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 discretely 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 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. Since many consumers find this very creepy and quickly abandon the brand retargeting them. If this feels like the Tom Cruise movie, AI, 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” than 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.