Retargeting is one of the most popular, and powerful digital advertising tactics that a business can utilize. The benefits of reaching your target consumer while they are actively searching for your product/service, without mixing audiences with other categories of business (A user searching for a restaurant likely won’t see an ad for an auto dealer, for example) are very impactful. But businesses must set realistic expectations of such a campaign, and the way in which they will look at their ROI.

Recent conversations with clients and coworkers have made me think of how expectations of targeted display (retargeting) are affected by the type of business that use the strategy.

By it’s very nature, retargeting is not a direct response campaign. A business shouldn’t expect to float some ads out there and have their phone ring off the hook immediately. Depending on the nature of your business, the buying process for your customers vary, even if you’re hitting your target market. Plus, it’s still ultimately up to the customer whether or not to choose your business, regardless of how many times they see your ads. Ad agencies can drive the horse to water, but can’t make it drink, capisce?

Some responses are quicker than others of course. Retargeting for the dining, entertainment, automotive and home improvement industries can see a quicker response if the ads have a strong CTA, or a built-in incentive/discount to encourage immediate action from the users who see the ads. Other verticals like insurance, finance, real estate and medical have a typically longer sales cycle for their prospective clients because they spend a lot of time researching. Customers investing in a home, financial advice, or finding a new doctor don’t usually do so on a whim (I’d hope). Retargeting in these categories is highly effective, but the process takes a bit longer. For businesses in the latter categories, retargeting hits their prospect at the beginning of their sales funnel, not the end. Therefore, patience and persistence are keys to having realistic expectations, a successful campaign, and the impact it will have on your ROI.

There are many reasons that targeted display continues to rise across virtually all business categories as a potent part of the marketing mix, but consider the type and nature of your business when employing such a strategy. It will ultimately help you understand and appreciate the tactic and what it can do for your business over time.

Kevin is a Digital Marketing Specialist with a Chicago-area agency. Twitter: ktredbirds Web: