Expanding Association Reach with Retargeting

By Mary Ann Holland • December 12, 2018

Think of all the people who have visited your association’s website in the past 24 hours. Did they actively engage with your content? Or, did they leave without taking any action?

With all of the other distractions surrounding internet users, it’s hard to maintain their attention when they’re on your page. You may have stellar website content and relevant ads, but once that user leaves your site, they’re lost to your association. What if you could reconnect with them beyond your site? Keep them interested in your topics and draw them back to your website when they’re ready? This is where retargeting can help.

What is retargeting?

Retargeting is a highly desired digital marketing strategy that can be used to expand an association’s reach beyond their website. It’s something that you as an individual may have experienced while online shopping. After you’ve visited and browsed through for a product, you see ads for that product on a separate, unrelated webpage. This could happen within the same hour of your browsing, or even a day, week, or up to a month later.  This is how retargeting keeps brands or organizations top of mind, usually without collecting any personal information about the user.

The website retargeting process

According to HubSpot, 98 percent of people who visit your website for the first time will leave without converting. But with retargeting, you can serve your ads to these users for up to 30 days following their visit to your site and have more chances to encourage a repeated visit. They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression, but with retargeting, you not only get a second chance but potentially a third, fourth, fifth or more.

The goal of a retargeting strategy is to keep the brand, organization or advertiser top of mind for relevant users after they’ve left your website. For associations, this could mean calling site visitors’ attention to an upcoming industry event they should register for, or boost member engagement by reminding members of the certification opportunities available through their association after they’ve left your website. The possibilities retargeting tactics can bring to the table are widespread and can transform to fit your association marketing goals.

Site vs. search

The most common types of retargeting are site and search retargeting. Site retargeting allows you to serve ads to people based on the actions they’ve taken on your website. These actions can go as deep as which pages they visited, if they started an application, or if they used a link on your site to access another page.

For associations, site retargeting is most effective when online activities are centered on a website domain that has engaging content. Once you’ve curated an audience based on their activity on your site, you can then advertise to them across the Web without having to purchase ad slots for a particular site.

Search retargeting, on the other hand, is based on the actions users take when searching within your website. This is different from the Google pay-per-click version of search engine marketing. With search retargeting, you can match keywords to terms typed into your association’s search function and target website visitors based on those keywords.

For example, if a user visits your site looking for membership information, and types “membership” into the search bar, they would land on the search results page. But once they leave that page, you can use that keyword cookie to keep them in the loop about membership benefits or other relevant information.

Site and search retargeting work on the same model, but one uses visits as opposed to keywords. The benefits of combining both can strengthen your association’s marketing efforts.

Achieving success with retargeting

Retargeting ad campaigns act as reminders for previous website visitors. A common misconception about retargeting is how you track the success of a campaign. Many organizations will look at the standard KPIs attributed to display ad campaigns, such as click-through rate (CTR) or cost per impression (CPM). But using these measurements often discounts the true power behind a retargeting strategy.

The nature of retargeting is about keeping the organization fresh in the user’s mind. Therefore, when they’re ready to convert for your association, they go directly to the website or search for it by name. This is where you can track the success of retargeting campaigns. According to ComScore, retargeting campaigns can lead to a 1,046 percent increase in branded search, and a 726 percent lift in site visitation after four weeks of retargeted ad exposure.

With retargeting on your association website, you can extend your association audience reach of highly qualified site visitors to improve brand awareness, create greater engagement, and increase conversion.

Associations looking to provide expanded reach for themselves, and for their advertisers, should take a closer look at retargeting through programmatic advertising. Integrating with a programmatic network could help earn your association more non-dues revenue by attracting new and increased advertiser business.

About The Author

Mary Ann Holland is the director of programmatic revenue operations for Naylor Association Solutions.