What is Twitter Retargeting from Websites & Who Should Use It?

What is Twitter Retargeting from Websites & Who Should Use It?

July 22, 2014

Recapturing visitors once they’ve left your e-commerce site is a challenge faced by many-a-marketer, and even more complicated now that your customers spend more of their time on mobile and switch platforms up to 21 times each hour.

The modern marketer needs to track customers as they hop from platform to platform and pull them back into their site. Easy right? Not exactly – turns out that cookies, the primary means of tracking and retargeting customers on desktops, don’t work on mobile. So how do you ensure you’re reaching the same customer across platforms? By targeting ads to customers in apps where their identity is verified, like Twitter.

Twitter retargeting is a lesser known, but highly impactful tool when it comes to reaching and re-engaging customers on mobile. If you’re objective is to drive people back to your site, decrease shopping cart abandonment rates, or increase purchase value – this is a tool that should be in your repertoire.

Below, we get you up to speed on the basics of Twitter retargeting, how it works both by itself and in tandem with other Twitter tools, who can benefit most from using it, and how it differs from FBX and other retargeting tools.

What is Twitter Retargeting?

Twitter retargeting is just that – the ability to retarget your website visitors with ads while they are using Twitter. Using the website tag (also known as a pixel) provided by Twitter, advertisers can capture their website visitors’ browser cookie data, use this data to create a Tailored Audience – as it’s called in the Twitter ad-world – and then target this specific audience with ads on Twitter. Advertisers can use this feature through partners like Ampush and via Twitter’s self-service tool.

How does Twitter retargeting work?

All retargeting campaigns start by creating a snippet of code known as a website tag (all the hard work is done by Twitter; you will just need to copy and paste). Based on the information you would like to collect, be it a completed purchase or that the person searched for a specific item, place the tag within a desired website page (read our article, “Where to Place Pixels to Perfectly Segment Audiences” for more tips). This will allow you to obtain visitors’ browser cookie IDs, which can then be matched to specific Twitter accounts.  This way, when the website user visits Twitter, he or she will see your promoted tweet or account, prompting a return to the website to finish what was initially started.

Here’s an example: if an advertiser operates a music-streaming site, he or she can create a website tag associated with creating an account or logging in.  Then, armed with the Twitter audience provided with this tag, the advertiser can then specifically target users via Twitter, either to encourage future visits or to sell other features.

Does it Drive Results?

Yep – especially for online retailers.1800Flowers saw CPA numbers drop significantly when they used Twitter to retarget recent site visitors as part of a Mothers’ Day campaign, and BetaBrand, an apparel company, saw CPA decrease 63% when the tool was used.  These are small sample sizes, but other companies, such as Rock/Creek, Alex + Ani, and New Relic have also found success through Twitter retargeting, albeit before the release of the website tag feature.

Is this just the Twitter version of FBX?

Yes and no.  They are similar in that they both allow advertisers to utilize browser cookie data to target visitors to their websites.  However, FBX (and Twitter, until this development) requires a third party to use this cookie data to target users based on their web activity.  These “retargeting partners” are unnecessary with this new website tag feature, but little data exists in regard to effectiveness of Twitter retargeting via the Twitter user interface vs. third-party data partners.

How does Retargeting Work in Concert with other Twitter Products?

Although retargeting a website’s visitors via Twitter has proven useful and effective in tests, retargeting should not make up 100% of an advertiser’s Twitter budget.  If one were managing a brick-and-mortar retailer, it would be foolish to advertise promotions only to people who enter the storefront; to do so would ignore the considerable population of people who have never been to, or even heard of, the store.  The same logic applies to Twitter advertising – the retargeting of site visitors should exist as just another effective tool in an advertiser’s social media arsenal.

Twitter retargeting, although a fairly novel practice, has the potential to provide measurable gains in ROI for advertisers, and on a platform with over 250 million users, the possibilities are virtually endless.