Is Your Retargeting Missing The Bullseye?
Even if your display retargeting campaigns are performing well, that doesn't mean there's no room for improvement!
In my last article, I told you about the retargeting trap — this is where marketers rush to put all their money into retargeting because the conversion rate seems to be so good, but they end up sacrificing the critical elements of filling the funnel.
However, there’s another retargeting trap that’s wasting your marketing dollars: bad math. It’s easy to think your retargeting is doing amazingly well while still missing out on huge opportunities.
When you look at a good conversion rate, it is tempting just to let it ride. Why fix what’s not broken? But the truth is that most people are working with campaigns that, while not broken, could still definitely use a tune up. Flawed models serve to under- or over-emphasize the importance and effectiveness of retargeting campaigns.
Who, What & How Much?
For most marketing models, customers are treated all the same way from a programmatic bidding and creative perspective. But when you look at your actual first-party data (and its associated behavioral data), it is obvious that consumers differ in a dollar value and will respond to different creatives based on interests and online activity.
This should force you to ask: which visitors are you spending your money on, which ads are being served to them, and how much are you spending based on the likelihood of a conversion event? The return on ad spend (ROAS) should justify the budget, which is accomplished by better understanding the audience segments and adjusting your programmatic bidding as a result.
Retargeting should be more than just a one-size-fits-all recapture program. Using your data in a smart, analytical way is crucial. First-party behavioral data is already used to develop your website and messaging; you should be putting it to use in retargeting, as well. These are data that impact bids, creative decisioning and segmentation.
Taking a look at some use cases, we can see how this plays out.
Four visitors come to your site:
- The first one put $100 of merchandise in her/his shopping cart but abandoned it before purchase.
- The second browsed five product pages in the same category before leaving.
- The third signed up for your newsletter, meeting one of your conversion metrics.
- The fourth came to the homepage but then immediately bailed out — your typical bounce.
It is obvious that in most cases, you would be willing to pay more money for the customer with the abandoned shopping cart and very little for the homepage bounce, with the other two somewhere on the spectrum in between.
And yet, many retargeting campaigns would treat these four customers exactly the same way. Oh, you might send the shopping cart customer a reminder email — if you have their email — but for most cases, it will simply be the same display ad shown on your network of publishers.
Hit The Target On Your Retargeting
What would be better? Creatives and ads that are tailored to the needs of each customer.
- A free shipping offer for the shopping cart visitor. This is the most valuable customer because it represents a sale that could be yours with only a small push. You want to pay the most and give the most attractive offer to this customer.
- For the single-category shopper, use an ad featuring category-specific retargeting with a discount. While less valuable than the first customer, this customer is clearly hunting for something specific and may just need to be drawn back to complete the sale.
- For the newsletter signup, an ad featuring the best current sale. This person has told you to contact them and is open to being pitched. This visitor is not as close to a sale as the first two examples, but he or she is obviously interested.
- For the home page bailout, you may just be trying to get this visitor back to the site. Push the brand, but don’t spend too much money on the conversion. For now, what you want to do is nurture this person along until you’re ready for a stronger push down the line.
Using first-party cookies for your retargeting, you will enable more connection between conversion and retargeting, which in turn will allow you to attribute more conversions to the proper channel.
Additionally, because first-party cookies have a longer persistency (an average of 30 days to the 7-day average for third-party cookies), you will be able to track and retarget for a longer period, allowing a lookback window that will more accurately report the conversion cycle for your customer. Add in the advantage of having segmentation data in the cookie and real-time, 1:1 targeting plus the data security of first-party.
First-party data in retargeting can improve your creative and bidding, meaning that each of the use cases described above becomes a possibility for your campaign.
Upon integrating first-party data and first-party technology into your ad model, your campaigns will see incremental improvements as well as allow for optimization to the strengths and elimination of the weaknesses in your current display advertising strategy.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.