Retargeting and GDPR – what you need to know: Guest view

Jason Altland, director of digital services at Gavin-(Submitted)

In an age where e-commerce is outplaying the shopping mall, about 70 percent of customers still abandon their full carts after browsing your website. How do you get them to check out?

Retarget them.

In short, retargeting turns window-shoppers into buyers. By repeatedly reaching the same audience with a similar overall message, your company is driving that audience back to the website to finalize the purchase. That’s important because in the digital advertising sphere, frequency of ads resonates with consumers.

If you’re worried about being too intrusive, take time to regularly review a targeting list, and adjust it accordingly. Don’t retarget individuals who have already converted and be sure to tailor messages to reach the people who are engaging with them.

For example, if someone is interested in the shoes you sell, be sure to show them shoes in your ads, not hats. Sounds overly simple, but you’d be surprised how many brands miss the mark on this extra step.

Additionally, ensure that your company is adhering to international guidelines. Cyber and data security have been hot-button issues for years now, but following Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress earlier this year, and social media users’ loyalty wavering, the focus on it feels greater than ever before.

In May, the European Union enacted the EU General Data Protection Regulation known as GDPR. While the goal is to protect all EU citizens from privacy and data breaches, this regulation and its changes affect how businesses internationally interact with EU citizens.

If you’re a business owner who advertises to individuals in the EU, your retargeting efforts need to be more closely monitored.

When visitors come to your website, you’re required to inform them about the kinds of data you will be collecting, who’s going to have access to it and what you’ll be doing with it. On top of that, you’ll need to obtain their explicit consent to collect this data.

These extra steps have been created so that users can have more control over their information and data. As an organization, you must have processes in place to send users the data you have collected, free of charge, and you must give them the ability to “be forgotten.” Essentially, users have the right to request that all their information be deleted whenever they choose.

When it comes to retargeting efforts, these GDPR changes can impact how much data you can collect on EU citizens, and whether or not you will be able to advertise to them. If you don’t adhere to these protocols, you could get slapped with fines. To learn more about the GDPR changes, check out its official website at

When managed properly, retargeting is a powerful tool that you should have in your arsenal of advertising and marketing tactics to seal the deal with consumers and clients. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to turn your window-shoppers into buyers.

Jason Altland is director of digital services at Gavin, a public relations and marketing agency in York and Harrisburg. He can be reached at

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