In their new book, The Retargeting Playbook, executives from retargeting firm AdRoll — Adam Berke, president, Greg Fulton, head of product, and Lauren Vaccarello, VP of marketing — aim to help marketers get more out of their retargeting campaigns and provide numerous case studies on successful ads and campaigns.
The book is dedicated to “marketers whose ideas are bigger than their budgets”.
Marketing Land reached Greg Fulton, AdRoll’s head of product, by email on his flight back from Australia where the company recently opened new offices.
Retargeting is easy to get wrong. What are key campaign elements advertisers consider before starting a retargeting campaign?
Helping marketers to understand how to get retargeting right is the core reason that we decided to pursue this project. It all starts with clearly defining the goal of the campaign. What action are you trying to drive? Once you know that, you can focus on who is most likely to take that action. With retargeting, the “who” is the key element, which places tremendous importance on your segmentation strategy. It’s also why at AdRoll we have worked hard to make it really simple to create segments based on the actions people are taking on your site.
Over exposing your ads to your customers is definitely something that marketers should avoid, and at AdRoll we take a conservative approach to frequency capping for this reason. But it’s not enough to say “I only want to show my ads to a given user 5 times in a day.” It’s also essential to realize that the first, third, and fifth ad shown to a given web user aren’t all equal in value. One of the benefits of RTB is that it allows us to assign a value to each impression, and how many ads you’ve already shown to a particular user should feed into that overall value. It’s called “cadence modification” and good retargeting products will do this automatically on your behalf.
In the book you say that retargeting should be benchmarked against search and other campaigns that have the same goals. Can you share how marketers should be measuring retargeting campaigns and thinking about attribution?
Attribution is tough, which is why you see so many articles written about the “right way” to attribute. In my opinion, it’s not about last touch or first touch. It’s about every touch. For example, one of the topics we wrote about in the book is about aligning your email strategy with your retargeting strategy.
Search, email, and retargeting are all complements and all play important roles in the customer journey. As a marketer, you want to understand all of the different touch points that you’ve had on a customer before they convert. Retargeting will enhance these other channels by reinforcing your message, so the easiest way to determine how much lift retargeting is providing is to run an A/B test. Silo a small percentage of your traffic and show them PSA ads and then measure the difference in conversion rate between the group who saw retargeting ads and those who saw PSAs.
Can you talk about the role personalization can play in retargeting and some interesting ways advertisers are approaching it without crossing the creepy line?
Personalization is key because it allows a marketer to affectively have a one on one conversation with potential customers – but at scale. By tailoring the creative to a specific user based on the products they’ve expressed interest in, you are able to deliver a message that really resonates. We see a huge lift on campaigns that leverage our dynamic ad product Liquid Ads. It used to be that these types of ads were really templatized and ugly, but now we are seeing marketers come up with really cool concepts that look like branded ads but are completely personalized. An example is a t-shirt company that we work with. We were able to swap the t-shirt out on the model in their ad on every impression in order to personalize the creative for the customer being targeted.
What are some interesting approaches to audience segmentation that you’ve seen?
I think the most interesting approaches I’ve seen of late are coming from marketers who are dynamically passing in attributes that they know to be interesting. For example, an online fashion retailer may identify that customers who purchase or view items of a particular color tend to stick with that color – so they’ll create a segment for “seafoam products”. We have now made it really easy to segment based on any arbitrary attribute – and the most sophisticated marketers are starting to take advantage of that functionality.
What about offering discounts to cart abandoners with retargeting?
In general we see a big lift when offering a discount or promotion of some sort. Often the people who abandon at the shopping cart just need a little nudge to get across the finish line. But ultimately it depends on the brand and their goals. For many of our customers this is an effective strategy. I also think that the modern consumer is very deal savvy, so marketers need to take that into account when trying to stand out from the crowd.
What are some of your favorite examples of companies doing retargeting right?
I think the companies that are most effectively leveraging retargeting are the ones who are thinking about it in conjunction with their other efforts. If you’re a B2B company that is a heavy marketing automation user, we can work with you to connect that strategy with your retargeting strategy. If you are a funky fashion site that runs viral campaigns on Facebook, retargeting can help keep your message in front of the people that campaign reached. As I mentioned earlier, retargeting enhancing your other channels, and the marketers that are doing retargeting right understand this.
When it comes to creative, what have you learned about what really works?
The most effective ads are personalized (dynamic), incentivizing (offers or promotions), and delivered at the optimal time. Ads need to have a clear call to action and a simple, clean design. It’s been said a million times – but if you reach the right person at the right time with the right message, you’re going to be successful.