Hey, Come Back Here! Can't We Be Friends?
Getting the creative right has always been a problem in behavioral targeting. Once you parse that audience down to the truly interested users, serving all of those segments messages that really match their interests or their stage in the purchase process is costly. Dynamically served creative is one answer, especially if you can target that user by the kinds of items they may have shopped for or even the weather in their area of the country. But there are a lot of different possible ways to work with a segmented audience, not just sell them the goods right away. With the rise of social networking and its obvious CRM potential, behavioral targeting, especially retargeting, could be used simply to move audiences toward a deeper relationship with a company or brand.
That is the goal of a new set of products from self-serve retargeting company ReTargeter. One tool called Fan ReTargeting inserts into the ad unit the opportunity to "Like" the brand on Facebook directly from the unit. In the ReFollower ad unit, the brand's Twitter feed is pulled into the ad itself so users can actually preview the kinds of content and conversations going on around that brand before they can click through to "Follow."
Perhaps the most ambitious ad unit in the group is called RTEngage, which actually proliferates specific brand messaging to the retargeted users' own social graph. According to ReTargeter CEO Arjun Dev Arora, "When a user clicks on the ad unit, they will be taken to either Twitter or Facebook. The tweet field will be pre-populated with a message that the brand wants to spread, and if it's on Facebook, the user will be taken to a status box that is already attached to a link, which users can share to their friends on Facebook."
Because it is self-service, ReTargeter is aiming for the small- and medium-sized-business owner or publisher with this product. "We charge based on the amount of users that a brand would like to target," says Arora. "You can start a campaign with us for as low as $750 for the social products." In an early test of the system, self-promoting self-help author Tim Ferris, author of "The 4-Hour Workweek" and "The 4-Hour Body," retargeted visitors to his blog. The campaign used Fan ReTargeting to follow his audience elsewhere and get them to "Like" him on Facebook. During the 25 days of the campaign, he increased his "likes" 7.03%. According to ReTargeting, this worked out to a cost per fan of 54 cents.
Technically, just about any retargeting campaign could incorporate these techniques of using a display campaign to generate social media sign-ups. Arora says that ReTargeter brings to the table the reach of an umbrella network that works across all of the major ad exhanges, from Doubleclick to Right Media, Rubicon, Fox and AdECN. The campaigns can extend the usual reach of a retargeting campaign by going outside of users directly cookied at a client's site. "But we're very focused on the value of segmenting a brand's audience further and driving this audience through conversion funnels," he says. "For some campaigns we have segmented a brand's Facebook audience specifically and drove those users through different funnels. We have found that this audience is three times more active with a brand than an audience who is just visiting the brand's Web site."
Also critical to the process is making creative that engages the user with something more than the intrinsic appeal of social networking. "We've spent time developing these creative and understanding social media psychology," he says.
The units I have seen don't just ask you to "like" a brand but do some sales work to promote benefits of joining a brand's social network. By advertising a social networking opportunity rather than a product, per se, the client has the opportunity to advertise their own CRM. If you "like" us, we will like you back with news of offers, coupons, etc. If the next stage of marketing is cultivating real relationships, then brands will have to start advertising not just what they have to sell -- but what good friends they can be.