Retargeting has become a hot topic among not only marketers, but also hotel owners. But while marketers and owners are talking about this trendy subject, they are often talking about different things. One may be talking about general display advertising, while others may be talking about advertising through a certain site, such as Google. Others may be talking about retargeting in general, which is the retargeting that this report will include.
So what is this retargeting? And how does it differ from all the other forms of retargeting or, as it’s also known, as remarketing? And is retargeting really just about buying ads and sending them into the cybersphere?
These are the burning marketing questions that this report will answer. By the end of it, you’ll know exactly what retargeting is, how to do it, and whether or not it is right for your hotel. Spoiler alert, unless you’re a brand new hotel that has had zero interaction with customers, it probably is.
You’ll also learn about the resources you need in order to do it, and so much more. So without further ado, let’s get right into everything you need to know about retargeting.
What is Retargeting?
Retargeting is simply using ads to target users that have already visited a website. This type of advertising is done with banner ads, display networks across the web, on social media sites, and any other form of online advertising your company is probably already using.
The idea of retargeting is to entice past customers to come back or to attract people who may have visited the site but left before booking a stay or taking the preferred action the hotel owner wants them to take. It’s a way to get customers back to the site, and into the hotel.
When using retargeting effectively, hotel owners aren’t just sending their message out to the masses and hoping something lands with a guest that’s likely to take action, the way a lot of online advertising works. Instead, it’s a way to really target your advertising to the audience you’re trying to reach. Using this type of advertising, you’re targeting anyone that has visited your website before.
This is how retargeting ads differ from display banner ads that are typically broadcast to a hotel’ entire target audience rather than just a small portion of it. With retargeting, you are only taking the portion that has been on the website or otherwise expressed interest and marketing to them and them alone.
But isn’t this really just the remarketing initiative that Google released some time ago?
It’s true that Google did launch their own form of retargeting through Google Ads. And while Google called this remarketing, it’s not. It’s retargeting using Google’s own term for it. So while remarketing is a form of retargeting, not all retargeting can be called remarketing.
So, now you know what it is. But why should you be using it for your hotel? Read on to find out.
Benefits of Using Retargeting Ads
So now that you know what it is, you may be asking yourself just why exactly you would go to the trouble. After all, you’re already spending advertising dollars on people that haven’t shown interest just yet. So why would you spend even more on those that already have?
Because there are so many benefits to retargeting ads! Just check them out.
Get more sales
This is perhaps the main reason why hotel owners would choose to try retargeting ads. Think about it. When you advertise to people that have not yet expressed interest, or maybe even know, about the company, you’re trying to generate more sales. So when you use retargeting ads to entice people that have already shown an interest in your company, not only are you trying to increase revenue, but the chances of increasing that revenue are even better. These are after all, customers that have already taken the time to visit your website, so they are even more likely to take the plunge and actually buy something.
Create more leads
All marketers, and most hotel owners, know what it’s like to cold call someone. It can feel hopeless and as though it’s not going to get the wanted results. But retargeting is different. Using retargeting ads isn’t cold-calling. It’s like calling someone that actually called you first. And when that happens, you’re much more likely to make the sale because they’re already interested in what you’ve got. That’s a great reason to start using retargeting ads!
Increase brand awareness
This benefit is one that’s often listed as a benefit of advertising, no matter what the form. But it’s even more true when talking about retargeting ads. Studies have shown that it takes seven impressions, or seven times a customer has heard about you or seen your name, before they convert into an actual customer. But retargeting ads can greatly cut that time down. With these ads, the odds are better that when a customer needs a product or service, they’ll think of you first. Not only have they already been to your site, but they’ve also seen an ad for your product or service after visiting. That increases brand awareness, and that means more profit for your hotel.
One of the lesser-known benefits of retargeting ads is that it allows you to understand where customers go after they leave your site. Getting the most hits from retargeting ads from Facebook ads? Your customers are likely going there after leaving your site. Capturing leads from retargeting ads on the Google network after they’ve left your site? That’s where your customers are. Retargeting lets you do this in a way that regular advertising just can’t.
Online advertising isn’t all that expensive. But you can make it even cheaper by using retargeting over other types of online marketing. When you broadcast an ad out there hoping that someone, anyone, is going to grab hold of it and listen to its message, you’re spending advertising dollars advertising to people that just aren’t going to listen to the message. But when you use retargeting ads, you have a much better chance that those dollars are going to be put to work for you because they’re targeting people that have already expressed an interest.
Stay on the Cusp of Online Marketing
Retargeting ads, like any other form of online advertising, is not something that’s going away any time soon. By getting on this somewhat new trend of retargeting ads, you’re showing your customers that not only do you care about them, but that you’re also someone who’s on the cusp of what’s happening with your customers. Where they are, how to appeal to them, and how to get them even more interested in your company, even if they have happened upon your site before and not taken action. This goes a long way in today’s digital world, and it’s something your customers are bound to notice.
Reaping those benefits is all fine and well, but exactly how are you supposed to use retargeting ads? And make sure they’re only getting to people that have already visited your website? There are two ways to do it.
The first, and most common method used when retargeting, is pixel-based retargeting. With this method, anytime a user visits the website, a tracking pixel will leave a cookie in the user’s browser. They will then leave that site and, as long as they use the same browser, can be followed onto Google or Facebook, where they can then see your ad. Only users that have had a cookie placed in their browser will see the ad, so you know you’re only targeting people that have already been to your site.
One of the most effective things about using pixel-based retargeting is that you can start advertising to someone as soon as they leave your site. Ever notice that if you’ve looked on Amazon at a particular product, the next time you’re on Facebook, you see an ad for the exact same product? You’ve been cookied, so that Amazon can continually remind you about that great product and perhaps even convince you to buy it.
With list-based retargeting, you don’t need to place a pixel code on your website or allow cookies to be placed on anyone’s browser. It’s for this reason that many hotel owners use list-based retargeting when they’re just getting started with this type of retargeting.
Using list-based retargeting is quite simple. A hotel owner simply has to just upload the email addresses of their current customers onto the retargeting platform they wish to use. The platform will then identify users with those matching email addresses and show them the ads that have been created for retargeting purposes.
While pixel-based retargeting has the advantage of targeting users as soon as they leave your site, the advantage of list-based retargeting is that you can know exactly who you’re targeting. With pixel-based retargeting, you’re really just serving ads to anyone that’s come onto your site. You don’t necessarily know who they are. They could even be a competitor just trying to get an edge by visiting your site. There’s no way to know. But with list-based retargeting, you might even recognize a regular customer through their email address, know what they’re looking for, and know how to best serve their needs.
But, there is a downside to list-based retargeting. The main one is that there’s no way to tell if the email addresses are going to match those you’re trying to retarget. It’s not uncommon for people to use different email addresses for their social media accounts than they may use when submitting a form on a website or providing a store with an email address.
Both methods of retargeting have their own purposes, advantages, and disadvantages. Because of this, it’s usually a good idea for hotel owners to use both types. However, hotel owners that are just starting out using retargeting ads may wish to begin using the one they’re most familiar with and then move on to incorporating the other.
Setting Goals for Retargeting Ads
Just like any good marketing campaign, when you forge into retargeting campaigns, you need to set a goal for what you would like the campaign to achieve. When embarking on retargeting campaigns, there are only two: driving conversions or building awareness.
Getting conversions is trying to push people to take those little actions that will move them further along in the sales funnel and try to get them to actually make a purchase. This goal focuses just on that – trying to get those conversions that will boost revenue for the hotel.
When launching a retargeting campaign, there are a couple of ways to do this. When using a pixel-based campaign, the goal of getting conversions can be achieved by encouraging people to fill out lead generation forms, download a whitepaper, or attend a webinar. It can even be used to upsell existing customers.
Another goal that can be kept in mind while launching a retargeting campaign is to build awareness for the hotel’ brand. And while many hotel owners may not think this goal is as profitable as getting conversions, it can be.
When the goal of retargeting is to build awareness, it’s setting the sights on customers that are a little higher in the sales funnel. Those customers that have landed on a website and then left. This isn’t disastrous. After all, only four percent of visitors to a website are ready to buy at that exact moment. And this is exactly where retargeting can step in to get those potential customers back. Building awareness of a brand is a great way to do it.
With awareness retargeting campaigns, the goal is actually to just remain on the radar of those potential customers. To remind them when they go certain places online, that the hotel is there to serve their needs. While awareness campaigns may not bring revenue directly into the hotel, they serve their own purpose so that they may bring revenue into the hotel in the future.
Now that you know what retargeting is, the benefits it can bring, and the goals of any retargeting campaign, it’s time to choose which platform you want to use when launching a retargeting campaign. There are several. And just like you can advertise across search engine networks and on social media platforms, these are also the platforms you can use when launching a retargeting campaign. And you can use just one of them, or you can use all of them. It will depend on how much time you want to invest, and how much of your budget you want to invest.
Google Display Network
Anyone that has an AdWords account should be using the Google Display Network. And anyone that doesn’t have an AdWords account should get one at https://ads.google.com. This network expands over 1,000,000 websites and apps, which gives hotel owners that want to use it a huge reach. This network includes running retargeting video ads on YouTube, the second-largest search engine below Google.
By using retargeting ads on the Google Display Network, you have the ability to advertise to over ten percent of the Internet. That’s how big of a reach you’ll have.
To set up a retargeting campaign on the Google Display Network, you just have to add the Google remarketing tag, or pixel, to your hotel’ website and then create the ads that will make up your campaign. Setting up a retargeting campaign on Google Ads is very easy and straightforward, and will get the hotel owner great results.
Just like all hotel owners should use the Google Display Network for their retargeting campaigns, they should also use Facebook. Facebook has approximately 1.3 billion active daily users, meaning that ignoring this platform would be ignoring another expansive reach for the hotel. As an added bonus, Facebook owns Instagram, extending that reach even further. While Facebook won’t bring quite the yields the Google Display Network, it will be large enough to still get the hotel owner impressive results.
Just like the Google Display Network, setting up a retargeting campaign on Facebook only requires that a pixel be added to the site, creating some ads, and then setting up a campaign. When using Facebook for retargeting, often the goal is only to increase brand awareness.
Twitter can be a difficult platform to run a retargeting campaign on. While Facebook has its own distractions, they are much worse on Twitter with thousands of tweets coming in every second. While many think Twitter retargeting ads are ineffective, they still have a purpose.
Hotel owners that want to maximize their brand awareness and have something really important to share will find benefit from utilizing Twitter’s retargeting platform. Setting up these campaigns is just like setting one up on any other platform. The Twitter pixel needs to be installed on the website and then an ad created and a campaign set up.
While these three platforms are certainly not the only ones that offer retargeting ads, they are the biggest ones. If you want to get started on retargeting campaigns, these are probably the best ones to start with.
How Much Does Retargeting Cost?
No hotel owner wants to blindly throw money at their marketing efforts and simply hope that something sticks. And you probably don’t either. So before you start creating retargeting ads and figuring out where you want to display retargeting ads, you need to first determine how much you want to spend. And you also need to know when to pull the plug – probably when you’re campaign has reached the maximum budget you’ve set out.
A recent study how shown that marketers are only spending about ten percent of their marketing budget on retargeting. This figure can be used in a couple of ways. You can use it to set your retargeting budget at the same amount, or you could increase your retargeting budget and stay on top of the competition. Because the more ads you have and the fewer ads they do, the more your ads will likely be seen.
So, now that you know you need to determine a budget, and perhaps even how much that budget should be, there’s still the big question. How much is it actually going to cost?
When you use an ad provider, whether it’s a big marketing company or a platform like Facebook or Google, they’re going to charge you for the ads in three different ways. You can choose cost-per-click, cost-per-mille (or cost per 1,000 impressions), or cost-per-acquisition.
But what do all of these mean?
Cost-per-click is just as it sounds. You’ll only be charged for the ad when someone clicks on it. And you can even set up how much you’ll spend per click, whether it’s $0.50 or $1.00. Your ad will only show on sites that allow that much per click. This can be a great choice when you realize that the people most likely to click on your ad are also most likely to convert and make a purchase. But if your campaign runs for a little while and you notice you’re getting a lot of clicks but not a lot of conversions, you might want to reconsider your ad, your payment method, and your landing page.
Another way to pay for retargeting ads is through cost-per-mille. With this payment method, you’ll only pay after your ad has been shown 1,000 times. It’s important to note that this only means after 1,000 times the platform or company has shown your ad, regardless of whether or not it was actually seen by someone. This can be a good strategy if you’re still getting a lot of clicks from the ad.
But sometimes, the ad will appear at the bottom of the page and never get clicked on. Which ultimately means the ad isn’t effective. Simply put, if you find you’re not getting clicks through cost-per-impression, you may have to reevaluate again. Is the ad eye-catching? Are the banner sizes different so they can show up on different sites, and on different parts of sites? You may also have to determine whether or not you want to continue paying per impression, or move to something else such as cost per click.
Cost-per-acquisition is another method of payment for retargeting campaigns. With this method, you will only pay when someone converts on your offer. This is the most expensive route to go, but for good reason. It’s also the most effective. The only drawback to it is that when it comes to tracking your retargeting campaign, it can be difficult to determine whether the customer converted due to the retargeting ad, or if they were convinced through another form of advertising. And while hotel owners will benefit from those new acquisitions, the platform is going to charge for the conversion whether it was due to the retargeting ad or not.
The choice of how you pay, like your overall budget, is up to you. But it’s not a great idea to choose one and just stick with it. Instead, switch it up every now and then so you can really see which method of payment is working best for you.
Retargeting Best Practices
Once you understand what retargeting ads are, how they can benefit any business, and what platforms are available for retargeting, you then need to start setting up your campaigns. And when you start doing that, you need to keep a few things in mind that will help you get everything you need out of your retargeting campaigns. Below are some of the best practices to use when setting up those campaigns that could bring more profit in and greatly benefit your hotel.
Segment your audiences
Not all target audiences should be marketed to in the same way. While you may have one large target audience, that audience could be segmented in different ways. For example, you may have some visitors that almost made a purchase but ended up not doing so. Or you could have visitors that liked your blog, and then left. Some of your retargeting audience may have ended up on your website by accident. All of these audiences will need to be marketed to in a different way than the other. And creating the same campaign for all of them won’t get you the results you’re looking for.
You can set up a campaign to segment your audience and deliver messages that will be most appealing and appropriate for them. You can set up different criteria such as the time spent on your site, pages visited, demographics, and even location. Or you can use different pixels on different pages of the site and segment that way. Each will get a different ad, and that ad will be tailored in order to resonate best with certain visitors and ultimately, bring more profits into the hotel.
While you want to stay at the top of the minds of your customers, you want them to associate your hotel with a positive connotation. And if you’re constantly bombarding them with ads, you won’t. Instead when they think of your hotel they’ll become irritated at the fact that they can’t go anywhere online without seeing your ad.
Many marketers recommend capping ad impressions at 17 – 20 ads per person per month. Others on the other hand, may recommend that as soon as someone has left your site after almost making a purchase, it’s best to get as many ads in front of them as possible. So what’s the answer?
Many marketers think that a combination of these two approaches will get business owners the best of both worlds. Many retargeting platforms allow a hotel owner to set up a campaign based on how long it has been since someone was on the site. With this feature, you can put a lot of ads in front of the customer right after they’ve visited your site for about one or two weeks. After that time, you can lessen the amount of ads they see over time.
And as for the ad campaigns themselves? You should run them as long as possible. While people who were on your site a month ago may be less likely to make a purchase, there are still more visitors coming to your website every day. And those people show great potential through retargeting campaigns.
Use burn codes
Imagine if you had just purchased something online. Then you head on over to Facebook to see what your friends are up to, and you see an ad for the exact thing you just purchased. Annoying, right? It would be, and it will be for your customers, too. But how do you stop that from happening when running retargeting ads?
By using a burn pixel. Burn pixels are just like retargeting pixels. But instead of the code telling the ad to run on a certain site, it tells them not to run. These can be added to thank you pages, confirmation pages, or any other page that the customer will see after making a purchase or taking the action you want them to. Your customers won’t be annoyed, and your retargeting campaign will be saved.
If you’re a hotel owner and you’ve never heard of banner blindness, it’s time to familiarize yourself with the concept. Banner blindness is when people simply stop seeing your ads, usually because they’ve seen them so many times already that they just don’t register on their radar anymore. And banner blindness can happen during retargeting if you’re not careful and don’t rotate your ads every now and then.
Click-through rates typically tend to start dropping off five months into a campaign. But this doesn’t mean that you simply have to accept it. Instead, you just have to run a different ad that customers will actually see because it’s not something they’ve seen hundreds of times before.
To do it, simply run regular A/B tests on your retargeting ads. By tracking them you’ll be able to compare results and determine which ad is performing best. Then you can start using that one and when people become blind to that, you can create a new ad that will pop out at them on whichever platform you choose to run it.
When not to Retarget
One of the best practices above was to maintain frequency when retargeting. So, you should be trying to retarget every visitor that comes to your site, right? Well, not necessarily. Some people may end up on your site by accident. Or they may never be interested in buying something from you, but they like the expertise you offer through your articles and blogs on topics they are interested in. These people are not good candidates for retargeting.
For example, a hotel owner in Las Vegas could possibly get hits, and revenue, from people in France that want to go check out Sin City on their next vacation. In this case, retargeting people that live far and away could still work and still be profitable.
At the end of the day, hotel owners have to determine who they’re most likely to get actual business from. If they determine a certain type of visitor likely won’t ever buy from them, there’s no reason to retarget them.
Working with Retargeting Companies
Just like any other kind of marketing out there, retargeting has gotten big enough that there are marketing companies that dedicate themselves to doing it for you. And the range of services you’ll find will vary quite drastically.
Some will create an entire ad for you, including the code to place on your site. Some will give you the code, but leave the actual ad creation up to you. And some will do everything from logging into your Google AdWords to create an ad to handing you an analysis chart when the campaign is all said and done.
So the question is, should you use one of these companies such as AdRoll? And like in most business decisions, the choice is really up to you.
There is nothing wrong with using these companies. And in fact, they can be busy working on your retargeting for you while you’re busy running your hotel (which is what you really want to do anyway, isn’t it?) That can take a big marketing load off your shoulders. Yes, they will take some of the profit because they will want to be compensated for their efforts. But like anything else, you can shop around and find the one that’s best suited to your needs. And in that search, you’ll likely come across a few that are affordable.
But take just a minute before you go full-throttle and have a company such as AdRolls throwing retargeting ads up anywhere and everywhere online. This can confuse things, especially for the hotel owner that’s just starting out in online marketing or retargeting ads.
Instead, it may be best to just stick to the two biggies at first – Google and Facebook. This will allow you to really get a feel for retargeting campaigns, understand how they work, and what ads your customers or leads are most responding to. You don’t even have to do this yourself. You can still get a marketing consultant to help you out with it or one of the big companies you’ll find through a simple Google search.
And going that route work wonders for a retargeting campaign, no matter where or how often you’re advertising. After all, these guys are experts and know all about SEO, click-through rates, how to track campaigns, and more. There’s a good chance that your campaigns, and your hotel, will greatly benefit from having a professional at your disposal.
Retargeting may seem like one of those buzz words you hear every so often. And like many of those other marketing buzz words, this one’s going to be sticking around for quite some time. Because as a hotel owner, not only do you always have to be thinking about the new leads and potential customers that are out there, you have to think about a way to get those who have window shopped and walk away back again.
And that’s what retargeting can do. It can bring back customers that may have visited your site, or even have just seen your product or service, but weren’t in a position to make that final buying decision just yet. It can keep your hotel at the forefront of a customer’s mind so that when they are ready to make that decision, they know exactly where to turn.
But while it’s good hotel owners understand all the benefits that come with retargeting, it’s just as important to understand that it’s a commitment. It may take a few months to see any ROI on retargeting campaigns. And while you’re waiting, you’ll be getting to know your audience even better – where they go online, what ads they respond best to, and what is going to drive them to make that final buying decision.
When that happens, the return you will see on your hard work and your marketing investment will be truly worth it.