B2B Marketers Ramp Up Retargeting Strategies

Published: January 15, 2014

The practice of ad retargeting — displaying targeted messages to visitors who have left your site when they view other sites — has been a page in B2C marketers’ playbooks for quite a while. Today, however, B2B marketers are embracing retargeting even more warmly, and for good reason: It is a cost-effective way to keep your brand in front of B2B decision makers during what is typically a long buying cycle.

The average click-through rate online for display ads is .07%, while the average click-through rate (CTR) for retargeted ads is about 0.7%, according to research from Criteo, a company that specializes in performance display advertising. Criteo studies also found that visitors who are retargeted with display ads are 70% more likely to convert than those who are not retargeted.

“As a B2B marketer, we are a big fan of retargeting,” Rob Begg, VP of Marketing for Introhive, a developer of social selling applications, told Demand Gen Report. “It is really is a nice and cost-effective way to keep prospects warm during the longer B2B buying cycle.”

Dave Karel, VP of Marketing at Bizo, a platform for managing B2B display and social advertising programs, explained that retargeting is also an effective way to nurture leads who have not yet identified themselves. “Particularly in a B2B environment, prospects that visit your web site don’t necessarily convert right away,” Karel stated. “It is not as if they are going to click and make a purchase right away.”

Get the latest B2B Marketing News & Trends delivered directly to your inbox!

Chris Golec, Founder and CEO of Demandbase, a targeting and personalization platform for B2B marketers, added: “80% of the traffic on your web site is not from people who will necessarily buy anything. The challenge is engaging with those visitors who are interested in your product but are still in the evaluation process.”

In response, social media sites are ramping up their retargeting options for marketers. Twitter recently announced its new retargeting product for advertisers called Tailored Audiences. LinkedIn offers an ad retargeting service, as does Facebook with its FBX ad retargeting platform.

A B2B Approach To Retargeting

Demandbase recently launched a retargeting tool that is designed to help B2B marketers maximize their ROI for company-targeted advertising. B2B marketers have been limited by consumer-centric retargeting models, Golec noted. B2C retargeting strategies are designed for shorter sales cycles, and don’t take into account the various attributes and stages of the buying process that are important when targeting business buyers.

Among the key components of B2B retargeting are the ability to present messaging tailored to the buying stage and the industry, Golec said. “You really want the retargeting to be relevant based on the buying stage. The messaging is different than if they are early in process or they are visiting your pricing page. If you have a lead coming in from a bank, you want to put financial services messaging in front of them when you retarget.”

Karel said it is important to keep the messaging fresh and relevant. “You don’t want to keep putting the same ad or messaging in front of someone every place they go online, because it gets old very quickly. Some B2C marketers have been good at this almost to a fault, and there is a diminishing return. You have to add value, and you can do that with smart data and technology that learns more about the target as their interaction level and interests grow over time.”

Beyond Display Ads

There are a number of avenues for retargeting, Bizo’s Karel noted. “Retargeting is not just for display ads. You can do it in a number of ways, including paid search, social sharing and in-person events.”

Bizo recently announced an agreement that enables Oracle Eloquaand Bizo customers to synchronize display and social ads to their email nurture programs, Karel said, and the company plans to work with other marketing automation vendors going forward.

CRM is also an important integration point for retargeting efforts as more B2B marketers look for ways to re-engage with existing customers. “Many B2B marketers are looking for was to retarget customers who are already in their database,” as a way to introduce them to products or services they aren’t currently using, Karel said.

In the future, Golec stated, these systems will enable marketers to become even more sophisticated in how they manage their retargeting campaigns.

“Marketers don’t want to waste their retargeting dollars putting the wrong messages in front of the wrong people,” he stated,“and the level of detail of who they retarget and what messages they present are only going to get more focused in the future.”

B2B Marketing Exchange
B2B Marketing Exchange East
Campaign Optimization Series
Buyer Insights & Intelligence Series
Strategy & Planning Series