, you’ve come to the right place.

Jordon: All right, Steve, we’re talking retargeting or remarketing today on the Granular Podcast. Why don’t we jump right in?

Steve: Yeah, sounds good. This is something that gets talked about all the time we utilize it and just realizing that it’s good to just put a podcast out specifically on this topic because of how utilized for the tactic it is. So maybe do you want to start, Jordon? So we talk about remarketing, retargeting. Are they the same thing or are they different?

Jordon: Yeah, I think you’ll get the consensus answer is, they’re the same thing. I think realistically the big difference is Google I believe invented the term remarketing while primarily every other company out there uses the phrase retargeting. They’re the same thing. It’s, if you visit a website, if you get cookied by any method at all, you get an ad served to you. That’s retargeting, remarketing. I think it’s interchangeable 100%.

Steve: Okay, cool. And just to level set, and maybe even dive into more specifics. When we talk about remarketing, retargeting, oftentimes it gets … Most people know what it is without maybe knowing the phrase. This is you add a pair of shoes to your shopping cart, you’re shopping online. You go to checkout, you don’t finish, you leave. And then now when you’re browsing the internet, you’re seeing those same shoes you add to those cart reminding you to purchase. So that’s visually how it works, but maybe can you talk through behind the scenes what actually is allowing that to happen?

Jordon: The easiest way to explain it is, using your example, you’re on this website that’s e-commerce, you’re shopping online. When you’re on that website, your browser sets what’s called a cookie. That is just a little snippet of code, a little marker, a dot if you will. They put a dot on you as a user and then they can follow you around the internet wherever ads are enabled, which is pretty much everywhere because the internet is run by ad revenue.

Jordon: So if you visit a shoe website, if you visit a social website, if you visit Granular, we’re setting a cookie automatically on every single user. And that essentially follows you around the internet, no matter what browser you’re on, mobile device, desktop, tablet, they’ve gotten really good at setting kind of persistent cookies at the user level based on login information and a bunch of other signals.

Jordon: So, it’s really just this piece of technology that kind of invisibly marks you as a user. And I guess the invisible part is important there too, because for the most part it is anonymous. So they don’t necessarily know that Jordon Meyer visited their site and now they can personally identify everywhere I go on the website or online. They just know that I’m a user that fits in a certain bucket. They do know that I’m of a certain age, of a certain gender, of a certain income level in a certain city. They know a lot of that stuff, but you are pretty well protected from being personally identified, which is cool. It’s good for the user.

Steve: Okay, I think what would be helpful then building off that is to just talk through maybe some of the more technical components and just explain those. So first, just because I think it’s important. You mentioned that users are anonymized and one of the ways that happens is you are put into … You’re not targeting the individual, you’re targeting that user. Maybe talk through what an audience list is when it comes to this.

Jordon: Yeah, so Google, we’re primarily talking about Google, but there’s a lot of other retargeting platforms out there that we’ll get into. Basically what it does is it put you the individual into a list. But that list has to usually contain at least 99 other people and oftentimes 999 other people, so that it really does try to keep you anonymous based on numbers. So it’s a lot harder to pick one person out of a group of a thousand than it is if you were truly doing one to one retargeting. And that’s a safety precaution that Google and a lot of other platforms put in just to keep that anonymous, but that’s done by what’s called the audience list.

Jordon: So every visitor that goes to our website, every visitor that goes to our client’s websites, or every visitor that goes to Google or Facebook or Instagram are put into what’s called an audience list. And that’s really just accumulation of cookies. Individual users, you basically, it’s like a guest list, right? You sign in digitally when you visit the website, so you’re added to that guest list. And then there’s the persistence of that, the length of that guest list really is based on the advertiser and the platform. So there’s a maximum time limit per se of that cookie.

Jordon: And I’ll just get into the numbers there, the maximum number of days on Google for example. You can be on a list for 540 days, which is pretty crazy. But that really helps tracking, that really helps give advertisers really good data on maybe a longer sales process, or if you’re a retailer, you can basically bid and show ads to the same user year after year. Because you can show them an ad almost a year and a half later if it’s seasonal or if you have a good use case for that.

Steve: Okay, cool. Yeah, I was just going to talk through that and I guess the last technical term that I’ll bring up when it comes to retargeting is frequency capping and what that term means?

Jordon: Yeah, so frequency capping is really just putting a limit on the number of times that you’re showing an ad to the same user. And it’s typically within 24 hours. So we’ve all seen it as internet users you get hit with the same ad over and over again, and it just never goes away. Or it’s just really ridiculous the first day after you add those shoes to your cart, now you’re seeing those shoes literally on every website you go to. And it won’t leave you alone. What a smart advertiser can do is set a limit, a frequency cap, so we can say, “Look, don’t show our users more than eight instances of this ad a day, or five, or 20.” And it’s smart as an advertiser and it’s smart as a brand to put limits on that most of the time because you will annoy the user.

Jordon: If you don’t annoy them, there’s a good chance that you could just make them blind to your ad. It’s called ad fatigue and ad blindness. After you see something so many times you stop noticing it. That’s really up to the advertiser to set those limits, to make sure that you’re not just berating people with the ad over and over again. Sometimes it’s more the exception than the rule. Sometimes it is appropriate to kind of leave that uncapped if you really have to be aggressive against competitors or you really need that timely message out there in a short amount of time, you can leave it uncapped, but a best practice is to use frequency caps. And typically that’s a setting ignored by a number of rookie advertisers out there.

Steve: Awesome. Yeah, I think that’s helpful that you did dive into that and explain the benefit of implementing one or maybe, in some cases, why it makes sense not to. You did talk about best practices so maybe just jump right in there as far as what Granular does from a best practice standpoint, as far as setting up retargeting,

Jordon: Yeah. So we like to create audience lists from every platform that we think we can serve ads from for the client where it would make sense. So that’s from Google, from Facebook, Instagram, Bing, YouTube. There’s a number of other platforms that we use to serve retargeting ads. We’d like to get that pixel placed on our client’s websites as soon as possible even if we’re not going to run, let’s say we’re not going to run ads on Pinterest for our client right out of the gate, maybe it’s in our 6-month plan or 12-month plan to eventually run ads there.

Jordon: Still within the first month, we’re going to set up that cookie so we can start to see the audience that is on Pinterest, the customers, visitors that actually go to Pinterest and use it. We can then kind of track them and see the opportunity that is on the table if we actually ran ads on Pinterest.

Jordon: So, I guess number one best practice for us is just tag everything and make sure that we’re placing the pixels for all these different ad platforms on our client’s website. And the best way to do that is to use Google Tag Manager, which is a free product from Google that is really a container that you put all of these pixels into and you don’t have to edit the website. You don’t have to touch the code, you don’t have to work with a developer, Granular does that for all of our clients. We set up Google Tag Manager, expert-level way, where we can easily just go in and edit, add, subtract pixels and tags as we please because it won’t mess with the website at all. So that’s a big part of it.

Jordon: Second part is just the audience creation. So within each of those platforms, once you’re you’re collecting cookies and that pixel is firing on our client’s website or on your website, the best thing to do is create an audience so you’re actually putting users in a pool. So when I mentioned that the maximum number of days is 540 for the pixel length, or the cookie length, the way that you actually utilize that is to create an audience. So you have to manually create an audience to refer to that length. So you can have an audience that looks back 540 days, you can have an audience that looks back 365 days. I’ll reverse that statement and say, typically, best practice is to create a couple audience pools of cookies that are in length of 1 to 3 days and then the next audience would be 4 to 7 days and then 7 to 14, and then up to 30 days because all of those different audiences that you create, you’ll see, once you start running ads, they have different performance metrics.

Jordon: So you might pay more for the shorter term cookie because the audience is more valuable. Let’s say they’ve been to your website in the past 24 to 48 hours, they’re more likely to convert so you should bid higher on them. And when you go down the scale to like a 30-day visitor, someone that visited your website 30 days ago, they might be less valuable so you can bid lower, but because it’s been 30 days, that cookie pool is much larger so you’re targeting more people.

Jordon: So there’s a lot of different strategy that is involved, but the tactic to set this up is set the pixel and then set the audience. And then beyond that, there’s a lot of strategy involved in actually setting up the campaigns and budgeting and messaging towards those users.

Steve: Okay. Awesome. Yeah. I had a couple of questions that I was going to ask, but you answered each of those and I think it does make sense to move on to retargeting. And what I actually want to do is to start in the order of what are the most common types of retargeting ads people see, maybe the ones that are less common. At least me personally, when I’ve thought of retargeting, historically, you think of seeing banner ads that follow you around, image ads, obviously on Facebook, so maybe can you talk about the fact that you’ve got image retargeting, you’ve got video retargeting, you’ve got retargeting that can happen on all these other platforms as far as what… It can be a recommendation, it can just be an overview, but there’s all these different ways that you can reach people once they’ve left your website, whether it’s through social, whether it’s through video and platforms like YouTube, programmatic reaching people, maybe it’ll just be helpful to get your input and take here because there are so many options.

Jordon: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you listed off a lot of them really. So retargeting is primarily thought of as banner ads and a lot of people have the same banner ads for a prospecting display buy as they do retargeting, but you should really have separate messages there and think beyond the display banner. Display banners for retargeting are still very powerful, very successful, but it’s advanced over the years, you can really retarget on almost any ad unit these days.

Jordon: So that actually goes into video social. So if somebody visits Granular, for example, we’ll just keep using ourselves as the example here, we can then show them ads. We can show them our video on YouTube. You don’t have to be looking for a search agency video on YouTube. You can be watching your favorite cat video and we might show up as a pre-roll ad before that video. And the reason you’re seeing that is because you visited our website. The same thing goes for Instagram. You’re scrolling through your feed, now you’re going to see a Granular ad, be it a static image, a video, a carousel ad. You’ll see one of those, again, because he visited our website. And if you go to a shoe company, you go to Zappos and look at a couple pairs of shoes, another type of ad is called a dynamic retargeting ad.

Jordon: So now, rather than Zappos showing you a static ad of their logo or a random pair of shoes, they’re actually going to show you exactly the style and brand of shoe that you viewed. And that’s called dynamic retargeting because someone has Zappos on their paid search team actually set up the appropriate tags and they set up the appropriate audience lists and then they set up the ad unit where it actually pulls in products you looked at. And we do that for clients all the time. And dynamic retargeting is a beautiful thing and it works really well. But, yeah, I mean, high level, basically, any type of ad unit these days can be re-targeted and that can be on any platform. So including Reddit and LinkedIn and almost any platform you can think of, you can now see a retargeting ad and, that can be in formats like native as well so you can be reading through an article and a Granular ad might appear in between paragraphs.

Jordon: It’s not necessarily a traditional banner ad. It’s not a text ad. It just kind of fits in the content. That’s a native ad. So it’s really cool to see the platforms evolve and the ad units evolve into really being fluid and dynamic and beyond just a static banner. Yeah, so that’s just a little bit more info there.

Steve: Yeah, it’s awesome. I love it. And you talked about this a bit as far as how retargeting works and best practices, to that point, we were talking through just some of the different platforms we can set up retargeting through. You talked about getting the pixel plays for of the platforms. Now, there are other platforms that are all in one, you place their pixel and they take care of retargeting across the internet, and it’s more of a black box, the benefit being that it’s kind of set it and forget it. Can you maybe compare and contrast some of these third party platforms that you can run retargeting through versus doing it natively, setting up natively in each of the ad channels?

Jordon: Yeah, absolutely. People just love the ease of things, right? Personally, we order groceries through Amazon Fresh. We don’t know exactly where they come from. They might come from Whole Foods. It might come from and most likely comes from an Amazon warehouse, cold storage warehouse nearby, and we order everything and we get it. And it’s super easy, but we know when we’re unpacking and eating that food that we could probably get some tastier fruit at a fruit stand and some tastier bakery items at our local farmer’s market and better vegetables at our local farmer’s market. And it’s a little bit better if you kind of shop for individual specialty items like that. So I would say these kind of all in one platforms kind of fit into that scenario. So you’re talking about an AdRoll or Criteo or SteelHouse or something like that, Perfect Audience.

Jordon: These are you don’t see it, you don’t think too much about it, the one stop shop. They can place banner ads, they can place retargeting ads on Facebook and Instagram, they can do all that stuff, but you don’t see the back end and you pay a little bit more for it, and some of the costs are hidden, and some of the optimization isn’t there. You can’t handle the apples. You can’t look for a bruise on the Apple before you pick it. You just kind of get a bag delivered to you. So we’re not huge fans of these other platforms. The reason we see people use them is because it’s easy. It’s a one stop shop, but you don’t get the Granular details and the level of sophisticated bidding and audience pooling that you would if you had an expert agency or an expert practitioner setting up these things on their own. So everything that you can do through Criteo, that’s a really popular retargeting platform, you can actually do manually. It just takes a little more work and a little more love and care.

Steve: Yeah. And I think that’s a perfect compare and contrast. The only thing I would add is the way that these platforms make money is they are placing the retargeting on your behalf. And let’s say if you were to set up your own retargeting campaigns in Google and Facebook and maybe on average, you’re paying $3 CPM, where if you go with these other platforms, maybe you’re paying a blended average of a $7 CPM. And maybe these platforms aren’t charging a fee per se, but they all have the spend runs through them and they’re just making the delta, the difference between what they actually have to pay versus what they’re charging you. And some people, like you mentioned, they like the ease of use. I would say part of why we aren’t for that at Granular, well, two reasons. One, we look to drive the best result for the least cost for our clients. And two, just transparency is super important and it’s really tough to be a hundred percent transparent if you can’t tell them exactly where the ads ran, exactly how much it costs.

Steve: We’ve seen some of the outputs of reports from these platforms. Sometimes it’s been like pulling teeth from the platforms to get this info and it doesn’t give a lot of transparency as far as beyond saying we should invest more or invest less. There’s less room for nuance or to drill down into it because these platforms just kind of refuse to give you that level of detail.

Jordon: Yeah, that’s a big part that drives us nuts is, first and foremost, the efficiency and the cost difference. We can almost always get better, cheaper results through using the native platforms ourselves like Facebook and Google versus one of these. I think the third point I would just add there is ownership. Retargeting is called first party data, and that first party is you. That’s your website. Those are your visitors. Those should be yours. And once you go with one of these kind of aggregated automated solutions, you’re placing their pixel on your website and you’re giving them your retargeting list. And to try to pull that back and leave that platform, you’re going to be basically throwing away your audience lists, and think through if you have a 180-day list or a 365-day list or a 500-day list. It’s going to take a lot of time to recoup that, and that’s part of what makes them sticky and makes you stay with them, is it’s hard to leave.

Steve: Well, yeah, that’s a key point that I’m glad that you did add is the ownership. Let’s get into some of the advanced tactics. We’ve talked about how the difference between retargeting marketing, how it works, some best practices and kind of the difference between retargeting on platforms directly versus other platforms. Let’s dive into some of the more advanced things you do. You talked about we get the pixel placed, you can create some seven-day, 14-day, 30-day audience, things like that. But I’ve seen Granular, we’ve gotten to do some really neat things with retargeting. The first is a lot of people don’t even realize you can retarget people through search ads. Can you talk about that?

Jordon: Yeah. That’s one we definitely love at Granular and when we’ve been using it for a long time. In Google, it’s called RLSA, which stands for retargeting list and search ads, which also isn’t a very attractive name. But essentially what it does is it’s like just another ad unit, except this time it’s in Google search. So this is a really cool way to target competitors or even treat your users and your customers differently, let’s say because you don’t want them clicking on your ad when they search for your brand, because they already know you. Or if they’re searching for a really specific product that, and you already know they’re a customer, you can treat them a little differently than if a stranger or a first-time user would show up on Google looking for your product.

Jordon: You can also bid differently and just treat that audience differently. We all know the sales cycle isn’t instant. In a lot of cases, it takes a couple of searches, it takes a couple of visits. So a cool thing we do at Granular for our clients is we can bid more aggressively on somebody that’s already been to your site or been familiar with your brand if they’re looking for product. So if they’re searching for the third time for a product that you sell, we can really just bid very aggressively and get them back to your website. And we do that because we have data to prove that they convert at a higher rate, and it’s a much better value to bid on that user than potentially a brand new user.

Jordon: I think the last thing about retargeting and search is that you can kind of expand in the keywords that bid on been on, so you can be a little looser. Let’s use Zappos again, right? So you’re searching for shoes, you’re a customer of Zappos, and now you’re, instead of looking for a Nike basketball shoe, you’re just typing in “basketball sneaker.” That’s a pretty high funnel keyword. It’s expensive. You might get somebody that’s just browsing and spends a few minutes on your site, doesn’t buy. But if you know their return user, the propensity to buy is higher.

Jordon: So you could actually bid on and show an ad for that “higher funnel keyword,” but because you’re bidding on audience that already knows your brand, has already been to your website, it’s a better bet. The chance of them buying is higher. So that’s a really cool one that we use quite a bit, and that’s still something we see. We take over accounts that have been running for a while all the time, and it’s still something we see people not using, which is kind of crazy to us.

Steve: Yeah. You totally nailed it. I was going to add a whole example queued up for being able to expand the type of keyword you’re bidding on. You touched on that. I guess the only thing is the fact that you can change what your ad copy is based on their search behavior the next time they go back to search, but that’s just a little tactic. We can move on to YouTube and some of the different things that we can do there specifically within that Google platform, some advanced tactics. I know there’s one, in particular, we want to highlight with some sequencing.

Jordon: Right. I mentioned earlier, if you visit Granular and then you go to YouTube, you’ll probably see our ad. That’s kind of standard YouTube retargeting. That’s something that’s been around for years, still very powerful and cool. But rather than show you the same video every time, YouTube actually built into the Google ad platform a thing called sequencing. So if you have multiple video assets or if you want to slice your, for example, two-minute commercial into four 30-second clips, you can now show the user clip number one. And then if they go back to YouTube, which they will, same day or next day or next week, you can show them video number two. And then you can actually treat them differently based on their usage of that. If they click through the ad or if they complete the video, then you can show them version number 3A, and then if they choose to skip the second video, you can show them 3B.

Jordon: It’s a cool user experience because you’re showing them new fresh ads. You’re not beating them over the head with the same ad over and over again. And you can actually move them down the funnel or educate them on a product or a service or a company in a different way where you know, now they have my number one and number two message. Now it’s time to close them with this number three message. It’s a really powerful system that Google and YouTube set up, and it’s still fairly new. I think it’s still under-utilized. Even if it’s been around for a while now, it’s definitely under-utilized. A lot of that comes down to just having the creative assets available, but it also comes down to the paid search manager just not thinking that this is an option and just going with the basic retargeting. So that’s a really cool feature is YouTube sequencing.

Steve: Yeah. I love it, and it’s really fun to see the clients who are able to implement that, and there’s lots of great data around that ad recall. The clients that choose to sequence versus using the same video just, I feel like we can keep going on and on here. I just want to get through some of these different advanced tactics, so on social and platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn and Instagram, Pinterest, you wanted to talk about engagement retargeting?

Jordon: Yeah. I mean, it goes back to the opening of the podcast, right? It’s whatever you do online is tracked. We know that, but also, however you engage online can then put you in a bucket and put you in a pool of cookied users where you get treated differently. So if you like, share, or comment on a post on Facebook or Instagram, the beauty behind their platform is they’re not just enabling you to give kudos to the user or the company. They’re doing that. So we can, as an advertiser, can then target you.

Jordon: So if you, let’s see, say you see a carousel ad on Facebook or Instagram, that’s just an ad where you can swipe or click to the right to see more products or more of a product. Once you do that, once you engage with that ad, we can then if we’re running ads for that advertiser, we can then put you in a bucket, in an audience list that says alright, this user was already in our audience. We want to get an ad in front of this person, and now we saw that they engaged. They liked our ad, they commented on our ad or they swiped. They watched a certain amount of our ad. Now we put you down the funnel into an engaged user and we can serve you different ad content, or we can serve you more frequent ad content. We can basically treat that user differently.

Jordon: So it’s really cool. It definitely gets people in a funnel that sometimes they can’t escape from. So I would just say, warning to, as a user, just be careful what you like, share and comment on on Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest, and basically every social platform, because that will give advertisers a signal that you’re interested in getting more. But as an advertiser, it’s a beautiful thing because we do see that engaged users are more likely to buy or sign up for a product or service.

Steve: Yeah. No, that’s awesome and there’s definitely a company that produced a video that was optimized. I’ve seen an advertiser’s video that they’ve optimized for social very well where I found myself watching all the way through. I liked it, I commented, and I kind of regret doing it just because I can’t escape this ad now cross platforms. They have it optimized for a story format as well but honestly, of all the ads I see everyday, the fact that now this one company is staying in front of me, it stands out. And it makes sense, right? And it wasn’t because I clicked through to the website to do anything. It’s just based on my engagement on that ad.

Jordon: I’ve done that too and I kick myself. You know, I’ll like a post and it’s like, oh no, that’s a company. Now I’m going to get ads for the next month.

Steve: One other advanced hack and again, there’s so many advanced tactics which if you want to learn all the specifics, obviously the people who work with Granular, they get the full exposure to what’s in the toolbox but one of the other tactics we didn’t want to talk through is actually being able to change the paid search landing pages based on their behavior on the website the previous time, so talk through that. This is really interesting.

Jordon: Yeah, I mean there’s a number of ways to go about this. The easiest way is to have a dedicated, paid search landing page that is not indexed by the search engines and the only way to get there is through an ad. A lot of people do that for the first touch with paid ads going to a landing page, but you can definitely keep building on that. Just like ad content is so important to customize and evolve as you push a user down the funnel or pull a user down the funnel, so is the landing page. So you can have more aggressive offers or more aggressive calls to action or just know that look, the user doesn’t need to know who you are. Again, don’t send them to the homepage. Send them to the contact page. Send them to the form that requests more info. Send them to a specific product page and not a product category page.

Jordon: That’s the cool thing about retargeting is you know the user’s already done something on your website. You know that they’re more familiar with your brand than a regular user. You know that they’re down a certain funnel. Now it’s time to match your landing page with that of their journey with your brand, so it’s as easy as picking a different landing page for them and that can be dynamically done, or you can take an advanced approach too to customize to the user’s location or to the user’s interests so if they’re interested in a type of product, you can send them to a page that’s all about that and it doesn’t clutter up the landing page.

Jordon: Again, let’s just use the shoe example because it’s easy and everybody uses something like that. If you’re looking for basketball shoes and you haven’t picked it yet, and the retargeting ad brings you back to the website, does it make more sense to send you to a basketball category page where you see a bunch of different basketball shoes, does it make more sense to send you just to one Nike Air Jordan shoe that you happen to look at, or does it make sense to send them to the homepage and hope that they go back to the shoe category and hope they find the shoe that they were looking for?

Jordon: There’s those three options and we see the most basic being oh, let’s just send them back to the homepage. But time and time again we see data that just shows, look, you send them back to one of the product pages that they saw or a very specific category page, you’re going to have more success and that ad click is going to result in more sales.

Steve: Awesome. Yeah, I mean, there’s so many different, and again what I would tell people listening is not to feel bad if you’re not implementing all of these ideas or these tactics, because that is an advanced tactic, but these are the sorts of things that you can do to really squeeze more out of the orange and to iterate once you’ve had retargeting up and running, it is real exciting to know that you can take steps that go beyond just the audiences or go beyond the actual creative, that you’re actually changing that destination based on behavior.

Steve: I do want to, Jordon if you’re cool with it, jump into some of the myths that have to do with retargeting. Because we hear a lot of different things, some true, some not. One I did want to touch on that I’ve been thinking about throughout this with some examples we’ve used is, the first myth is that retargeting only works if you’re selling to consumers. It doesn’t work if you’re a business selling to other businesses. That’s a myth that we hear.

Jordon: Oh yeah. Yeah. And I’m guilty of using these shoe examples for the past few minutes, but half of our clients are B2B, and some B2B industrial stuff that’s really boring and no one knows about, unless you need it, unless you need a rubber wheel roller that fits into your assembly line, or a product that cleans the electricity before it comes into your building. There’s so many random products and services that we advertise for in the B2B space where retargeting is a beautiful thing for that because you’re looking at longer sales cycles, you’re looking at a more advanced user that’s more knowledgeable about the product and maybe less familiar with an obscure, small B2B company, and higher dollar amounts, which means more consideration. So, we’ve seen B2B retargeting work just extremely well.

Jordon: And it’s so important to put into the overall strategy because you are paying quite a bit for clicks. If you’re paying a lot for traffic, you need to make that work. And if it’s a longer sales cycle, you can’t just hope for somebody to click and sign up, or submit a request for quote, or submit a form. You got to stay in front of that person.

Jordon: And another asterisk there is that Facebook doesn’t have 150 or 200 billion users because only B2C people are on Facebook and Instagram, and same goes for YouTube. There are so many B2B users on these other platforms that you can really get some good return on ad spend and good ROI if you think outside of the box and think outside of, “Oh, my B2B user is only going to trade shows, and they only use email, and they only use Bing.” That’s not true, and we can prove it by having a retargeting pixel on all these platforms to show you, “Look, this person that was on your very specific, very industrial B2B website, they’re also spending a bunch of time on YouTube. They’re spending a bunch of time on Facebook.” Let’s just put an ad in front of them to remind them to come back and fill out the form or take action. And it works wonderfully. And yeah, it’s a good myth to bust.

Steve: Yeah. And I’ll give a plug for another Getting Granular podcast episode that recorded alongside our colleague, Mike, which we did a whole episode about B2B paid social and why paid social’s important to B2B. We do talk about some retargeting tactics in that and just being able to use that to promote white papers, client testimonials, webinars. There are all these different content pieces, and you’ve touched on this, because it takes some time to build a case and really get to know a company, especially if it’s a larger purchase, if it’s complex. So, we see B2B clients who implement retargeting properly, working with Granular. It’s a really essential part of the overall digital media mix and as a tactic. So, glad we talked about that. The second, and this one, we probably hear this next myth is actually the one we hear all the time is, “Can I retarget people who visit my competitor’s website even if they haven’t been to my website?”

Jordon: Short answer is “no,” unless your competitor allowed you to put your tracking code on their website. There’s no way to exactly retarget them. Side tangent, perfect audience, did toy with the idea of making alliances with your competitors and sharing a pixel. I don’t think that went through well, and no one signed up for it. But outside of that, no, you can’t retarget. What people sell as that, or what people think is happening, is actually called a custom audience targeting or a similar audience targeting. And we can definitely do that through Google, and Facebook, and other platforms. And what that is is because these large networks like Google and Facebook have so much data, they can actually… Because you’re going around the web and you’re giving them a bunch of signals of who you are and what you’re interested in.

Jordon: So, if you go to a similar company, if you go to a competitor, or if your users do, there’s a way to actually buy and place ads in front of that audience. So, it’s very likely that it feels like a retargeting ad, but it’s not actually a retargeting ad. It’s called a custom audience, or a custom affinity audience, or a lookalike audience. And those are just a couple of examples, but the top three examples of how to make it look like you’re retargeting a competitor’s website. But technically, it’s not a retargeting ad.

Steve: Yeah. And this is where it gets into the one area that’s a little more black box with. I’ll just stick with Google, and Facebook too, I guess, is they can say someone’s in market for something because they know based on what they’re searching and what they’re engaging with. And so, it makes sense, and we’ve seen this certainly, right, where in my own personal life, if I’m looking for a certain type of solution, then all of a sudden, I’ll start to see solutions from other similar competitors even if I haven’t been to their website. That’s not true retargeting. And again, they’re not going to tell you exactly how it works. We’ve got theories on some different things, but that’s definitely… I’m glad you’ve debunked that myth. All right. Well, how about, how about this? And I’ll just have to ask is, again, this is what the sort of stuff we get asked. Can you retarget people who haven’t even been to your website?

Jordon: No, unless… Well, actually, the answer is “yes.” I mean, if they’ve engaged with your other platforms… That’s why it’s important to have profiles out there on other websites like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube. Yeah, technically you can. So, some businesses don’t need a great website or some people have a really big social presence, much more traffic on their social pages than they would on their website. Yeah. You can retarget these people if they watch your YouTube video or if they engage with your Facebook or Instagram posts. Yeah, you can put them in an audience and target them, and then either bring them back to your website or take them back to a social page, wherever you want.

Steve: Yeah. No, I guess, I think, looking at that last myth we talked about, I think this almost should be rephrased as, can you retarget people if they haven’t been to a channel that you don’t own and control? Because then the answer is, no, but if you own your own YouTube page, you manage that Facebook, Instagram page then, yes. Here’s the last one. Again, this is kind of… I’ll just ask it. So, can you retarget people based on what they say through their phone? I mean we hear this all the time. I was asked this when I was on the local news. They said that they swear that they think their Alexa device could hear them talking in their kitchen. And then they started seeing ads for things. Can you retarget people based on what they say through their phone?

Jordon: Yeah. I mean look, the official stance on all these platforms, let’s just pick out the big ones, Google and Amazon, is, no. But there’s certainly a business case for why they’re putting microphones in everyone’s house. And even if the data is anonymous and you’re in one of 999 other users, we’re pretty sure that there’s active microphones listening in and there might be some convenient targeting for users for advertisers that select in market segments or look alike audiences, or some of the other targeting methods on Facebook and Google. That is potentially one of the signals that these companies are collecting. But specifically, can you retarget them based on what they say, no. You can’t do that. Platforms have not given little advertisers the ability to target your personal speech and things like that.

Jordon: I will say though, that if you’re doing a Google search through voice, through saying, “Okay Google,” or if you’re using an iPhone and using a search engine with your voice, we do see those searches come through in our search query reports, and it’s not labeled per se, but typically people speak a little longer than they type and they use different phrases like please, or sometimes we even see, “Okay Google” or “Hey Google” in a search query report.

Jordon: So there’s some ways that you can definitely have a really educated guess that this was a voice search. And then you can obviously if they visit your site, then you can treat them differently. But specifically, no, we can’t retarget a voice user per se.

Steve: Yeah. And again I was going to touch on it, but you covered it with when looking at in-market targeting, custom audience targeting, and link into lookalike targeting, again, I haven’t really peeled back the layers of the onion to read the detail, to say explicitly, we do not incorporate data from smart home devices. I haven’t seen it. It just will explain how it works broadly, but I think there’s enough air cover there. It’ll just say what they do utilize, all these different signals. Again, I think what’s important to emphasize what you mentioned is Granular as an expert pay-per-click agency with our representation we have. We manage lots and lots of dollars. We work with some really big companies, big advertisers. We do not have access to a secret dashboard that gives us the ability to target individuals based on their speech syntax or based on the types of conversations happening in their home.

Steve: That isn’t an audience that we can target. Again you can imagine anything that can be requested as far as the types of ways to target people we’ve been asked to do. That’s one that we actually haven’t had someone ask us to, but if they were we’d say, we don’t have the ability to go in on Facebook or Google and say, well, we want people who they’re actively talking about they need new shoes. We want to have that as a dropdown and let’s go ahead and target that. We don’t have the ability to do that.

Jordon: Right. Exactly. And I’m glad we ended the conversation on a conspiracy theory. We should do that more often.

Steve: Well, it could lead to a future conversation that would be interesting. Some of the most popular conspiracy theories, maybe something, conspiracy theories and pay-per-click something. Maybe for another time, but for now I think we’ve covered everything when it comes to retargeting, at least everything we’re going to cover in this conversation.

Jordon: Yeah, absolutely. And if you’re listening to this on our website, we’re going to retarget you. So stay tuned for those ads.

Steve: All right. That’s a good note to end on. Thanks Jordon.

Jordon: Thanks Steve.

Narrator: Thanks for listening to The Getting Granular Podcast. Be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss out on any PPC tips, tricks or news in the digital marketing world. Be sure to visit our website for more content at granularmarketing.com. Thanks Jordon and Steve for this episode. See you next time.