Adapt or Die: How Retargeting Is Helping to Evolve Channel Marketing

Image credit: David McSpadden | Flickr

Is it a bit coincidental that almost every website you’re visiting is advertising the exact pair of shoes or the TV you were tempted to purchase last week?

That, my friends, is retargeting in action.

If the campaign setup and strategy is really effective, you may have even directly experienced just how impactful these banner ads can be on your purchasing decision.

Here’s how it works:

Image source: GrowthGrind

Naturally, you may now be thinking, “ok, that’s somewhat interesting…but why should I care?

Fair question.

Well, the first thing to note is that retargeting is not limited to B2C companies. Secondly, for a number of years, B2B companies have been taking advantage of retargeting as a way of accelerating sales pipeline and improving their win rate. 

It’s time for all B2B companies, large and small to catch up.

How Not To Be Creepy

I won’t lie to you. Retargeting is not a magic fix.

Technology is evolving at an incredible rate (faster than we can even realize) and therefore your audience changes as a result. They’re spending their time in different places; different channels.

As a result, one tactic alone is not enough to secure a deal. It’s the combination of different tactics that produce results and the emphasis on which tactics and channels depend on your company, strategy and industry.

But what retargeting can offer is a different dimension to your strategy.

Not only are you reaching and engaging your prospects in their inbox, in social channels, at trade shows and possibly on search engines, but you can now also visually capture their attention on the business, news, and entertainment websites they visit. This is true multi-channel marketing.

And no, it doesn’t have to be creepy.

Marketing that gives off that vibe is marketing not well thought out.

When your marketing (and more specifically the content) is helpful, your audiences’ perception of your brand value increases. So does their loyalty.

Therefore, it’s important to focus on how your ad retargeting campaign is setup. Here are just a few basic tips to get you started for Display ads:

  • Frequency Capping: Be sure to configure the number of times your ad is shown (impressions) to each audience member. This is crucial. Without that, your banner ad could be popping up all day, every day for your audience. That is creepy.
  • Call to Action (CTA): Because the sales cycle is much longer, it’s generally a better retargeting strategy to focus your banner ads on providing useful resources as opposed to a direct response “buy now” type ad. These can be gated or ungated – but be sure to test.
  • Geography: Are you targeting zip codes, cities, states or regions that align with your business and/or campaign?
  • A/B Testing: Your research may show that an orange colored button produces the highest click-through rate, but have you actually tested that hypothesis? Remember to test assumptions and create a variety of banner ad sizes.
  • Experiment with Membership Duration: This is simply how long a particular member of the audience remains in the audience (before the cookie expires). If your sales cycle is long, you may want to keep the person that has been “cookied” in the audience longer. For example if, on average, your sales cycle is 90 days then try setting your membership duration to 90 days and test.
  • Leverage Conversion or Burn Pixels: Vastly underutilized, these pixels allow you to exclude members of your audience who have reached a specific page (e.g. confirmation page or checkout page) to save money and avoid displaying a message that’s no longer relevant to that person.
  • Rotate Creatives: From time-to-time, it’s wise to rotate creatives to avoid “banner blindness“.

Let’s make this even more relevant to you and see how it can be applied to channel marketing.

Applying this all to the Channel (and how to automate)

With all other variables being equal and if you were a channel partner (perhaps you are), who would you gravitate towards? Who would capture your mindshare?

  1. The supplier that provides retargeting
  2. The supplier who doesn’t

When this tactic is applied to the channel, it becomes a competitive advantage for both parties. Offering retargeting to partners gains mindshare and increases engagement. Being supplied with easy-to-use retargeting campaigns allows you to gain an advantage over your competition.

Imagine this:

  • Supplier XYZ sells through the channel
  • One of their resellers is Partner ABC
  • A Prospect visits one of Partner ABC‘s webpages. For example, a product showcase page.
  • Statistically speaking, 98% of those visitors will leave Partner ABC‘s website without converting.
  • Banner ads are shown on with a resource advertised and call to action in order to help reignite the attention of those 98% of visitors and drive prospects back to a landing page on Partner ABC‘s website. They fill out a form to access a white paper.
  • Partner ABC begins (or continues) to nurture these prospects with their other marketing tactics and vastly increases their chances of closing a deal.

Interested in making this available to your channel and automating it? Look for a channel marketing & management platform that allows you to automate this process.


Originally posted on Channel Chatter, Submitted by: Alex Pethick

Alex has a successful background in developing inbound marketing programs and social media presence for both B2C and B2B companies. He is responsible for strategy and implementation of channel partner online advertising campaigns - as well as social media and content for Zift Solutions.

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