Behavioral retargeting (also known as behavioral remarketing, or simply, retargeting) is a form of online targeted advertising by which online advertising is targeted to consumers based on their previous Internet actions, in situations where these actions did not result in a sale or conversion.
Retargeting marks or tags online users who visit a certain brand website with a pixel or a cookie, and then serves banner ads only to the people who have shown at least some amount of engagement with the original brand. Retargeting ad campaigns usually run on lower cost media, such as display ads, which not only increases effectiveness by specifically targeting an interested audience, but also improves the overall ROI of the advertiser.
Personalized retargeting, a related practice, differs from behavioral retargeting in that it allows an advertiser to display a banner created on-the-fly for a particular consumer based on their specific browsing behavior. For example, if a consumer visits an advertiser's website and browses products A, B and C - they will then be retargeted with a display banner featuring the exact products A, B and C that they previously viewed. This is typically restricted to the visitor's browsing on a single website.
A refined version of personalized retargeting improves on re-engagement of customers. If a customer begins an online order, for example, but fails to complete, a flag indicates they had interest in the product being ordered. Later, ads showing the product of interest can be custom-linked to point back into the order system. When the user clicks on the ad, they are returned to incomplete order. Such an implementation requires that the order system support deep linking or other retargeting services.
Personalized targeting has evolved from serving banner ads to anyone who lands on a product page or homepage to the ability to show relevant banner ads to specific lists of customers. This technology uses URL shorteners, which when shared with specific audiences - such as through social media or email marketing campaigns - only shows chosen banner ads to segmented customers, thereby not only adding value to brands, but also potentially to the audience.