Why aren’t you retargeting? Maybe you shouldn’t be.

As featured in Furniture Today.  Retargeting seems like a magical method for showing your advertisements only to shoppers who’ve already interacted with one of your online properties — your website, Facebook page, e-blast, YouTube videos and so on. After all, they must be interested in what you offer if they visited your page, so why not show them ads to remind them to come back and place an order, right? Maybe.

What is “retargeting”? According to Wikipedia: “Behavioral retargeting (also known as behavioral remarketing, or simply, retargeting) is a form of online targeted advertising by which online advertising is targeted to consumers based on their previous Internet actions. Retargeting tags online users by including a pixel [a small section of code on a website] within the target webpage or email, which sets a cookie in the user’s browser. Once the cookie is set, the advertiser is able to show display ads to that user elsewhere on the internet via an ad exchange.”

There’s an abundance of chatter about the significance of remarketing, even making it seem like a necessity. However, much of that talk is not industry-specific. Retargeting holds a different value to different industries and that value can be quite varied. For a business selling fishing supplies, there is almost no limit to the amount of new fishing gear one can buy, so retargeting can keep the business top-of-mind and encourage more sales.

For a furniture, mattress or design business, your customers are often one-and-done. Showing retargeting ads to someone who has already designed their home and purchased the furniture could be a complete waste of money — it might be years, or decades, before some purchase again. Does this make retargeting obsolete for the furniture industry? Not necessarily.

What can make retargeting useful for furniture businesses is our industry’s long buying cycle. A consumer might start considering a redesign months before the purchase takes place. If they begin researching products and services, and you can remarket to them while they’re in the consideration phase (especially if your competitors are not), you might benefit by being the only business they remember when it’s time to make a purchase.

How do you know when it’s appropriate to retarget and how much to spend? That depends on your overall advertising budget.

If you’re not exhausting your digital budget by directly targeting shoppers who are showing an immediate need (people searching for what you do/sell on Google right now), retargeting may be a better use of your excess budget than other forms of advertising. At least with retargeting you know the prospect has shown some interest in what you offer. You’ll never know if you’re retargeting to the person who has just started their research, or who has just completed their project, but that’s the cost of playing the game. Perhaps you can take some solace in knowing that retargeting to even those who’ve completed their project, and won’t become your customer again for some time, might remind them to refer you to friends who ask “Where did you get that gorgeous spinning lure?”

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