Q Thoughts

The Re-Targeting Re-volution at OMMA

by Jay Habegger

I had the honor of participating in a panel at the OMMA 2011 Global Conference last week in San Francisco. The panel, organized and moderated by Cory Treffiletti of CatalystSF, was entitled The Re-Targeting Re-volution: How Has Retargeting Changed Over The Last Year?

Besides me, the panel included representatives from Criteo, ChoiceStream, Media6Degrees, and Turn. Cory asked us as part of our preparation call to think about a few key take-away points that we could leave with the audience. As a group I hope we were able to do that.

From my perspective, here are two key thoughts about how retargeting has changed and its role in the media-mix.

Exchange Inventory & RTB Make Retargeting Much More Scalable

The growth in the volume of display inventory being transacted on exchanges and through Real-Time-Bidding (RTB) has enabled retargeting to be much more scalable. Since, by my definition, retargeting is about using data gathered about the visitors to your own web property and messaging them again at advertising supported websites, there are fundamentally two choke points to making retargeting work. First, you are limited by the volume of traffic coming to your web site. Secondly, you are limited by how many of the people that do come to your website that you can message again.

There isn’t much you can do about the first limitation; it is pretty fundamental. You simply can’t retarget more people than you see (all forms of look-alike modeling not withstanding). However, the second limitation, how many of the people you tagged could you message again, used to be limited by the reach of the ad network you happened to be working with. As more display inventory finds its way to the exchanges, that second limitation is going away. Most meaningful players can see a wide swath of the same inventory and thus have access to more retargeting opportunities. The result is that more retargeting messages can be displayed and occupy a larger portion of the media mix.

Re-Targeting is For All Advertisers – NOT Just ETailers!

Retargeting has been looked on as primarily something that etailers do to convert the people who abandon online shopping carts, or pitch an offer on a product that was just viewed. Most of my fellow panelists really focused on this application of re-targeting. To be sure, retargeting is absolutely useful for this important marketing objective.

But, to confine retargeting to this role is like saying that that a broad-based technique like search marketing is useful only for retailers. It just isn’t so.

Retargeting is about taking a web browser that has already exhibited a degree of interest in your offering and messaging them again in order to nurture them along the marketing process. For a manufacturer that sells through the channel, this next step could be directing them to a channel partner, or even just staying in the consideration set. For a B2B client, retargeting could be about getting an interested person to take that next step and download a white paper. In both cases, retargeting is an important tool in the online marketer’s tool-kit for furthering engagement.

In fact, I’ve taken this idea a bit further in my post on online marketing Go-WEST, where I make the case that retargeting is one of the four essential pillars of any modern online marketing program.

Again, thanks to my fellow panelists and especially to Cory for a great experience!

Categories:Posts from 2011


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