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Mar 25, 2011 | 1 minute read

Stalking Site Abandoners With Behavioral Targeting

written by Linda Bustos

Have you noticed certain sites seem to “follow” you around the web, appearing in display advertising slots nearly every site you visit?

Ever wondered how you could get in on the action?

Google Display Network’s “remarketing” program allows you to create behaviorally targeted campaigns based on clickstream input from your site. You can choose to target all visitors with generic follow-up display ads, or customize campaigns based on which pages and categories your visitors view.

For example, when I click on Women’s Jackets on and then remember it’s my turn on Scrabble (common user behavior, right?) Backcountry follows me to Facebook and an animated banner rotates on-sale women’s jackets.

Of course, this has wonderful applications for abandoned cart remarketing, in addition to triggered recovery emails. Some abandoned carts are due to distraction or intent to purchase later. Branding yourself everywhere the customer goes is a way to jog the memory and gently remind them about your site.

For abandoned carts, you could use specific creative – but tread carefully with offers and incentives to checkout. A) you could come across as desperate, B) you may sacrifice margin for sales that would have completed at full price anyway and C) you could train customers to become cart abandoners. A generic ad that touts your value proposition is powerful, like Zappos’ 365 Day Return policy.

Here’s a quick video on how it works:

Email subscribers view video here

Unlike remarketing email campaigns that only work when you’ve collected a valid email address (and can be borderline unsolicited email), display ad remarketing relies on cookied browsers. While an estimated 30% of visitors clear cookies on a regular basis, you can still get visibility for a short time as visitors peruse websites in the Google Display Network.

Have you experimented with remarketing? Has it been effective and profitable for you?