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Quick Guide to Retargeting and Display

Posted on 10.31.2013

Internet advertisers are always looking for ways to drive more traffic and increase the quantity (and value) of sales/conversions. One of the most popular methods the past 12-24 months has been the use of display retargeting.

Retargeting is actually rather straightforward in theory. The practice entails using display advertising campaigns that are targeted specifically toward users that have already visited your website or e-commerce store. Simple enough, right?

The appeal is that the ads serve as a casual reminder for the visitors, acting as encouragement to get them to return to a site and complete a sale. The retargeting campaigns themselves can be displayed across many different networks - wherever the user is visiting in some instances.

Retargeting is often far more effective than traditional display ads since the advertisements are shown to users who are already aware of your brand. This "recall" factor nearly ensures that advertisers will pay less (also since these ads are often served less so there's no inflated CPM rates). In addition, retargeting presents a digital environment where ads can be dynamically personalized to the user. For example, view a pair of sunglasses on a retailer one day, and the next day you might see the same pair of sunglasses on an unrelated site with an discount, encouraging you to click through and purchase.

Advertisers need to be aware of the many factors that influence the success of retargeting campaigns. We've touched on the role of personalization (also known in this scenario as programmatic site retargeting) wherein data from the referral sites (e.g. keywords, etc.) are leveraged within the ads, but there are many more.

For example, retargeting campaigns can quickly damage a brand if consumers keep seeing the same ads repeatedly. Fortunately, networks and ad exchanges offering retargeting provide frequency caps so those users won't get burned out on your message. Another thing to keep in mind for these types of campaigns is to limit the number of vendors that provide the functionality to one single provider. This ensures that different networks aren't bidding against each other, driving up the price of your impressions for specific users unknowingly.

Display retargeting is a powerful way to maximize the value of your existing acquisition efforts. A great deal of technology is involved, but with some well-developed strategy and careful planning, you'll find the practice is effective and drives significant improvements in efficiency.

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