Knowing When To Retarget (And What Data To Bank It On)
Retargeting shouldn't just be based on someone visiting your site and looking at a product, says columnist Alex LePage. He explains why it's time for marketers to use real metrics to create a personalized experience for customers.
Consumers today, especially Millennial generation consumers, have signaled to advertisers that they are willing to trade certain levels of privacy in exchange for a more personalized advertising experience that is more relevant to them. In fact, many consumers today have come to expect that ads will have some level of personalization.
This shift — an embrace of data-driven insights in advertising by consumers — presents significant opportunities to brands. The challenge for our industry, however, is that for some people, ad tech doesn’t have the best reputation. Many associate past uses of technology in advertising with large-scale personal data aggregation, fueling ads that refuse to leave you alone until you accidentally click on them.
While this stereotype is largely an outdated remnant of the early years of digital advertising, it has its basis in a perceived truth. That truth is that data-savvy advertisers today are able to tap into vast amounts of data-driven insights to deliver a more personalized advertising experience.
The evolution of data-driven advertising has fueled a shift away from legacy ad technology that appeared to stalk you at every turn to an ecosystem that delivers ads that are more relevant to a consumer’s wants and needs.
The maturation of technology has given birth to a new form of digital advertising for brands — intent-based advertising and retargeting, which are becoming increasingly powerful tools in a brand’s overall marketing strategy. People today want products and services on demand, and intent marketing helps make this process that much faster for them.
Overuse Leads To Misperception
Yet too frequent retargeting can be a cause for concern for the average consumer. Overuse, combined with sensational headlines about how easy it is for hackers to steal your personal information, leads people to become suspicious.
Even well-informed internet users can fall into the cynical camp if they’ve been seeing the same ad retargeted at them again and again. For ad tech companies looking to provide quality services, this perception is a big problem.
Who are the perpetrators of this misperception? The culprits are marketers who are solely focused on hitting short-term revenue goals.
This usually occurs when a brand contracts out its ad placement to marketing companies that promise a large number of clicks and are paid by the number of “engagements” they can bring in. The company then uses tools and services to distribute the ads, and in their quest for more clicks and more revenue, they take the infamous “spray and pray” approach, blasting as many people as possible with as many ads as possible.
This may end up getting them the short-term gains they want, but it does so at the expense of the other hundreds or thousands of users who were retargeted to the point of fatigue. It’s easy to measure unsubscribe rates, but it’s more difficult to measure customers who like your brand but need a break.
It’s time we employ real metrics against our retargeting, like measuring new-to-file customers, incremental revenue and margin and incremental average order value.
Ad tech companies must be more open about measurement metrics that are possible and more valuable. Lack of visibility is a big problem for the digital advertising workflow, and it has only been made more complicated by the onset of programmatic.
If you just retarget based on someone visiting your site and observing a product, you’re not giving your potential customers the attention they deserve. In the age of the empowered consumer, this logic won’t work.
Quality Over Quantity
Instead, it’s crucial that you go for quality over quantity. To do this, you can analyze the data that go beyond the fact that a user searched for a certain product or looked at a certain product page.
You can also use deterministic data to find what device a user prefers and then cross reference that with behavioral metrics such as recent purchasing history and how much time they spend browsing certain kinds of content.
Another tactic is to use geofencing to find out if a customer is in or near a store. Maybe they tend to check into certain restaurants on Facebook.
No one really believes the “spray and pray” techniques are truly effective forms of advertising, but now that we know they can actively hurt brand trust, we know that when retargeting, you must tread carefully. Like a pungent spice, a little can go a long way, but in order for it to have the most impact, it has to be used responsibly.
By taking the above steps, you can create a more powerful, personalized and value-driven experience with consumers. It’s a win-win.