There is a substantial imperfection in retargeting: the consumer must first show interest in what the marketer has to sell, leaving the marketer one step behind from the get-go.
Perfect Audience is not the first company to recognize this speed bump, but its workaround is unique -- or "weird," to quote CEO Brad Flora.
“We’ve been thinking for a while for a novel solution to this problem,” said Flora. “We wanted to make it possible for brands to team up and retarget each others’ audiences.”
The company is slowly rolling out its “Partner Retargeting” program, starting with 100 advertisers working in beta. Flora gave me a demo of the program to see how it works.
Perfect Audience has essentially created a social network within their own platform to launch Partner Retargeting. Advertisers can connect with other advertisers (think "friending" on Facebook) The audience sharing is a two-way street, meaning a marketer can't have access to someone else's audiences without also sharing theirs.
Flora said this was done so that the best advertisers out there didn’t get swamped with requests. “We
want to make this personal,” he said. Making it even more personal is the fact you can only search for other companies using the Partner Retargeting program if you are LinkedIn connections
with one of their employees.
"The goal is not to be a spy tool," Flora quipped. "It's a collaborative marketing tool."
Flora said no data changes hands -- advertisers get to keep their first-party data to themselves -- but does allow other marketers to use that data to target consumers.
The Partner Retargeting program has been in the works for about a year now, and Flora said it has taken this long to roll out because the company wanted to make sure Partner Retargeting users weren’t hurting themselves.
“The first thing marketers said to us
[when we had this idea] was that they would never use something like it if they didn’t know their data was safe and that their advertising wasn’t going to get more expensive,” Flora
That's a logical concern. If you share your audience with other advertisers, and they start to bid for rights to show ads to your consumers, your ad prices will rise.
To solve this, Perfect Audience built technology called “BidGuard.” The BidGuard tech makes it so that the original owner of a cookie always get the first look at bids, according to Flora. In other words, if Company A shares its audience with Company B, Company A will always have first dibs.
As Perfect Audience doesn’t operate in traditional display channels, Flora hasn’t had to worry about how the BidGuard tech would work next to something like DealID -- which gives advertisers preferential access to inventory. However, he said he would expect “who owns the cookie?” to take precedence over preference-based tech like DealID.
Another benefit Flora sees from sharing audiences for retargeting is that it causes advertisers to use more of their cookie pool. He said it looks like brands currently only use about 50% to 60% of their cookie pool.
There are some big-named companies amidst the 100 marketers currently in the beta, and Flora said they are actively testing the platform. He claimed there were 90 “partner” requests in a single day earlier this week.