Marketing Beyond The Funnel With Display Media

Marketers invest a lot into driving new users to their site and incentivizing them to return and convert. Given the work and dollars spent on this endeavor, it is important to consider what you can do to retain and reacquire customers after the point of conversion.

The funnel has become a standard visualization of the initial consumer acquisition process — representing the path consumers take as they advance from in-market browsers to converted users. Traditionally, the bottom of this funnel is a conversion, fueled earlier by strategies like behavioral targeting, and search and site retargeting. These strategies are most effective when executed based on where consumers are in the acquisition funnel.

To effectively retain consumers who advance through the funnel to conversion, consider what can be done beyond the traditional funnel to promote brand loyalty among recent purchasers and to reacquire past customers with no recent activity.

From Funnel To Pyramid

The best way to visualize this concept is to extend the standard acquisition funnel beyond conversion to include what might resemble a retention pyramid, representing a strategy to create loyal proponents. When evaluating how to best target these users, it’s important to consider where they are in the inverted funnel. Retention strategies are most effective while consumers are still in the narrow end of the funnel –- soon after their initial purchase. Reacquisition strategies are best applied towards past converters who have not converted for a significant period of time.

Examples of retention and reacquisition strategies include:

  • Loyalty Campaigns: Establishing a dialogue with consumers soon after conversion is instrumental in keeping your brand, products or services top-of-mind. For example, delivering personalized banner ads with complementary product offerings to converted consumers is a simple, but meaningful, way to extend a positive shopping experience and to differentiate from competitors.
  • Email Retargeting: Email-initiated display retargeting is a great way to reengage brand followers at various stages of the retention pyramid –- whether they are recent purchasers or long-time subscribers. It’s an opportunity to proactively refresh the conversation with potential repeat-purchasers without waiting to see if they’ll return to the site organically.
  • Lapsed User Targeting:  Lapsed users are particularly unlikely to organically revisit a site, and are important targets for reacquisition campaigns. By identifying dormant users and strategically targeting them with dynamic-display media campaigns designed to invite them back to the site, marketers can maintain influence among a nearly-lost pool of consumers.

It’s equally important to consider the nature of the offer, and how it will appeal to people at various points in the funnel. For example, retailers may run retention campaigns to encourage return site visits and purchases, whereas an auto maker will likely not expect return purchases until the reacquisition stage. Marketers promoting big-ticket items will benefit more from retention campaigns aimed at reinforcing the consumer’s decision to choose their brand.

By executing these types of retention and reacquisition strategies, marketers can effectively capture consumers in the post-conversion funnel and direct them back to the acquisition funnel. In doing so, they will increase the rate of repeat conversions and establish a foundation for building brand loyalty among new and returning consumers.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Display Advertising | Display Advertising | Display Advertising Column


About The Author: has been working as CEO of mediaFORGE since 2006. He is passionate about display media technology and the potential it has to shape the future of the advertising/marketing industry.

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  • Caroline Watts

    This is a great article, Tony!  All too often marketers focus exclusively on drawing initial traffic, when bringing unconverted users back to your site and retaining customers is generally cheaper and more effective.  

    The core technology of retargeting can be useful at many points in the conversion funnel (or rather the conversion pyramid as you’ve described it).  Site retargeting is the most obvious use case but the others you’ve mentioned can be incredibly useful as well.  Retargeting is a great way to expose new users to a branding campaign, and to convince lapsed users to return.  It’s especially powerful when combined with email marketing.  (Full disclosure: I work at ReTargeter, an online ad platform specializing in retargeting.)

  • Dax Hamman

    Nice work Tony


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