Prospecting, Retargeting

Refuel Your Retargeting Campaigns with Prospecting

Written by Tim Edmundson

Okay, we’re going to start today’s article with an example about fishing, so please stay with us. I guarantee we’ll start talking about prospecting soon enough.

Say you’re a fisherman, and you’re trying to catch yourself some prize tuna. You’re looking to start bringing in the big bucks (top of the line tuna sells for ridiculous amounts of money), so you need to find yourself some quality fish to bring to market. So what do you do? You set sail for waters where tuna like to hang out, cast your net over a wide area so you can catch enough fish, bring them aboard, then work to identify the valuable tuna that will actually bring in the big bucks at auction.

This is basically what prospecting is, minus the tuna thing. Prospecting is the search for potential customers that you think will be a good fit to purchase from your business. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as throwing a net into the water — there is a lot of nuance and expertise required to identify and engage qualified prospects. And with eMarketer reporting that 36% of marketers’ budgets go toward prospecting, you want to be sure such a large portion of your budget is being spent right. Thankfully, we’re here to help out. Let’s take a look at some general best practices for your prospecting campaigns, and examine how best to bring in customers who you can then start retargeting.

If you’re more of a visual learner, check out our webinar Supercharge Your Audience which explores this very topic.


Many marketers make retargeting their focus, which makes sense since so much of what we do is focused on performance. That said, prospecting is just as crucial for any marketer — after all, it’s hard to run a successful business without a steady flow of new customers. Prospecting helps drive new customers to your brand by doing the following:

> Increases brand awareness and recognition with consumers unfamiliar with your brand

> Drives new users to your site to bring exposure to your online offering

> Automates new customer acquisition through continuously running campaigns

By providing a steady flow of new customers, prospecting helps fuel your sales funnel since it gives you new site visitors, who will then be picked up by your retargeting campaigns.


One of the most important aspects of prospecting is identifying a large swath of potential customers — and you do that by casting a wide net.

It’s a good idea to try and target a large audience because you need a broad enough base to comfortably eliminate groups that aren’t performing, without the fear of removing significant percentages of your audience size. When you start eliminating underperforming audiences and users, it frees up more of your budget so you can focus on consumers who have a higher likelihood of engaging with your brand. This is one of the most important takeaways when it comes to prospecting — keep analyzing your data and adjust where you need to.


Once you’ve cast your net and began focusing your targeting, it’s time to start looking for other ways to enhance your campaign’s performance.

One thing that can help immensely is adding bid multipliers, which give you the ability to bid up on inventory that will perform better for your campaign. Bid multipliers identify valuable inventory across device type, browser, operating system, and various other categories, and then bid more aggressively for it, giving you a better chance of reaching customers who matter more.

Another good idea is to look to private marketplaces for direct buys. Also known as PMPs, these marketplaces combine programmatic and direct partnerships to provide expanded reach, strong inventory, and better performance. In fact, if you’re in the market for a digital advertising vendor, a good question to ask is how many private marketplaces they have access to (SteelHouse has access to over two thousand PMPs).

As you continue to run your prospecting campaigns, it’s important to remember to leverage your data and continually make adjustments to keep your performance humming along. There are endless levers that can be adjusted as more data comes in, and even the most obscure data points can end up having a huge impact.

Take for example site relevancy ratios. In case you are unfamiliar, site relevancy ratios are the likelihood of a given site’s visitors to convert when compared to the general population. As an example, might have a relevancy score of 116, which means users who visit are 116X more likely than the general population to convert on your site. The higher the relevance score, the better the inventory, which means you should be prepared to bid higher for those coveted placements. By understanding site relevancy ratios, you gain the ability to knowledgeably bid up or down on sites in order to hit your goals successfully.


We can’t stress this enough — creative is key. The internet is a crowded place, and consumers can often be turned off by ugly or boring ads. Banner blindness, in which users stop paying attention to ads, is a very real phenomenon so you need your creative to be eye-catching enough to stand out from the rest.

Quality creative is every bit as strategic as it is attractive, and different media performs better for different channels. When it comes to prospecting, video ads grab users’ attention, and generate significantly more engagement. Ads featuring videos generate 9x post-click site visits than static-image ads, purchase intent increases 13% for users who view ads with videos, and 4x the users would rather watch an ad with video than one with static imagery.


Prospecting is vital to any business as it drives new customers to your brand and site. While retargeting may get all the glory, it also relies heavily on brand awareness campaigns, and would have far fewer customers to target without them. So be sure you’re running prospecting campaigns, and running them right.