Paul Thomas, Sales Director at Experian Marketing Services explores how marketers need to better utilise retargeting.
Could you imagine the reaction of a 46-year-old married father of two being approached by a shop assistant to talk about this season’s range of dresses, or of an 80-year-old lady about the latest football boots?
Realistically, they will be unlikely to be interested, and even more unlikely to make a purchase. The worst case scenario? It might even cause annoyance.
Similarly, if during their next holiday they are approached by someone trying to sell them a stay in the same hotel they’re currently staying in, they may (understandably) feel slightly peeved. They would also consider it a little strange to find out that their 10-year-old son was being bombarded by kitchen salesmen while he was out trying to catch Pikachu on Pokémon Go.
As silly and unexpected as these anecdotes sound, they happen every day. They, and thousands more examples like them, are going on now – and all as a result of retargeting. So what is retargeting?
Retargeting is the technique of putting ads and messages in front of people who have at some point visited your website. Many marketers are guilty of the assumption that if they showed interest once, they would be more likely to want to come back and make a purchase.
However, retargeting does show impact. For a number of years, it has worked successfully for marketers. In principle, it makes perfect sense to spend money on advertising and then increase the likelihood that you’re reaching people who are actually interested by targeting people who have already been to your website.
But, this method is not always sophisticated enough to survive in the industry today. Customers – such as the examples introduced at the beginning of this piece – are receptive to a good service, and almost certainly demand it as standard. That ‘good service’ includes relevancy. The ads the consumer sees should be relevant to them.
A basic retargeting campaign could do a lot of damage to a brand. It may pick up the people who it is relevant to but in that giant catchment you will certainly have a lot of people who don’t fit into your buying personas. What you follow up with them with is likely to be irrelevant – if not straight up annoying.
Playing ‘the numbers game’ like this and following up with every single person who visited your site is an unsophisticated and frankly risky way to operate. You’re attempting to use a sledgehammer to crack a small nut.
Shooting the data arrow at the target
So, what is the crucial ingredient for retargeting? The ability to incorporate all the other contextual information you can gather on those individuals. The fact they once visited your website is simply another piece of data to include in the decision-making process.
There are, inevitably, challenges to bringing retargeting into the fold. Challenges that centre around data and how data is processed. This is because in order to make decisions around who to retarget you need to have a central pool of data from which to pull insights. It is essential to have a central view of individuals that include information from multiple sources.
Behavioural data, third party data and interaction data from all your channels.
This new joined up approach enables marketers to develop campaigns and programmes based on all the contextual data around each individual. Moving away from decisions based solely on a single interaction (such as visiting a website) and more on all those interactions together.
DMP’s essential part
Data Management Platforms (DMPs) are thriving in the industry, and are said to be the most effective and future proof solution. A DMP enables you to drive your retargeting using a combination of customer data and third party data to get a more complete view of the customer you are retargeting.
The DMP sits in the middle and allows across the board insights to drive value in each channel, enabling it to reduce waste and irrelevancy in retargeting.
Going back to the start of the article, with even the smallest amount of information about the 46-year-old man or the 80 year-old lady, it is clear to see that money used to advertise to them is money wasted, as they are unlikely to buy the dress or football boots.
Indeed, using a DMP to input additional data marketers can make decisions based on contextual information beyond a single action and it’s only here that we start using tiny hammers.
A DMP is only as good as the data it has going into it. The third party data is a crucial element, providing detail around the individual that is impossible to gain from your own first party data.
The prospect of getting a DMP can be somewhat intimidating in this complicated world, but in 2017, don’t give up, there is help there for those who need it.
By Paul Thomas
Experian Marketing Services