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What Is Retargeting and How Does It Work?

By Ben Shepardson | May 11, 2022

In the business world, retargeting is a digital marketing technique that uses sophisticated methods for increasing your brand exposure to anyone who has visited your website in the past. Thanks to a combination of web coding and related automated technologies, retargeting tracks visitors once they leave your site and then serves targeted ads to those visitors that relate back to your website.

In practice, this involves using Javascript, a web programming language, to create a piece of code called a “pixel”. This pixel is then inserted into high-interest locations in your website. Visitors that navigate to these parts of your site are tagged by the pixel, which then tracks their movements by inserting itself into the user’s web browser. Now, once your visitor leaves, that pixel will serve up follow-up ads relevant to your website on other compatible sites.


Hold On, is Retargeting Legal?

It might sound like retargeting is intrusive. Keeping tabs on the web browsing activities of a visitor to your site after they leave it by installing a tracker in their browser, possibly without their knowledge, seems problematic at the very least. However, rest assured that using retargeting does not expose you to any liability, provided you comply with several requirements.

First and foremost, your website must have a Privacy Policy in place that discloses your use of remarketing technology. You also need to include language that reveals what type of information you’re sharing to third-party vendors. Finally, you need to provide “opt-out” services for visitors who don’t want retargeting to be used to serve them related advertising.

What Retargeting Can Cost You

Now that we’ve covered what retargeting is, how it works, and what the legal requirements are to use the technology without liability, it’s time to discuss what it costs to include retargeting in your digital marketing efforts. As can be expected, the total cost can vary widely based on what provider you’re using and how extensive you’ve chosen to make your retargeting campaign, but there are plenty of “ballpark” figures that can be referenced to give you a more solid idea of typical costs.

Each platform or service varies. According to E-Commerce Nation, for example, Facebook retargeting costs approximately $0.20 to $0.30 per click. WebFX, meanwhile, reports that Google remarketing services are closer to $0.66 to $1.23 per click. These differences might seem stark and will likely have you questioning why anyone would choose the more expensive option, but the global reach that Google has, when compared to Facebook, means that their retargeting services are often much more effective.

Other Factors That Influence Cost

There’s more than just what provider you choose when it comes to what influences your overall costs. Retargeting is flexible and configurable, which means that you can limit the retargeting activity according to a number of different factors in order to control costs. In the case of the real estate industry, one of the best ways to use retargeting effectively would be by limiting it to geographical locations that you do business in; there’s no need to retarget your marketing to someone who lives two states away, after all. That’s just wasted money.

Other factors, such as the duration of a retargeting campaign, can also influence overall costs. Likewise, so do the total number of clicks that you wish to pay for. If you’re concerned about ballooning retargeting costs, setting a cap on the number of clicks also keeps your costs low. 

In the end, retargeting is an incredibly powerful tool – but only if you can afford to use it. Find the perfect balance for your marketing budget and you, too can use retargeting in your real estate business.

Ben Shepardson is a Realty Biz News Contributing Writer and has a long track record of success in online marketing and web development. While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems, he worked doing enterprise-level SEO and started an online business offering web development services to small business customers.
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