By Charlie Tarzian, Founder, The Big Willow
So we’re at least 7 years into exchange based media and we’re still complaining about retargeting. Consumer complaints are that it is mindless or creepy. And on the professional side, clients want more control over who to retarget and when.
Meanwhile, back at the zombie ranch of retargeting there has been very little innovation or progress made on some basic requirements that would change the game.
The biggest issue is lack of integration into the enterprise. And by enterprise I mean those data repositories and systems that run any company. The fact that brands continue to chase us with acquisition based messaging even after we have purchased is clearly a missed opportunity. Which begs the question: Is retargeting that misunderstood that it falls to the bottom of the data integration wish list? Do brands understand the magnificent fail of not knowing who their new customers are and the state of play between any one consumer and their company?
Without question brands need to start paying attention to this continual consumer aggravation.
Recently, a B2B client said in a meeting: We are only really interested in investing in our targeted client list. We want to know when they come to our site, we want to know when we serve them ads, when they open and click through our ads, when they follow and share our social links, etc…
So why, she asked, are we retargeting everyone that comes to our site? Our targeted list represents less than 10% of everyone that comes – so why can’t we suppress retargeting to the other 90% of the audience we are not interested in at this time? And what about if we want to retarget based on which part of the site and which product they were engaged with?
Her company’s agency responded: That’s not how it works. There is no way to discriminate. Anyone that comes to the site becomes part of the retargeting pool.
So – indiscriminant retargeting is what it shall be!
Now, on the other side, retargeting relies on building sizable pools of audience to drive the cost of bidding down – meaning the more you have in the pool and the more you have to choose from the better chance you have of winning a certain percentage of your bids and of keeping the costs down. Retargeting buys can be two times the cost on a CPM basis when compared to straight CPM buys. We get that. But retargeting parameters should be no different than how you would set up any DSP-based campaign. You should be able to create whitelists with rules we use in any campaign: only these IP addresses, or these devices or cookies, or customers that have contracts coming up, etc… I only want to target those and with the right context.
If you think about it – instead of relying on the primitive, non-evolved way retargeting is done today, we should be thinking about moving the heavy lifting of retargeting to the same data-driven approach we take through our DMP’s-to-DSP’s-to-ad servers process. That’s how we operate the foundational aspects of our media stack today, so why can’t we use the same stack to inject logic, filtering and knowledge into retargeting.
I can tell you we are working on this issue and I have to imagine others are as well. We call it Filtered Retargeting and to be honest – it is not retargeting as much as it is sequencing messaging based on using historical data. Historical can mean 10 minutes, 10 days or 10 weeks – but the strategy relies on being up to date with previous interactions across data sets and systems. But that is just one dimension.
The other is getting client organizations to architect how key customer data gets into the marketing stack with the aforementioned frequency. When someone makes their first purchase, reactivates, buys a new service, upgrades, etc… the marketing operations world must be updated and rules put in place to allow a change in how we communicate to that individual and/or company. This is the promise of both DMP’s and of an ALWAYS ON marketing stack.
All to say, retargeting has withered on the vine for so long and yet could be so much more effective in enhancing relationships.
Let’s put some of that great thinking that has created so many innovations and breakthroughs into this issue so we can stop talking about it. Selfish as it is, I am tired of retargeting being the subject of dinner party conversations!
What are your thoughts? And who do you think is and/or should be solving for this lack of progress?