Three Ways To Make Retargeting Really Work for Retailers

Advances in dynamic creative optimization and retargeting have enabled a growing number of retailers to better understand what their customers and prospects are looking for — and maybe not finding — on their sites. Gone are the days when you would buy an item on a retailer’s platform and be pursued throughout the web with the same item … just in case you want to buy the exact same item five more times.

Or are those days gone? Too many retailers fail to take advantage of the full range of options available to them when it comes to presenting relevant, attractive offers to potential and existing customers.

Retargeting is a wonderful way to remind consumers of your existence — when it’s done right. These three steps can help ensure that you’re reaching today’s shoppers in the best way possible:

Step 1: Use dynamic creative optimization to propose new choices based on search criteria, rather than items that have already been viewed. This step relies on retailers having the proper recommendation technology. We have all experienced buying a pair of sneakers and seeing the same pair of sneakers for a week no matter where else on the Interwebs we went.



How many of us bought the sneakers a second time?

On the other hand, some experiences can make you fall in love with retargeting. Even though I’ve worked in digital advertising for a long time, I confess that before this year, I had never clicked on an ad. But this year everything changed: A retailer that I won’t name made me a convinced clicker.

I was buying a pair of shoes based on a bunch of criteria — shape, color, materials, and so on. I found what I wanted, bought it, and that was supposed to be the end of it. Over the following days, though, the retailer presented me with three more choices that corresponded to my criteria exactly — convincing me to enter my credit card number twice more, happily, to buy two more pairs of shoes.

This is a perfect example of search-based retargeting combined with dynamic creative optimization. The retailer uses the categories in which you are looking to present similar items that you might like based on your tastes and needs. The more refined the criteria, and the more intelligent the algorithms, the better the chances to ignite new interest in a prospect. These tactics are particularly effective with apparel, food, books, music and other consumer goods where consumption is repetitive.

Step 2: Collect your own data and analyze it. If you are doing retargeting, there’s a good chance you’re using your providers’ tags in conjunction with your ad server tags. This means that you have an opportunity to capture your own data within either your retargeting providers’ or your ad-server tags in order to analyze your results and refine your strategies. Retargeting is such a powerful tactic that putting some effort into user-segmentation analytics, understanding which promotions influence conversion rates at different times of day and in different geographies, can greatly improve your results. Of course your retargeting provider’s algorithms take care of a lot of this for you, but keep two things in mind:

(A) Those algorithms only see the data silo to which they are exposed. Often, retailers use more than one retargeting provider. Each provider sees only its own data, and they end up competing against each other. Even when that doesn’t happen, the retargeting provider can’t see macro economic data such as average income for specific user segments or geographies.

(B) Putting together several data sets such as promotions, conversion rates across your entire campaign/online activity, custom geo segmentations, user typologies, and category-based spend can help you understand whether or not you may be overlooking some variables.

Step 3: Keep in mind that remarketing doesn’t work in a silo. Understand how TV, radio, and other media help your results. It’s hard to avoid tunnel vision when focusing on something as complex and effective as retargeting. Yet promotions, price and the rest of your marketing activity affect the way consumers react to your remarketing messages.

Make sure you have a clear view of synergies between the different pieces of your marketing mix that enable you to optimize on a daily basis.

Misapplied retargeting can annoy consumers, and can even feel creepy. Applied correctly, though — with attention to all channels, and algorithms that know how to find what else may interest a prospect, beyond the product they already bought — retargeting can be one of the most powerful tools at a digital marketer’s disposal, and can even make consumers fall in love, and stay in love, with products they never knew existed. 

So apply it correctly, and reap your well-deserved rewards. 

1 comment about "Three Ways To Make Retargeting Really Work for Retailers ".
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  1. Devika Girish from MobStac, July 1, 2015 at 3:46 a.m.

    Great post, Katrin. Some actionable takeaways here. Another thing to note here is that when it comes to retargeting, the new challenge faced by most retailers today is in their ability to bridge offline and online data at scale, thus enabling online retargeting based on in-store behavior data. And setting up an effective in-store retargeting solution, there are number of things that retailers need to keep in mind, right from a powerful proximity marketing platform to mobile app and beacons to SDK. We have discussed about them in detail here:

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