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As Bryan Eisenberg famously said, ‘Most websites don’t have a massive traffic problem. However, every website in the world has a conversion problem.’

There’s much debate around what makes a good conversion rate. Most studies tend to put the typical figure at anywhere between 2% and 10%. And that presents a problem to online marketers. At least 9 out of 10 of your visitors are loading up and closing down your website without converting. How do you reach those visitors and capitalize on the initial interest they’ve shown?

That’s the fundamental idea behind retargeting, which essentially involves supplying display ads to people who’ve previously visited your website, or clicked through from an email you sent.

As with any marketing tactic, it has its fair share of advocates and detractors.

Studies have suggested that retargeting can increase conversion rates by as much as 147%. Elsewhere, comScore research reported a 1046% increase in branded search, and a 726% lift in site visitation after just four weeks of retargeted ad exposure — a clear sign of heightened brand awareness and recall.

But much of this research has focused on its use in B2C businesses. Is retargeting worthwhile for B2B organizations? We weigh up the pros and cons in our latest article…


It suits the prolonged buyer journey associated with B2B purchase

In one sense, retargeting is almost made for B2B marketing. One of the key characteristics of B2B, as opposed to B2C, is the fact that there’s typically a longer buy cycle, with a significantly reduced likelihood of low-consideration impulse purchases. Buyer decisions are usually reached only after detailed deliberation, a sustained period of thought and research, and — more often than not — comparison with your competitors.

Prospects often need to be reminded and nurtured throughout this process. It’s easy to see, then, that retargeting could be a great way to maintain momentum, keep your brand at the forefront of your customers’ consideration process, and, ultimately, propel these leads through the buyer journey.

You know your audience is already interested

We all know that targeting is essential when it comes to directing ad spend. The last thing you want to be doing is paying for ad impressions that are of no interest to people who see them.

With retargeting, your audience has a demonstrable interest in your service or product, meaning — in theory — you’re guaranteed high-quality and high-performing ad impressions. After all, they already visited your website in the past, so surely there’s at least a slight interest in your brand.

Retargeting is fantastic for micro-targeting. You’re able to serve up different display ads, depending on which specific landing page, site page or email they clicked on in the first place. By understanding that relevant information, you’re able to serve them up specific content that will be more likely to compel action.

The Interruption Factor

That all sounds great. So are there are any drawbacks? Well, with the rising popularity of inbound marketing, we’re seeing a move away from the old, interruptive techniques like cold calling. Critics of retargeting often claim that it can appear to be unduly interruptive to the consumer experience.

What does this mean?

When you roll out retargeting campaigns, your ads will often show up on websites that aren’t necessarily related to your product or service. Your target customer might be the Head of Sales at a large enterprise. He or she visits the website during the work day and gets the information they need, without making a firm decision.

Later that night when they’re checking up on the latest sports news or scrolling through their social news feeds, they see an ad from your business: sure, there’s an argument that this keeps your brand fresh in their mind and, hopefully, keeps them in your sales funnel.

But you also need to think about whether it potentially crosses the line into seeming a little obtrusive and pushy. Of course, with that all said — if you get the balance right, it can still eb very fruitful for brand awareness and perceptions.


Perhaps the most commonly cited objection is a lack of granularity when it comes to targeting your campaigns. So, in simple terms, the criteria for being retargeted is essentially: ‘this person has previously visited my site.’ When you start to think about that, you realize that it’s actually incredibly broad.

So, for example, you could be showing your ads to people who already became customers after visiting your site; or, at the other end of the spectrum, to people who clicked to your site by mistake and have no real interest in converting. At best, this can be an inefficient use of ad spend, and at worst, it can actually aggravate your customers and, potentially, damage your relationship with them.

There’s very little scope for targeting by behavioural factors in remarketing campaigns and — until that situation changes — there’ll always be something of a caveat to any statement relating to its success.

In saying that, as we mentioned previously, it is possible to serve up different banners depending on which part of your page the user visited, so retargeting needn’t be completely scattergun.

The Verdict

There’s plenty of evidence out there that suggests retargeting is a valuable string to your B2B marketing bow. We’d always recommend that you treat marketing from a deeply scientific angle, and that’s particularly the case with retargeting: trial and error is going to help you establish what helps drive repeat traffic with your retargeting campaigns, and comprehensive tracking and analytics will then be essential to keeping tabs of your on-page performance.

The bottom line is this: retargeting can absolutely be worthwhile for B2B organizations, but, as with any other technique, you need to keep right on top of the numbers and be driven by the data at all times.

Do you use retargeting in your business? Is it worthwhile? And what can we do to improve it? Let us know in the comments section…