The following is a guest contributed post to MMW by Michael Benedek, CEO of Datonics.
The practice of retargeting ads to consumers who have shown a previous interest in a product or service has been around for years. However, changes in consumer behavior online and across devices has added a layer of complexity to this practice. A few years ago, advertisers would see a return on ads that were retargeted based on activity from the desktop alone, but now, with users switching from a desktop, to a phone, to a tablet and so on, retargeting is not as simple as it once was and advertisers need to rethink some of their old strategies.
Here are some tips to keep in mind to retarget successfully in the midst of this shift:
1) Make sure your campaign is running across devices. An average consumer may browse for an item on a desktop in the office and then continue on a smartphone during the commute home and complete a purchase on a laptop at home in the evening. Retargeting campaigns that run consistently across devices and engage with the user through the purchase cycle are more effective than retargeting on just one device.
2) Leverage dynamic creative or ads whose content changes depending on the user. For example, a car ad with information about the closest dealer changes depending on the recipient’s location. When a user is on her desktop in Manhattan, a dealership a few blocks away will be highlighted in the ad, but when that same user sees the ad again on her tablet at her house in a New Jersey suburb, another dealership a few towns away is presented. This dynamic messaging ensures that the ad remains relevant every time it’s served.
3) Know your target audience. This is one aspect of retargeting that hasn’t changed, but remains critical to success. An advertiser must hone in on the specific consumer traits the campaign is targeting to ensure that it’s reaching the right audience.
4) Don’t overdo it. Consumers have been vocal about the “creepiness” factor when being retargeted, so make sure you don’t deliver too many impressions to the same consumer. There is usually no magic number. It varies based on the product and/or the specific campaign. Setting a frequency cap for each campaign that still helps you reach your target without overwhelming the consumer helps brands to avoid becoming stalkers.
5) Avoid sensitive products and categories. Targeting users based on data concerning sensitive health matters, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc is improper and the industry has set standards that are important to follow. Furthermore, having consumers associate a specific brand to this practice will likely leave a negative impression and might even result in consumer backlash.