How Mastering Retargeting Boosts Your Restaurant Marketing

Retargeting Boosts

Digital marketing can be frustrating. After you invest time, money, and effort into setting up an eye-catching website for your restaurant, the vast majority of customers -- about 98% of them -- still will not book a reservation, sign up for a membership program or seek additional information before leaving the site. With digital marketing, conversions come later regardless of how much you have mastered social media and optimized your site for SEO purposes.

To catch these customers on the rebound and entice them into taking action, you need to blanket them with your retargeting efforts, which is one of the most powerful tools available to digital marketers.

How it works is pretty simple: You place a piece of code on your website. This puts a “cookie” on the browser of website visitors, which is then used by advertising platforms to place your ad on a multitude of different websites, search engines, and social media platforms they subsequently visit. Contrary to traditional static advertising banners, retargeting allows you to show potential customers specific ads online based on their behavior when they visited your website.

As with most digital marketing tactics, their primary use has historically been within e-commerce and has often been overlooked by smaller businesses. But there are definite applications for remarketing in the restaurant industry.

With customers frequently researching up to five different places to eat before making a decision, it’s easy to see why a restaurant owner would want retargeting ads to appear online as much as possible. Retargeting is a form of pay-per-click ad program, meaning you pay each time a user clicks on your ad. There’s plenty of networks out there offering retargeting, with Google AdWords and Facebook being two of the biggest. 

Website Retargeting & Mobile Retargeting

These are the most common forms of retargeting display ads on websites. Using AdWords’ Display Network, for example, gives you access to more than 2 million partner websites and apps.

Search Retargeting

Search retargeting displays your ads on search engine results pages for keywords and search terms related to your business, just as a standard AdWords campaign would do.

Social Media Retargeting

An option growing in popularity is the ability to show your retargeting ads on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. This is especially relevant for restaurants that have a strong presence and a large social media following.

Email Retargeting

Email retargeting is another viable option. Using AdWords, you can upload a list of past customers or newsletter subscribers and use that audience as a group to receive display ads. They will receive them not only on other websites, but also on Google-owned services such as Gmail, YouTube, and Search.

Being able to reach your prospective customers at so many touchpoints has huge potential. You can target all of your website visitors, including some unique specific options. The list includes:

  • Target Abandoned Bookings: If you have a booking form on your website, you know that diners do not show up for 100% of their standing reservations. By targeting people who have visited that specific page, you’ll be able to remind them or show ads with special offers and incentives to entice them to return and complete their booking.
  • Increase Reviews: Retargeting is a great way of increasing reviews — and subsequently, your ratings — on sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook. If you have a page that your past or existing customers can visit, you can serve them ads encouraging them to leave a review.
  • In-Venue Tie-in: If you’re running a competition or event at your restaurant, consider handing out printed cards with a link or otherwise promote a specific page on your website. These are much less intrusive than asking for an email address and, once they’ve visited this page, you’ll have a custom audience to receive your next retargeting campaign.
  • Private Hire: If you offer private area bookings at your restaurant, set up a dedicated page on your website. The visitors to this page who get distracted before completing the inquiry process can receive your ads while searching for your competition online.

These are only some of the many retargeting applications for restaurants. Used correctly, retargeting might very well be the secret weapon you’ve been missing from your digital marketing arsenal.

Bonus pro tip: Even if you are not ready to venture into retargeting today, it is wise to enable the cookie on your site anyway. That way you can start gathering a list of potential customers now to use at a later date.