3 Reasons Why Marketers Spend Too Much Money In Search Retargeting Without Seeing Results

searchblogI've lived in the same home for nearly my entire adult life, so I'm doing a bit of home renovating in preparation for getting married. We're not changing everything, but rather updating bathroom sinks, fixtures and hardware like doorknobs. I love glass doorknobs. Good ones are difficult to find, but I searched online and found this great distributor,, where you can find just about any doorknob you can possibly imagine.

I bought several glass doorknobs and installed them. I needed to exchange one because it came damaged, but that's another story. Anyway, continues to bombard me -- retarget and remarket -- with tons of display ads highlighting doorknobs. Folks, please -- you're wasting your money. I've already spent what I'm going to spend with you. Isn't there some way you can tie my purchase into your ad targeting?

While the Internet enables national brands to act local or local brands to act national, marketers waste too much money retargeting consumers who have already made the purchase. The brand marketer, for some reason, just doesn't know the consumer made the purchase. That's a hole in the system that needs plugging. The tech advertising geeks need to somehow link the IP address to the purchase.

Now that I've shared my thoughts on one way marketers spend too much money in search retargeting without seeing results, here are two reasons from James Green, CEO at Magnetic.

People who move up the funnel to search retargeting typically are moving from site retargeting and then use the same metrics.  In other words, my site retargeting campaign generates $1 of new sales for every $0.50 I spend, but my search retargeting campaign is worse. That's because in site retargeting you are going after existing clients and with search you are getting new clients. So it stands to reason that it would cost more money to get someone who doesn't know who you are to convert vs. someone who is well aware.

All campaigns, not just search retargeting, benefit both search and site retargeting. If you spend money on TV, more people will search for your brand and more money will visit your site, so the metrics on search and site retargeting improve. This is not necessarily true for search retargeting, where you search for people who want a smartphone, but not necessarily your brand.  Indeed, if a competitor runs a TV campaign, you might see your search retargeting metrics improve if you are conquesting.

5 comments about "3 Reasons Why Marketers Spend Too Much Money In Search Retargeting Without Seeing Results".
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  1. kevin lee from Didit / eMarketing Association / Giving Forward, November 20, 2013 at 4:48 p.m.

    So funny. These guys are located 5 minutes form my office. Guess perhaps they should give us a call. ;-) On the flipside retargeted impressions are so cheap in comparison to some of the other advertising options that sometimes marketing teams get infatuated with them. They don't set frequency caps low enough.

  2. Edward Gonzalez from 33 Degrees Convenience Connect, November 20, 2013 at 6:05 p.m.

    As long as a positive ROI can be measured, retargeting makes sense. The largest cost is in driving that first visit and retargeting off remnant inventory makes sense to protect your front end marketing investment. The problem I see in this campaign is that once the conversion was completed the company should have discontinued their campaign. The same goes for a big screen TV. If the person spends $1k on your site there is no point to retarget them with ads as it is highly unlikely they intend to purchase more than one. So it isn't just about frequency capping it's tagging the purchase point so you no longer retarget that customer.

  3. kevin lee from Didit / eMarketing Association / Giving Forward, November 20, 2013 at 6:10 p.m.

    Of course.. but Zappos would argue that purchase is a high predictor of future purchases (for women's shoes in particular) and therefore their algo might suggest higher RTB bids for people who reach the thank you page ;-)
    Conversely due to the low cost of RTB retargeting, one can have a high measured ROI and still piss off customers who don't want to see your advertising in their face constantly.

  4. Robert Kahns from MarineMax, November 21, 2013 at 9:47 a.m.

    The error in this campaign is not that they retargeted you, but the product they retargeted with. You bought your new knobs, great, what other products do they offer that they could interest you in? How about some new switchplates? Maybe some new light fixtures? If you did not complete your purchase after 1st visit, then retarget for knobs. After the sale, start retargeting additional products for the upsell/cross-sell as now they have brand recognition with you.

  5. Chuck Lantz from, network, November 21, 2013 at 4:58 p.m.

    I think Robert Kahns got it right. While being targeted with products similar to what I've already purchased , or that I viewed but did not purchase, would interest me. But seeing endless ads showing what I've already purchased - which triggered the retarget ads - is just annoying. And though I can't point to any conclusive evidence to support my claim, I'd bet that such annoyance might subconsciously make me think twice before shopping at that site again, and triggering even more useless ads for something I already bought.

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