The terminology and technology behind retargeting is intimidating. Ad exchanges, programmatic purchasing and confusing acronyms like CTC, CPM and CTR can create a high barrier of entry for curious marketers.

Thankfully, the work involved in running a retargeting campaign is simple and intuitive. For those who aren’t fluent in ad-tech talk, we’ve collected research from our network of advertisers to explain how different aspects of retargeting work, and perform.

Retargeting is a method of digital advertising that aims to entice users back to an advertiser’s site after they have left. Advertisements are sent to customers who have showed what we call intent, which is an action they’ve performed on an advertiser’s site that shows they’re interested in a product or service, like putting a pair of shoes in a shopping cart and wandering off without completing a purchase.

Bring Customers Back with Web Retargeting

retargeting on web, social, mobile

Web retargeting is a combination of tailored messaging and targeted ad placement. Targeted display ads are bought on digital advertising exchanges and served on news sites, blogs and other locations online—wherever your customer might be browsing.

Web retargeting works well for ecommerce, tech B2B, media, entertainment and any brand interested in engaging current or prospective customers online.

AdRoll partner Alexa, for example, used web retargeting to lower their CPA—cost per customer acquisition— by 12 percent, and increase their return on investment by 400 percent. A study of the most recent update to AdRoll’s core machinery found 39 percent higher rates of customers clicking on advertising [CTR, or click-through-rate] and 35 percent lower costs incurred before a customer clicks [CPC, or cost per click].

Social Retargeting Brings an Excitable Audience, Sharing Tools

Social networks give brands a direct line to extremely engaged consumers. This not only provides access to some of the largest audiences online—Facebook alone boasts 1.55 billion monthly active users—it also lets you take advantage of the social audience’s ability to spread your message further through shares, likes, retweets and comments.

In a survey of AdRoll advertisers running retargeting campaigns over a six-month period, brands that added our retargeting on Facebook drove 280 percent more impressions, in addition to 305 percent more clicks and 218 percent more conversions.

Mobile Retargeting Offers a Rapidly-growing Pool of Consumers

Growth rate of mobile devices.

The average American adult spends nearly three hours on their mobile device; significantly more time than on desktop computers and laptops. Cross-device retargeting lets advertisers reengage desktop visitors as they move from desktops and laptops to mobile devices, or the other way around.

When adding mobile retargeting to an AdRoll Facebook campaign, an AdRoll study found advertisers saw a 60 percent increase in impressions—the number of times an ad was viewed—a 64 percent increase in CTR and a 36 percent drop in CPC.

When diving into any new, advanced technology platform, knowing industry terminology and how precisely it might affect your bottom line is essential.  For help on picking the right retargeting platform for you, see our post on the Six Questions You Need to Ask Your Performance Marketing Vendor. Performance marketing vendor, by the way, means retargeting provider.