Is Ad Retargeting Creepy or Just Good B2B Marketing?

Share the knowledge

As a B2B marketer, you constantly look for ways to get in front of that savvy buyer as he makes his journey toward the kind of solution you offer. He’s conducting research all over the internet so you have to find a way to stand out among your competitors. Ad retargeting, of course, is one way.

After all, your prospects are used to seeing their personal browsings duplicated elsewhere online. They are quite accustomed to that search for gazebos that turns into gazebo ads on other sites they visit – just in case they may have missed out on a gazebo buying opportunity.

But it’s not a stretch to wonder about ad retargeting, and what it means to your B2B prospects. Does it feel too personalized? Creepy? A little too much like a stalker? Do they welcome it or does it feel intrusive?

Up Close and Personal

Is it possible that this level of personalization could turn someone off? Is it too personalized?

Personalization is a pioneering concept in digital marketing, no question about it. However over time, pioneering concepts eventually become more accepted. Do you remember how you felt when you received your first personalized email? Where you flattered or did it make you feel uncomfortable? Either way, now you’re turned off if you receive marketing emails that aren’t personalized. Proper use of personalization is key to retargeting success.

Audience segmentation is one thing you can do to offset that notion you may have about stalking your prospects. You’re providing the very information they’re seeking and you know this because they expressed an interest in learning more by visiting certain pages at your website. All you’re really doing is tailoring ads based on your prospect’s interest, which is very similar to email marketing.

This is at the core of any good B2B martech strategy. You are tasked with educating your prospects as they move through the sales funnel. They don’t want to talk to you? Fine. But does that mean you give up? No, you educate them by putting the information where they can find it and consume it.

Less is More

Just as with email marketing, you need to be precise with frequency. The sweet spot for a frequency cap is somewhere between 50 – 200 impressions per month per prospect. Anything less than 50 impressions just doesn’t have enough impact and there’s a strong diminishing value if you serve more than 200 impressions per month.

Don’t overwhelm your prospects and they won’t get the idea they’re being spammed. Frequency caps help you avoid appearing as if you’re stalking your prospects. Don’t overexpose yourself and turn-off your prospects.

You can also switch out the creative to see what your prospects respond to and what simply doesn’t work. White space, images, colors, messaging and calls-to-action are just as important with retargeting as any other ads you create – possibly even more.

The Guessing Game

Do you really know your prospects?

Today, unlike any other time in the history of marketing, we have actual data to use for decision-making rather than mere educated guesses, so one of the first things you may want to consider when retargeting is your bounce rate. If someone comes to your website and leaves within seconds, it may indeed be creepy if you retarget them. Use thresholds such as frequency and time to fine-tune your ad retargeting efforts. Not burning through your ad budget on uninterested visitors is a bonus here too.

But here’s another budget-related bonus: Retargeting allows you to target ads based on demographics, geographics, firmographics and contextual targeting. You put your ads in front of the right prospects who are looking for the kind of information you can provide based on the data you have rather than a broad, and much more costly, ad campaign.

What you’re really doing is structuring ads in ways that answer questions or concerns your prospects may have, again, based on the data you’ve been able to gather about them. Tell them about the success your client’s have had through case studies. Educate them with white papers. Understand your prospects better, and you’ll be better at determining when you’re coming on too strong.

Good Timing

Are your prospects suffering from too much, too soon syndrome?

Degrees of personalization have different levels of effectiveness depending on where your prospect is in the sales funnel. Is he at the top? Middle? Or the bottom and just about ready to pull the trigger?

Personalize based on where that prospect is in the funnel.  If they are totally new to your brand and website, it may not be the time to say, use their name in a web ad. But if they are at the bottom of the funnel, a hyper-personalized message to remind them to re-engage can be very effective.

For example, once your prospect gets to the bottom of the funnel, where he is listening to a demo and demonstrating more than a casual interest or if there’s a proposal out, advertising automation and marketing automation can combine to provide a validation track. This is far more hyper-personalized, and may contain the prospect’s name. It feels a lot less creepy to the prospect if you don’t start off with too much personalization. Here though, it feels just right.

But it doesn’t stop there. Even after the contract is signed, you can shift gears from a validation track to an onboarding track. The onboarding track stops when your CRM reflects that onboarding has been completed to ensure clients don’t receive future ads.

Pulling it all Together

For your prospects, a gentle nudge or reminder from a trusted friend is welcome. A repetitive, overly and oddly familiar and mistimed set of messages is an intrusion. Ad retargeting, like any other marketing tool at your disposal, should be used properly.

You can dial up or dial back the personalization and as a savvy marketer, you will use your marketing know-how to find the right level of personalization to match the kind of interaction your prospects want to have with you and vice versa.

You already have the data to tell you how to use retargeting to the fullest. Decide how you want to be seen by your prospects and put it into motion.

Join Our Email List