Retargeting has been cited as one of the most powerful performance marketing tools, but 51% of respondents participating in a survey released Tuesday said they only allocate 10% of their monthly marketing budget to the media. Marketers cite a variety of issues that are derailing plans to move forward, although many see better click-through rates.
The challenges limiting marketing investments run the gamut, including an inability to attribute ad retargeting performance, verify and generate large retargeting lists, and optimize bulk ad inventory. The Marin Software study of enterprise digital marketers on retargeting trends also cites a lack of transparency into costs and placement.
Marketers have major concerns with the viewabilty of ad placements. In fact, 38% indicate the inability to verify whether an ad was viewed, 37% have concerns about click fraud, and 34% point to campaign optimization. The findings suggest that greater control, targeting and reporting capabilities would increase investments in retargeting.
It's a common practice among retargeting providers to purchase low-cost ad inventory in bulk and then charge advertisers at a high cost-per-impression (CPM), explains Matt Ackley, CMO at Marin Software. "Advertisers have very little view into the ad inventory of the retargeting providers, how much was paid for the inventory, what sites their ads appear on -- an advertiser may not want their brand associated with certain sites -- or whether the ads were even seen," he said. "Money goes in and results come out, but what goes on between is a bit of a mystery for advertisers."
Ackley said marketers have a very limited view of whether they're getting a good deal for the cost of that impression, and they have very little ability to adjust their campaigns accordingly. It's a black box for them. Search, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. With search, an advertiser has complete visibility and methods to optimize campaigns. Marin wants to bring this type of control to retargeting, Ackley said.
Attribution proves challenging for 43% of marketers who participated in the Marin survey. About 15% of marketers said they didn't have the budget, 11% cite brand image concerns, and 10% said there is not enough time to manage retargeting campaigns. About 31% don't think the results meet expectations.
Of the 233 survey respondents, more than one-third of marketers are unsure how to measure whether ads are viewed. Transparency means different things to marketers depending on who is asked. Some 37% are wary of click fraud, and 26% are unsure where ads run.
Some 37% of marketers participating in the survey report that they have plans to start retargeting next year, 19% said they will begin later this year, and 44% have no plans.
Display at 81% ranked as the most popular channel for retargeting, and search at 77% came in a close second -- followed by social at 48, mobile at 32%, and video at 21%. This makes sense because the popularity of display and search revealed in the study aligns with Google's AdWords retargeting offering through the Google Display Network (GDN) and remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA). Some 89% of marketers retargeting consumers report using a combination of Google's retargeting tools, such as GDN and RLSA.
The research shows that Google RLSA click-through rates were 234% higher in the second quarter of 2014, compared with non-RLSA ads. The cost-per-click of RLSAs was 24% less than non-RLSAs. Marin attributes the high CTR to better ad relevancy and the low CPC to more targeted ads.