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How to reach your email subscribers through social media retargeting

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You spend your efforts and resources attracting new customers, and now, due to the connectivity of the world we live in, you can follow them as they navigate through different channels. In its simplest definition, retargeting means addressing the same customer in a different way. And it’s big news for online marketers.

Previously, retargeting was mostly done based on search queries, or tracking website activity through cookies. This would be served in the form of banner ads. However, with the growth of social media, a new opportunity arose to combine email subscriber data social media, to continue the conversation and boost brand awareness.

Social media retargeting is a powerful way to get more results from your email subscriber list – even if they don’t open or click-through from your emails.

Segmenting your audience: how it works

Social networking sites are used by over 600 million people worldwide and can generate £3.34 in sales for every £1 spent. It takes strategic thinking to get these results, which is where Facebook’s Custom Audiences and Twitter’s Tailored Audiences come in.

These segmentation features let you reach subscribers who have already interacted with your brand. They turn each subscriber email address into a unique string or ‘hash’ of 32 characters. Hashes are then tracked anonymously across platforms and services.

On Facebook

Facebook lets you create Website Customer Audiences (WCA) from your email database. Unlike Facebook Exchange, WCA can distinguish between web and mobile traffic and serve adverts to both. It’s not a real-time bidding system, but it has more options for segmentation.

On Twitter

Twitter promotions make your brand appear as a suggested account to follow, as well as showing promotional tweets to selected users. If you create tailored lists using your email database, you’ll be able to target these tweets to each audience segment.

Twitter doesn’t currently offer real-time bidding, but has suggested this may happen in the near-future.

Ways to use social media retargeting

Once you’ve set up your lists, you can target existing subscribers. For example, you can:

  • Tell subscribers about new products, special deals and discounts.
  • Re-engage with subscribers who have stopped opening your emails.
  • Encourage existing customers to make a repeat purchase.
  • Run targeted promotions for specific groups of customers, such as loyalty card scheme members.

What are the downsides?

ROI is harder to measure when you’re using cross-channel campaigns, although you can make straightforward comparisons between spend and results.

Opt-outs are the main information gap. You can’t retarget subscribers who have opted out of Facebook custom audiences or Twitter promoted content (Twitter also honours Do Not Track settings in browsers) and you won’t know which customers have opted out.

Retargeting success stories

Generally, targeted adverts on Facebook have been found to generate 89% more revenue.

In one case study, clothing company BustedTees used CRM retargeting to convert its email list into an anonymised online audience segment – resulting in an ROI of 390% and an average order value of $40.

Key takeaways

  1. Retargeting means you can reach customers at any time, not just when they are already engaging with your brand.
  2. You can target specific groups of subscribers through social media. Facebook and Twitter provide powerful tools to help with this.
  3. Remember to keep custom audience lists updated so you’re retargeting the right people.



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