By: Austin Dicharry
One of the most important elements of a programmatic advertising campaign has always been retargeting. Also commonly referred to as behavioral retargeting, the term is used to describe a type of online marketing where certain products or services are targeted to specific users based on their previous interactions with an online merchant or website.
When a user visits a particular online retailer’s website and browses for a product, for example, a record of that interaction is stored on their computer in the form of a Web browser cookie. A programmatic retargeting campaign can then access that cookie the next time a user visits a site with an appropriate ad buy, view the record of the product the user was searching for and serve up ads that are designed to showcase that product in greater detail.
For many years, retargeting was seen as a great way to keep certain products in the minds of shoppers everywhere. Because it’s so easy to find products and services online, the concept of “out of site, out of mind” has commonly applied. To combat that, retargeting will keep the idea of those products fresh in the minds of shoppers until the time comes when they return to complete a purchase.
If a user goes onto Amazon.com to browse for a particular book, for example, the next several advertisements that they see may heavily feature the book in question. This will be true even if they are browsing on sites that are not Amazon.com and, indeed, even if they’re browsing sites that are unrelated to that book in every way.
Retargeting is still an important element in programmatic advertising in today’s modern climate for a number of important reasons. For starters, despite the relative simplicity of the tactic when compared to complex modern techniques, retargeting is just as effective today as it was when it was originally developed. It isn’t possible to predict exactly why a customer didn’t complete a purchase for a product that they seemed so heavily invested in, which is why retargeting is able to cover a significant amount of bases in one fell swoop. If the customer was set on purchasing a book and got distracted by obligations offline, a retargeting campaign can remind them of the purchase that they were about to make so that they can return and complete the sale at their earliest convenience.
Retargeting is also important due to the ways in which it can be effortlessly integrated into other aspects of a programmatic advertising campaign. One difficulty that many online retailers face has to do with shopping cart abandonment, for example. Sending customers an email about shopping cart abandonment may be off-putting to many. Retargeting, on the other hand, is much less invasive. If a user puts three products in their cart and doesn’t complete the sale, the next several ads that they see may feature those products heavily. It will then serve as a reminder that they need to return to the original retailer’s website and finish what they started.