It's odd to hear one of the leading spokesmen for the retargeting model in recent years claim now that the field has become “commoditized” -- but that's exactly how Chad Little, founder of Fetchback, starts his pitch for a new model. The level of competition in the field has helped make it so, and has left companies playing at the margins to layer in and leverage some different types of data to enhance performance. But the larger question around retargeting, he argues, is whether it is mainly a retention tool now. The technique clearly works to get second at bats to site visitors, but “no one knows how much of this is incremental to conversion or just retention.”
His new company, Adhesive.co, is hoping to “move up the sales funnel to that brand-new person” and enhance acquisition. The retailers who have the kind of data other retailers want are not motivated by revenue to sell that data on the market -- but what does interest them is getting a new sale.
Adhesive tries to combine these interests, serving retention but also promising to reach new customers for companies that agree to share data with one another. The co-op model has member companies pool their data, and in exchange get both bottom dollar retargeting campaigns ($.50 CPM -- “the lowest price in the industry,” the site boasts) on their own data as well as access to co-op data in order to advertise to customers who have never been to their site. “We co-op the data to use that as a pricing preference mechanism as well as separating retargeting from co-op-based campaigns that are going against customers who have never seen you before,” says Little. People outside of the co-op who are not contributing data, can get access to the data pool but at a higher price.
Co-op campaigns that are not merely retargeting are purchased on a CPM basis determined in part by segments as well as by the member’s level of participation in the co-op pool.
Like any co-op model, of course, the power come from a diverse and varied mix of participants in a given category -- which heightens the likelihood of finding a new customer. Little says he has something less than 100 subscribers but is adding 20 to 30 a month. The database now has about 5 million consumers in active shopping mode. Little says that categories like T-shirts, jewelry, apparel and electronics are especially strong out of the gate. He claims that in the T-shirt category, members are reporting that up to 50% of the conversions they are getting are from people who were not on their site before.
Little says that reticence about sharing data, even though it is anonymized and pooled, is the biggest hurdle for retailers looking at the model. “That is why we priced this option where we separated retargeting from giving them the option to buy co-op campaigns.” Marketers have access to the pool, which includes others in their category, but “they can’t target one another’s data specifically,” he says. The co-op members are assured that the data is not sold outside of the co-op, so it doesn’t end up with a DSP or exchange.
Little argues that while everyone in the market is selling behavioral data that is also based on people visiting various retail categories, the accuracy and purity of data contributed directly from fellow retailers is superior. “The data and where it comes from makes it better than behavioral,” he says. “Data that is sold to agencies is not performance-based. It may be category-based. You can pick category and demo and geo, but equating that down to CPA target to incremental conversions, I haven’t seen it happening.” The co-op represents a pool of users who have expressed interest in specific categories enough to go to a retail or lead generation site already.
Adhesive.co just raised $1.5 million in funds, including angel investors who originally invested in Fetchback as well.