Retargeting, also called remarketing, begins by dropping a cookie on site visitors. This enables marketers to follow them as they search, do social networking, or flit from site to site. A person coming to your site can then be discreetly followed by ads reflecting the content they viewed or reflecting their psycho-demographic profile.
This tactic is particularly powerful because 90 percent of retail site visits don’t yield a sale. But according to online software review website Software Advice, consumers exposed to remarketing messages are 70 percent more likely to convert than those who are not exposed. And consumers who convert after retargeting generally spend 50 percent more than those who convert initially. So, marketers who take a second or a third bite of the apple by using retargeting succeed better. And CPMs are much lower than banner advertising, while the yield can be dramatic; as high as a 37% conversion rate.
This has to be done carefully and with discretion and considered timing. Many consumers find this very creepy and quickly abandon the brand retargeting them. If this feels like the Tom Cruise movie Minority Report, you are getting the point.
Marketers can follow prospects as they search Bing or Google, socialize in networks, or as they surf the Web. The mechanics of retargeting are done through third-party networks. And there are a bunch of them, including Google’s Display Network, the Facebook Exchange, AdMeld, Pubmatic, and Rubicon.
Similarly, there are a bunch of emerging demand side platforms (DSPs) to manage this process. The leaders include AdRoll, AppNexus, Brandscreen, Criteo, DataXu, MediaMath, Nanigans, Kenshoo, Optimal, RocketFuel, Tellapart, TheTradeDesk, Xasis, and X+1.
The newest entrant in the DSP fray is Pinpoint, from Blue Fountain Media. Pinpoint claims to offer retargeting based on search history, demographics, geography, and recency (within 24 hours), which, according to Gabe Shaoolian, is a proxy for consumer intent.
“Pinpoint captures expressed interest and intent. It enables a brand to target a 40-year old upscale Mom on Long Island who wants a specific ring setting, with a specific gemstone,” Gabe opines. “Because Pinpoint tracks online behavior and marries it to aggregated data, marketers get much more precision in terms of reaching interested consumers, identifying consumer intent and capitalizing on timing. It’s a retargeting trifecta.”
Pinpoint clams to be “a new frontier in advertising.” It was beta tested with Oppenheimer Funds, who found “better than expected results” that compared favorably to other DSP platforms they tried. Shaoolian is positioning this tool as a “big data play for medium and small marketers,” and will provide “real-time bidding at the best prices.”
There is no question that retargeting is effective. There is evidence that third-party networks can provide the right inventory and that various tools can plan, buy, optimize, and report on retargeting buys. What’s yet to be determined is who will survive the coming shakeout and what will be the emergent best practices.
Danny Flamberg, EVP Managing Director of Digital Strategy and CRM at Publicis based in New York, has been building brands and building businesses for more than 30 years.Prior to joining Publicis, he led a successful global consulting group called Booster Rocket, as Managing Partner. Before becoming a consultant, he was Vice President of Global Marketing at SAP, SVP and Managing Director at Digitas in New York and Europe and President of Relationship Marketing at Amiratti Puris Lintas and Lowe Worldwide.
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