Audience Extension – Retargeting 101

I have spent the first 20 plus years of my career selling print media and more specifically flyer distribution and direct mail campaigns so introducing my clients to audience extension or re-targeting has been a natural for me and something that even the online virgins have no trouble grasping when properly explained.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this type of advertising this is how it works at least in my world; When users come on to Metroland sites such as,, any of our news sites, automobile sites etc we pull cookies from users so we can track their browsing history. By doing this we are pulling a demographic profile which we will use to serve up targeted online ads paid for by our advertisers.  We pull data such as event goers, bargain hunters, automobile shoppers and the list goes on and on. In the online marketing world this is referred to as re-targeting.

Now that we know what is being searched for online the hard part is done and it gets pretty easy from here. We simply follow users as they leave the Metroland website and venture on to the World Wide Web. This is what we call audience extension. Because we know what is being searched for online we follow users with ads pertaining to their interests. An example would be if someone from Kingston comes on to Homefinder (our national real estate site) and is looking at homes we know this user is in the market. Once they leave Homefinder and venture on to the internet we will follow that user onto the web with a local real estate ad driving that user to a local agent’s inventory. So the next time you are online and are wondering how does my travel agent know I am thinking about booking a trip to Vegas (Yes this happens to me) , In a nutshell you are being stalked by advertisers who want your business.

You should now understand the basics of audience extension / retargeting. There are many different ways to do this such as running a campaign pulling cookies from users that visit your own website and follow them on the web in an attempt to close a customer who is already looking at your product or service but what I like about our platform is we are bringing new customers to you much like a direct mail campaign. Because we are targeting a customer who is looking for a product or service we know you provide, means that the click thru rates are going to be higher than that of a general impression campaign and the clicks you do receive are all high quality and the likelihood of turning these clicks into sales are very high. Simply put it is a more valuable click.

If you are looking at adding audience extension to your online footprint and you are a local business you can have a solid program for $300 – $400 per month. This shouldn’t be the only thing you do but I highly recommend that this type of marketing should be part of your marketing mix that includes print, content marketing and even mobile marketing.

Follow me on twitter @geoffjosey

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