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Retargeting has earned itself a bad reputation as most people only associate it with those annoying display ads that follow you around the internet for days after you visited a website.
But in spite of its bad public image retargeting can be a very effective tool for marketers, particularly when you consider the propensity for internet users to shop around before making a purchase. In this instance it’s important for brands to stay top of mind and try to entice people back to their ecommerce store.
So to find out more about retargeting and how marketers can avoid making common mistakes, I spoke to Rakuten Marketing’s newly-appointed director of display Rakhee Jogia.
And for more information on this topic, read our blog post discussing what retargeting is and why you need it.
1. Retargeting can often appear intrusive, particularly when a consumer is followed around the web by the same banner ad. How can marketers ensure their ads are seen as useful rather than intrusive?
The secret to fantastic retargeting is that it shouldn’t seem intrusive. Question whether you are thinking about the overall brand experience, the marketing message or functionality and make sure that you are trying to create something your customer will benefit from with your advertising.
With strong creative you can achieve this; for example you immediately add more value to your campaign when your banners become interactive or when your product image or information is dynamic. Be careful not to create redundant functionality, but think about what it is you're trying to achieve, what actions you want customers to take and incorporate this into your design strategy.
Moreover, incentivising your vendor to drive incremental sales will ensure that they are not ‘spamming’ the user with ads. You need to ensure that the ads are intelligently targeting consumers but also providing the consumer with an ad experience that is designed to drive a sale, not just a click.
2. Thinking again of display ads, how long after an initial site visit are remarketing ads effective? Is there a cut off point when it becomes a pointless exercise?
The cut off point of effectiveness in display's ability to influence the consumer journey varies from brand to brand. It could be 48 hours for a credit card offer and up to 60 days for a car, it depends on the consideration cycle for the purchase.
Often when a product has a higher order value, the customer will spend more time on the purchase. When they abandon a purchase they are often in a phase of 'discovery' looking for something else and it’s up to retargeting to remind them of the item they wanted. It’s hugely important that brands don’t disconnect with their customer during this 'discovery' phase.
We need to find that customer at the right time, in the right window, and in the mindset to remind them of the product or service.
3. Why does the industry still not seem to be able to overcome to problem of remarketing to consumers who have already bought the product in question?
This is solved with simple cookie management but it brings to light the need for brands to understand the consumer's point in the purchase journey. For example, it obviously isn’t effective to continue to show them products they viewed in their shopping basket post-purchase, but you might want to message them with follow-up deals or offers to entice a repeat purchase or to sell complimentary products.
It may be the retailer is running a loyalty campaign post-purchase and timely offers and communications can keep customers coming back to your brand.
4. In your experience which form of retargeting is most successful in terms of driving revenue? Or is it a combination of several channels?
I wouldn't look at one type of retargeting as being more effective than another or even one channel as more efficient – it’s all about understanding the consumer’s path to purchase. By understanding the interplay between channels, brands can target consumers intelligently.
Most advertisers will have good knowledge of what each marketing channel drives for them in terms of revenue, but looking at the combined data across two or more channels means that we can now see if there is a higher propensity to buy when display overlaps with affiliate, search or any other channels.
Attribution rather than a simple ‘last click wins’ model will usually help to provide this clarity that retailers crave.
5. As more customer data becomes available to marketers, how can this be used to improve the efficacy of remarketing?
Shoppers are interacting with brands on more channels than ever before making the decision to buy. Although this allows marketers access to more data, creating a single customer view and remarketing to it effectively has become much more challenging.
For example brands are still working out how to join up online and offline; imagine if you knew about the dress that a customer had tried on in-store and were able to remarket to them online?
Remarketing is focused on one main goal, converting the customer after they abandoned a purchase, but there is potential for your display channel to be more than just remarketing, it just requires further planning to obtain the data.
6. We’ve seen some interesting debate on the blog recently over the use of dynamic pricing. Is this something that is used in retargeting, and if not is it something that you think could prove an effective tactic?
Ultimately retailers who update their product pricing based on consumer behaviour are looking to yield a higher return, but this causes some limitations to campaign. Most customers that abandon a purchase already know what they wanted to buy, and instead of targeting a customer by price, we should identify what they were looking for and offer a range that would fulfil most of their requirements.
The last thing brands want to do is alienate their customers and the issue of fair pricing is debatable. Creating an overall brand experience for our customers is more important than ever; some brands target customers based on the most popular items sold and what’s trending, however other retailers are looking to push higher value items, perhaps showcasing a completely new range.
7. Finally, what developments or improvements can we expect to see in retargeting over the next 12 months?
We’ll see more analysis around retargeting's interplay with other channels in the coming year as well as a continued focus on pushing the boundaries with creative. For example the use of shoppable content including editorial, video and scrollable images is likely to increase over the coming year as brands seek to be associated with premium and dynamic content.
Furthermore, the use of first and third party data to ‘super’ target the customer base will grow in the coming year so that brands can change the way they engage with customers as individuals. As consumers are targeted in new environments, such as on their smartphones and tablets, we’re likely to see a reinvention of the standard ad units and better integration with new platforms to deliver a great branded experience.