Online advertising targeting – retargeting

In a previous post I presented the Basic Principles of Online Marketing. What you need to know from that post is that there are three types of marketing, communications and advertising. These previous posts concentrated on owned marketing and mediaearned marketing and media and paid marketing and media.  I went on to explain the 4 main families of ad formats and the platforms on/through which online advertising is delivered.

This is the first of many posts that will look into the many different online adverting targeting possibilities that are open to us for any given campaign, depending on the formats we use, the pricing model employed and the delivery platforms used.

Ad targeting options

Geotargeting, contextual and keyword targeting are possibly the three most heavily used types of targeting, but they are but 3 of at least 10 types. Even these are achievable through more than one method.

Please also consult the first part of this series about online ad targeting options:

Retargeting / remarketing:

Retargeting is a tactic by which an advertiser can try to close an unfinished sale or non-transacted shopping basket. This is the ideal tactic by which to offer an even better deal to a still unconvinced potential client, or to upsell a recent buyer.

How is this done? Essentially a user receives a cookie on his device when he or she completes or no a particular task on an advertiser’s website – normally this would be someone who’s begun shopping, consulted a particular section of the site or spent a minimum amount of time on your site which would demonstrate intent of some kind. The advertiser then enters into partnership (through a campaign or remnant contract) with certain media websites where he’ll run specific ad creative against the audience previously seen his website. The advertiser is at that point displayed to someone who at the very least considers his brand in an upcoming purchase.

Retargeting is usually done on a long period of time, usually for a minimum of 6 months and upwards of a year. Media partners usually have little idea how many of the advertiser’s visitors they’ll actually intercept over a month which makes inventory forecasting tricky. This in other words is, like search marketing, a simple enough method of capturing “low-hanging-fruit” – probable clients that are still in a consideration mode but almost ready to buy – much easier than at the other end of the consumer purchase funnel where the advertiser would try to establish his brand name, notoriety and trust. If an advertiser is willing to engage in retargeting, you should consider all possibilities first to establish how granular you want to get.

Here’s a clear example. Let’s say I’m shopping for a Montreal-Toronto flight (something I do regularly). I would consult AirCanada, WestJet and Porter to compare their rates, timing and availabilities. I may not make up my mind right then and there. As I surf the web, doing my job while I consider my options, I could be retargeted with one of these airline’s Montreal-Toronto flight deals or a promo code giving me a better rate. That would tilt the scale in that advertiser’s favor. In this particular case, a retargeting campaign could be setup to offer “route-specific” promo codes for a number of different routes and not just focus on that one I was looking for.

This is currently done on an ongoing basis by many automotive manufacturers to encourage test-drives for a specific car at a local deal following a user’s customizing that particular model on their site. Imagine the possibilities. It really is like following people who’ve entered your store after they’ve “just looked around” for a period up to 8 weeks as they consider their purchase. The advertiser must decide what the product purchase cycle is to adjust the retargeting period accordingly.

Further, we are now seeing some agencies retargeting users who have seen one client’s ad on a particular website or section, for another advertiser or brand when those people are identified elsewhere. For example, you may buy a contextually targeted campaign, but then retarget the exposed users elsewhere for another campaign – essentially, that could be considered behavioral targeting, but performed by the ad agency instead of by the media vendor.

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