Targeted advertising has come a long way since buying “spots” many years ago. For some businesses, a billboard that appeals to the masses may still be appealing and effective, but for the vast majority of businesses today, in order to make their ad dollars provide a reasonable return on investment, they need to turn to other strategies that help them send the right message to the right person at the right time. Thankfully, the market has listened and ad buyers have a trove of shiny new tools at their disposal to assist.
One shiny new(ish) tool that’s gotten better and better is retargeting. For those who aren’t familiar, retargeting is the act of serving an ad to someone who has already been to your website or taken some sort of action. We’ve all experienced it—you’re on the fence about buying that new pair of shoes and ultimately end up deciding not to go through with the purchase, but then, for the next seemingly 6 months, the only ad you see all over the internet is not just any shoe, but that pair of shoes. That’s retargeting at work.
This advertising tactic has been around for quite some time, and for good reason. After all, if someone was recently checking out shoes on your website, they’re probably in the market for shoes and are an excellent person to show an ad to.
Recent Retargeting Improvements
While retargeting itself has been around for a little while, over the past couple of years, ad networks have given it some very serious upgrades. As you can see from the image below, a strategy that used to be as simple as sending someone an ad after they visited your website has evolved into sending someone an ad if they’re in one of your user lists, if they’ve watched one of your videos, if they’ve done something offline, if they’ve registered for an event, triggered an event in your app, and so much more.
And that’s just Facebook Ads! Other ad networks such as Google take it to a whole new level with features like “custom intent” audiences, which allow you to retarget “keyword searchers.” For example, if your business sells women’s flip flops, you could serve YouTube Ads to people who have recently typed “women’s flip flops” into their search bar. Very effective stuff, and something that savvy advertisers have not only been capitalizing on, but also looking for opportunities to expand.
An Issue of Timing & Scalability
As powerful as retargeting can be to help your business close deals, it has a major Achilles heel: Scale. By definition, through a retargeting campaign, the only people that you can serve an ad to are people who have interacted with your business, and most entrepreneurs are interested in growing their business faster than recycling through the same users over and over. To help combat this, new techniques have emerged leveraging functionality built into popular ad networks such as Facebook and Instagram Ads to try to expand retargeting programs to reach more people. Most recently, through repixeling.
Repixeling is very similar to retargeting, but instead of sending ads to the recent visitors of your website, you create a partnership through a platform like Repixel and send ads to the recent visitors of someone else’s website.
For example, let’s say you sell accounting software. Retargeting people who have visited your own website is likely to be an effective strategy, but retargeting someone who was recently reading a review website about the best accounting software on the market is likely to be just as (maybe more?) effective of a strategy, as it provides you with an opportunity to reach people from other websites.
After all, the only reason someone would have possibly typed into their search bar “best accounting software” and visited a website like the one below is if they were actively in the market for a product like yours—a near-perfect person for you to show a Facebook Ad to.
By expanding your retargeting efforts to people who were recently on a review website, how-to content, or related blogs in general, you solve two main problems:
- Timing: Granted, as seen in the screenshot below, advertisers always have the ability to show Facebook Ads to people who “have expressed interest” in accounting and related terms, but there’s no way of knowing if the 91,395,170 people that Facebook claims are in this bucket are studying for an exam, reading an interesting article, or actively in the market. That last piece is key—users need to be in the market now to be a good fit to serve an ad to, or they’re of no use to you and will end up causing you to unnecessarily burn budget on wasted impressions.
- Broader Audiences: Traditionally, when using very general audiences like “expressed interest in accounting,” advertisers have to layer on demographic guesses around age, gender, location, etc., potentially filtering out good prospective candidates based on faulty assumptions. But with repixeling, there’s no need—regardless of the prospect’s age, gender, device, location, etc., if someone was recently reading up on the best accounting software, they’re in the market—nearly guaranteed—no other filters needed. So advertisers end up with a bigger audience pool of more targeted people than they would have if they were to use Facebook’s “out of the box” options.
A Brief History of Repixeling
An interesting thing to note is that repixeling has been around for quite some time in the form of “pixel swapping” where advertisers would send their Facebook pixel to publishers to place on their websites in exchange for a fee. These relationships have been, and will continue to be, a win-win for both sides. Owners of websites would generate newfound revenue, and newfound audiences would be found for advertisers to send ads to. But a few problems have started to arise.
Most notably, from the advertiser’s perspective, it can be a very time-consuming and frustrating process to create a partnership from start to finish. That’s because you have to:
- Find companies that you want to work with
- Find the right person within that company
- Implement tracking code
- Negotiate contracts
- Manage the relationships
- Navigate and stay up-to-date on compliance regulations
And so much more. It can become a very cumbersome process that, despite the efficacy, some advertisers would pass on because it was such a logistical nightmare. And if advertisers were passing, as a result, that’d mean missed opportunity for site owners.
That’s why marketplaces like Repixel have started to pop up to help alleviate some of the frustration. Through Repixel’s marketplace, you can easily find partners that will let you retarget their website(s).
How Repixel Works
Step 1: Site owners come into the marketplace and post a listing declaring that they’re willing to let advertisers retargeting their website. They set the price at which they’d be willing to license out their pixel and continue.
Step 2: After pricing, site owners are prompted to complete a quick questionnaire and drop a snippet of tracking code on their website. Once complete, a discoverable listing is generated in the marketplace that looks a little like this:
Step 3: Advertisers arrive at the marketplace. Advertisers can browse at their leisure and apply filters to find a good-fit site that they might want to retarget. Once they find one they like, they send out a “repixel request” to let the site owner know they have an offer. The site owner gets an email asking if they’d like to work with the advertiser, and if approved, the site owner will create and share a Facebook pixel with the advertiser through a “share pixel” button, built directly within Facebook Ads, kicking off the relationship.
Step 4: Now that the pixel has been shared, advertisers can login to their Facebook account and create a custom retargeting audience as they normally would, but instead of selecting their own pixel, they’ll simply select their partner’s, as seen below.
Step 5: The advertiser now has the ability to start sending Facebook and Instagram Ads to the recent visitors of their partner’s website.
Retargeting has been great for a long time, and it’s not going anywhere. But for the savvy marketer that is interested in expanding their retargeting program without compromising their ROI, you just might find Repixel to be your new secret weapon.