The practice of serving ads matching past online behavior, known as ‘retargeting’ is nothing new – Doubleclick introduced its Boomerang technology over a decade ago.
Retargeting is now experiencing a significant uptick in adoption, noted Jack Marshall in Digiday. Marshall said dedicated ad networks and the increased popularity of exchanges are contributing to this resurgence.
In essence, retargeting allows businesses to target their ads based on a user’s past activity. Businesses can target ads to people who visited their site but didn’t purchase anything. Retargeting can also encompass numerous marketing channels such as email, online advertising, paid search and social media.
“Because the targeting is meant to be precise and the ad message can be customized, advertisers frequently see significant higher click-through-rates and purchases from retargeted ads,” said JD Lasica, writing in Socialmedia.biz.
Lasica said retargeting can:
• Bring people back who abandoned the shopping cart process;
• Deliver a discount coupon or inform previous visitors of a sale;
• Remind viewers of your product at a later date when they might be ready to purchase.
“Even on Facebook, a large portion of ads are now retargeted,” added Marshall. “In fact, Facebook’s ad exchange took off on the back of retargeting.”
And last month, MIT Technology Review reported that Facebook would allow marketers to retarget ads in people’s News Feeds based on their browsing history. Some other companies offering retargeting products include AdRoll, Clicksor, Fetchback, Google, Retargeter and Rocketfuel.
Retargeting is also catching on in the mobile space. TapCommerce, a New York City-based start-up, snared $1.2 million in funding last year that it has used to roll out mobile retargeting apps for mobile phones, mobile websites and tablets on Android, iPhone or iPad.
TapCommerce CEO/co-founder Brian Long, interviewed a few weeks ago by TechCrunch, said his company uses large amounts of data coupled with sophisticated statistical analysis “to produce extremely accurate results for retargeting.”
Long added a key mobile retargeting challenge was that “mobile inventory was siloed into a few mobile ad networks.” This has been surmounted, he said, by working through the real-time mobile exchanges “to reach a very large audience and retarget efficiently.”
Retargeting can be a versatile B2B strategy - if implemented effectively. But Kip Voytek, director of digital innovation at MDC Partners, said there’s always room for improvement – “advertisers must work within digital ad buying options available from Web publishers and technology providers, which have been slow to evolve.”
And Marshall added another caveat - “if chasing users round the Web for weeks shifts product, advertisers won’t stop any time soon, unless the numbers shake out and they can prove to themselves that retargeting is standing on the back of other media and calling itself tall.”