03/19/2013 05:21 EDT | Updated 05/19/2013 05:12 EDT

Google Takes Retargeting Mainstream


Google Analytics is a crucial tool for web users everywhere, from bloggers looking to understand their audience, to e-commerce shops hoping to understand why they're not generating more sales. In fact, if you're looking to find a common tool that all small-to-medium sized businesses use, Google Analytics is probably your best bet.

That's why my interest was piqued this week when a couple of colleagues who run sites of their own got a very interesting mass promotional email from Google Analytics last week -- one touting how they could "re-engage your site visitors using Remarketing with Google Analytics."

By "Remarketing" Google means Site Retargeting -- the practice of targeting previous site visitors with display ads on other sites in hope of compelling them to return. Retargeting -- or Remarketing -- is old hat in ad tech land, but for many smaller web businesses, it's a foreign concept. By reaching out to Google Analytics users, Google is clearly trying to take retargeting mainstream.

Google Analytics makes a succinct pitch for its Remarketing services and drives users to check out a persuasive two-minute video that presents retargeting in its best and truest light--as an incredibly useful way to reengage with site visitors and drive sales.

By taking Retargeting mainstream to small-to-medium sized companies, Google is doing a service to the retargeting industry overall. A better understanding of how and why retargeting works should help eliminate the lingering misconception of retargeting as "web stalking." 

If small business users get used to retargeting, it may soon become a standard part of marketing plans of every size, much like Google search ads. And if those small business users move into marketing roles at larger companies, they'll be more open to more complex, large-scale retargeting campaigns that require help from specialized vendors.

Retargeting, Remarketing, Remessaging (Microsoft's lingo )-- call it whatever you want. It's going mainstream. Look for it at a small business website near you.

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