Remarketing is an extremely efficient tactic for many advertisers. Yet many advertisers are still leaving a lot of ROI on the table and sub-optimizing their user experience. Here are five findings about remarketing that marketers need to do to improve the impact of their remarketing programs and their customers' experience.
#1: Fund your remarketing program to its maximum
It's a no-brainer. Remarketing is almost always the most efficient tactic as measured by CPA. However, some clients rightly wonder whether they would have gotten the conversions anyway. Through multiple versions of testing, we have shown there is a strong argument for talking with customers and prospects who are already familiar with our clients' brands.
For one retail client who had a strong replenishment business, remarketing to site visitors produced increases of more than 60% over control. For an e-services provider, remarketing led to a nearly 20% increase in conversion rates -- on top of a very aggressive email campaign that impacted both test and control. Remarketing works, and should be a core component of any digital marketing program or recontact strategy.
#2: Don’t be a cookie bomber
When working with multiple remarketing vendors, realize that many vendors tend to isolate the highest-performing potential customers and bombard those customers with messages, since each vendor is competing to get credit for the last view before the end purchase. Even if each vendor has tight frequency standards -- say, three ads per day -- a cookie in the remarketing pool of a client using five targeting vendors may be seeing 15 ads each day as part of the vendor’s race to serve the last impression to the cookie before it converts.
This practice, which we call "cookie bombing," is a negative user experience and leads to wasted dollars on heavily overlapped reach. Instead of selecting many retargeting vendors, select one with broad reach against your cookie pool. [Hint -- most leading vendors have wide reach.]
If you still chose to work with more than one partner, make sure to de-duplicate attributed orders across all partners. Not only should clients be de-duplicating order IDs, they should be thinking about overlapped reach. Are the cookies a client’s remarketing vendors are reaching incremental to their own programs? If clients are working with multiple retargeting vendors, this effect is compounded. Broaden your reach, and eliminate the possibility for multiple vendors being compensated for the same conversions.
#3: Unleash your first-party data
Optimizing to a cost per acquisition is nice, but optimizing to the ROI and profitability of your organization is nicer. Does your retargeting partner understand the incremental value to the client organization of an order? Are there proprietary customer scoring algorithms or known data about a user that can be shared to lead to high value conversions? For example, if you're in the retail category, and the person just ordered a French cuff shirt, they may need ties or cufflinks.
We recommend that advertisers look at retargeting partners that can ingest first-party data and bid on it. The data that is available from third-party vendors is extremely valuable when in-house data does not exist (as in prospecting campaigns), but unfortunately, the cost of this data can make it inefficient for use in remarketing.
However, advertisers' data is free to use when you have the right DMP/DSP solution to unlock it. When CRM data can be ingested to the DMP, clients can match creative and messaging online to the segmentation they have offline. This can still be accomplished without using personally identifiable information (PII), and it can have a major impact.
#4: Match customers across channels
The “standard” site visitor and order confirmation tags are mandatory for remarketing. But other digital assets can help grow the file. Has the advertiser tagged their other online properties, their emails, social assets that permit tracking, and assets that may be linked to offline behaviors?These other sources of customer insight can be leveraged for more effective retargeting. The more online cookies that can be mapped to offline customers, the more integrated the online marketing can be made.
For retailers in particular, the link of offline data to their online remarketing is particularly valuable. Imagine reaching heavy catalog buyers or store shoppers with more targeted ads online. The more your digital assets are tagged, the better view of the user your remarketing partner will have, enabling it to make better advertising decisions. This is an ideal cross-channel setup.
#5: Treat remarketing as CRM
The first four do’s and don’ts above add to a philosophical shift from thinking of remarketing as a media tactic to thinking about it as a customer relationship management function. Remarketing offers both the marketer and the consumer choices similar to other direct channels. Marketers can use real-time media-trading desks, DSPs and other technologies to carefully control time and frequency.
The right DMP can enable the use of proprietary advertiser data. For consumers, improved OBA controls allow them to opt-out similar to the way the email channel evolved with the birth of CAN-SPAM, or telemarketers did with the do-not-call list. Now it is incumbent upon advertisers to use the right advertising technologies and partners responsibly. Remarketing is not media outreach; it’s a CRM function that, at its best, can offer a cross-channel view of customers and prospects with outstanding efficiency controls.