You have precious seconds to capture the attention of visitors to your site, which is why social media retargeting is one of the best tools to have in your marketing toolbox.

Most visitors will be on your site for a second or less before they click away to another page or another site completely.

This is just a fact of life for internet marketers.

Only about 1 percent to 2 percent of all website visitors actually convert to leads or paying customers. That means that a whopping 98 percent to 99 percent of the people who have had some contact with your brand will not be paying customers.

That’s where retargeting can help you.

Thanks to a bit of code on your website, you can create a cookie that tracks your customers on the web after they leave your site. You can then serve those customers ads for your brand at the right time while they are browsing elsewhere on the web.

Retargeting can help your brand stay top-of-mind for your target audience, and it can help increase your sales and leads.

The Shift toward Social Media

Online marketers have long known the value of social media advertising, but they are now embracing its use specifically for retargeting.

According to a new survey by Marin Software, nearly nine out of 10 marketers engage in retargeting, and 56 percent of those who are not yet using retargeting say that they plan to start doing so in the next year.

The survey found that 48 percent of those engaged in retargeting are now using social media for it.

In contrast, about 81 percent are using display ads and 77 percent are using search advertising — so clearly, there is some overlap in strategies.

The use of social media for retargeting is very popular, and it is only expected to become more so in the coming months and years.

The same survey found that 67.1 percent of respondents said that they planned to increase their budget for social media retargeting this year, and social media finished at the top of the list for retargeting budget planning.

The Marin survey attributed the popularity of social media retargeting to the high engagement that the sites get and to the availability of these sites on multiple devices, including smart phones, laptops, and tablets. More customers are likely to log into social media on one of these personal devices when they are at work, out with friends, or even just waiting in line to get a cup of coffee.

The retargeted ads are displayed alongside the content, so the ads are not intrusive but they maintain high visibility.

Strategies for Retargeting

Retargeting allows you to get an extra layer of detail in your targeting.

Social media advertising allows you to choose the audience you want, including their age, gender, marital status, education level, and even their interests. That information is readily available for most users thanks to what they fill in on the site and how they interact with the site, such as what pages they like or what users they tweet.

With retargeting, you can show ads to customers who meet your criteria and who have already been to your site. There is a much higher likelihood of success with these ads because they are being shown to customers who have high interest in what you have to offer.

Of course, you can also show retargeted ads to customers who have visited your site but who for some reason fall outside the parameters you had set for your ads.

For example, you may sell a product that appeals to teenagers and so you have set your ads to show to teens and to people in the age range to be their parents (who might buy the product as a gift). But an older sister or a grandparent might have also been shopping for that person, and their age range might have fallen outside your target zones. In this way, retargeting simply to those who have been to your site can help you capture more of your potential audience and help you to identify new target markets.

The best way to put together a successful retargeting strategy is to work with a professional who has experience in the field and a track record of results. A professional retargeter can explain all the options to you and help you understand how they each could benefit your brand and your campaign.

The consultant can also help you to understand how to use retargeting on social media as compared with search or display advertising, and can help you to determine how best to divide your budget for maximum results.

With the right retargeting campaign, you can capture more of those customers who visit your site but leave quickly. You will increase sales and lower your overall bounce rate, making all of your campaigns more effective in the long run.