Retargeting

Retargeting Works, When It’s Done Right

Written by Tim Edmundson

May 15, 2018 5 Min Read

There’s an eMarketer article making the rounds lately that suggests retargeting just isn’t worth the effort. Based on a recent Nanigans’ survey of retailers and consumers, they claim retail marketers don’t see retargeting as an effective solution for driving purchase intent or conversions. Needless to say, we think these retailers are misinformed.

Retargeting is a useful, effective, and efficient way of reaching your audience and driving action. It’s a great way to stay engaged with your would-be customers, and bring them back to your site to convert. That’s to say, if it’s done right. The problem is there are a lot of ad tech providers out there that are going about it all wrong — and that’s tarnishing retargeting’s reputation.

In this article, we aim to set things straight. We’ll cover:

> How you can avoid annoying customers by employing basic best practices
> Why retargeting is an effective way of driving conversions, if done right
> How a lack of transparent reporting has led to misconceptions around retargeting

Annoying Your Customers is Bad for Business

An interesting point raised by Nanigans’ research is the amount of consumers who are annoyed by either the amount of retargeting ads they see, or the amount of ads seen for products they’ve already purchased. An overwhelming 88% of consumers surveyed said they’d seen an ad for something they already bought. Another 77% reported seeing too many retargeting ads.

Both of these points are easily addressed with some basics of retargeting. By employing a burn pixel, which tells your campaign to stop serving ads to a user who has already converted, you can avoid annoying an already loyal customer with unnecessary ads. As for serving too many ads to users, instating a frequency cap ensures that you won’t overwhelm and annoy them, thus turning them off of your brand completely. The technology exists to avoid these missteps, it’s just a matter of using it.

Another way you can avoid annoying customers is by aligning your retargeting campaigns with your sales cycle. For example, if your product has a short sales cycle, but you’re retargeting users for 60 days, you run the risk of showing them ads for a product they purchased a long time ago. Instead, customize your campaign to the product you’re offering, and your ads will land in a timeframe that is more likely to generate a sale. By taking advantage of these basics of retargeting, you can go a long way in generating good will for your brand.

Drive More Conversions with Retargeting, The Right Way

We believe that the lack of faith in retargeting has a lot to do with how campaigns are currently run. Manual media buying, coupled with a dependency on last-click attribution (which we’ve shown is a flawed model), results in retargeting campaigns that miss the mark. Manual media buying can’t keep up with the needs of running a multi-channel campaign. And, unfortunately, clicks do not equal conversions — meaning that targeting ad clickers is a really bad approach when it comes to driving sales.

We identified these issues a long time ago, which is why we created Dynamic Spend Optimization, or DSO. Instead of pinning itself solely to a metric like clicks, or relying on the manual media buying process, DSO instantly analyzes campaign performance data as it’s collected. It puts an emphasis on optimization to help advertisers hit their goals, which can mean 720 optimizations a month if needed.

Case in point, DSO helped a leading golf equipment manufacturer drive more conversions. Through frequent optimization, DSO identified the days of the week that performed best, and increased bids on those days to generate sales. It also identified days that didn’t perform well, as well as low-performing sites, and either reduced or eliminated bids completely. The automatic optimizations resulted in an 18% increase in ROAS in the following weeks.

It’s important to use the right technology and tools to generate performance. That said, you can’t know your campaigns are succeeding if you don’t have the right reporting — which leads us to another point of uncertainty uncovered by Nanigans’ research: is the reporting and analytics telling you what you need to know?

Retargeting Misconceptions Through Bad Reporting

According to Nanigans’ research, 83% of retail marketers think they would have achieved the same sales results if they hadn’t used retargeting. And shockingly, just 28% said they had the ability to measure whether sales occurred, organically or not. When we hear something like that, it makes us realize that the industry-standard reporting just isn’t getting the job done. Advertisers should know when their campaigns are making a difference.

That’s why the SteelHouse Advertising Suite gives you the full picture when it comes to metrics. We introduced Verified Visits, SteelHouse’s proprietary technology that measures any user visits to your site following the guaranteed in-view display of your ads, in a window of time defined by you. It’s an attribution model that goes beyond just clicks, showing you the real impact of your campaign. You won’t be left wondering if your ads are influencing user behavior or not, because it gives you the data you need. Transparency into campaign data is important, because it proves the value of a campaign.

A good, transparent reporting dashboard reassures marketers their campaigns are having an impact. Unfortunately it sounds like a lot of advertisers don’t have access to one. According to Nanigans’ research, 39% of marketers are unsure of how their ad budget is being spent. Another 39% have concerns around ad fraud and viewability.

To combat these concerns, you need reporting that puts an emphasis on transparency. For example, the SteelHouse Advertising Suite’s reporting dashboard gives complete transparency into clicks, conversions, spend, viewability, or any of the other key metrics you need to know, all the way down to the publisher level. When you have a level of detail that leaves nothing to the imagination, you’re not left wondering if your campaign is actually generating sales or not. Advertisers have been demanding transparency for a long time, and this is a big reason why.

Retarget the Right Way

There are a lot of misconceptions around the effectiveness of retargeting, but they can be addressed. You just need to work with an ad tech vendor who knows how to do it the right way, like SteelHouse. That may sound self-promotional (and it really, really is), but it’s also true. So stop wasting time and budget with vendors who make you question the value of retargeting as a whole, and reach out to us here. We’re happy to restore your faith in retargeting.