Before we step into the future, I need to give you a little history to explain why there are three different names for the same concept. Retargeting was the original term for serving ads based on a searcher’s previous search history and it goes back about ten years.
Retargeting ad networks use terms like “cookie” and “pixel” for the snippet of code that allows them to serve ads to anyone who has previously visited a website, opened an email or been exposed to other opportunities where code can be inserted onto a landing page. Google uses the word remarketing for AdWords’ ability to serve ads through the Google Display Network to anyone who lands on a page that has an audience tag. Bing calls this same concept remessaging.
Consider the pop vs. soda graph. I live in Texas and have used the word “coke” my entire life even though the word coke really seems to represents one brand, Coca Cola. Historically, as the soda industry and technology changed and as new brands came into the market, new names and jargon inevitably popped up. This is essentially what we are seeing now with Google trying to make “remarketing” the coke of the retargeting industry. Bing is using the term remessaging to add their own unique flavor as well.
The Future Of Google Remarketing
As search retargeting technology continues to improve, it is only a matter of time before Google launches their version of Search Remarketing. It only makes sense for Google to leverage the keyword data from their search engine and partners to show ads on their own display network.
Another element of search retargeting is the data coming from the search engines on sites already participating in AdSense. Once again, Google is positioned to take advantage of this data from Google’s Custom Search or Site Search products that are already available to anyone with a website.
With YouTube and AdMob, Google is positioned well in the video and mobile markets to expand and improve retargeting options in those areas. Because of the huge growth in both video and mobile advertising, it is highly likely that Google will be looking closer at video and mobile in the near future to launch new retargeting products and options.
Google is also likely to leverage their existing AdSense database and display network to develop or design new concepts around search retargeting and to improve the existing technology.
Bing currently offers Search Remessaging to advertisers but it is not yet available through their AdCenter platform. When a keyword search is done using Bing, the searcher is then tagged and shown retargeting ads on the Microsoft Media Network and on their partner sites.
Microsoft has an interesting network of products. Advertising is already integrated into a number of those products including Xbox games. Having access to large databases of users across a variety of interests could offer opportunities to build the Bing Remessaging audience in the near future.
Some search retargeting companies such as Simpli.fi have already started offering what they call instant retargeting. It starts when a searcher types in a keyword, is served search results and then clicks on a publisher who is already in the Simpli.fi ad network. That searcher could be instantly served a retargeting ad based on their search query.
Can you imagine the possibilities for this across some industries? Restaurants, airline tickets and other industries where the “now” factor is strong could set up instant campaigns where the ad only shows for the next 24 hours. Someone with a broken tooth or who is looking for 24-hour urgent care could be shown relevant, geo-targeted advertising instantaneously.
RadiumOne, a social retargeting company, recently raised 50M showing how big the interest is in combining retargeting with social marketing. That’s no surprise when you see Pinterest, Fancy, Gogobot and other fast growing sites entering the social landscape while major companies try their best to develop their own approach to turning those searchers into customers. Keep an eye out for more options for social retargeting along with more case studies and success stories. Social retargeting is and will continue to evolve at a very fast pace.
LocalResponse recently announced Intent Retargeting, a concept where marketers can respond in real time to customer intent. If someone posts “I’m hungry” on Twitter, it could result in a banner ad from Pizza Hut. Adchemy uses their technology to figure out why someone abandoned your shopping cart and what they were really looking for so you can retarget them with relevant ads.
With more intent marketing companies like Yieldbot moving into this space, expect Intent Retargeting to be a new buzzword. As much as I like this concept as an advertiser, it still sounds like the plot to a science fiction movie where a computer program tries to not only figure out what you are thinking but then turns around and gives it to you a few minutes later. Hmmm.
New Kids On The Retargeting Block
With the growing popularity of retargeting, new options and new retargeting companies are popping up almost every month now. The first round of retargeting companies and services focused on very broad based ad distribution. With the original broad retargeting strategies, if I visited the Ferrari website, their retargeting ads could be show on sites that have nothing to do with luxury cars, such as news sites or weather pages.
Companies like SalesBump want to change retargeting so that ads are only shown on relevant pages. With the more relevant strategy, if I visited the Academy sporting goods store’s site, their retargeting ads would only show when I visited sites relevant to sports.
Distant Future Of Retargeting
I realize that many people don’t dream about the future of display advertising nor do they care about the impact and influence advertising has or will have on our society. But I do.
I don’t have a crystal ball to truly predict where the online advertising industry is headed but I can lay all the pieces of the industry puzzle on the table to see a pretty clear picture of what it might look like, especially for retargeting.
Please share your thoughts on where you think the concept of retargeting is headed.
Stock image from dreamstime.com, used under license.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.