Is retargeting turning off your customers?

retargetingIn a recent survey, RAPP UK and InSkin Media highlighted the potential drawbacks of retargeting and its impact on people’s attitudes towards a brand, revealing 55% users were deterred by retargeted ads. However, based on my previous experience with both the travel and retail industries (who pioneered this model), retargeting campaigns can drive successfully higher conversions and increased ROI. With the rise of programmatic buying technologies we see higher quality, variety and relevancy of retargeted message served to customers in real-time, so what are the key factors that marketers should be aware of in order to deliver a successful, sustainable retargeting strategy?

  • Excessive ad frequency will leave people feeling annoyed or angry at your brand.
    • Use a Test & Learn strategy to define the maximum ad frequency for each of your target audiences. By deploying A/B tests for different frequency caps and analysing CTR and Conversion in real-time marketers are more likely to identify gaps and optimise on the go.
    • In the absence of this testing, the study suggests capping your ad frequency at 3.
  • Tread carefully with incorporating sensitive information such as the customer’s income and location.
    • Personalisation can be tricky when it comes to sensitive information. The use of a user’s name or personal details in a display ad will not be as well received as their use in a personalised email. Brands should always be transparent and seek permission for the use of people’s data.
    • A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if your messaging feels ‘creepy’. Starting the conversation with a question can be a great way to avoid that e.g. Still looking for the best car insurance?
  • The context in which a retargeted ad is shown to a person needs to be relevant to the ads content
    • According to the study, ads served on sites unrelated to the product or service being advertised are over 11 times more likely to discourage than encourage purchase.
    • Media side, this means having better control and visibility on the site & the content where your ads appears. Creative side, the content in the ad also needs to be relevant to the person’s need state at that point in the path-to-purchase.
    • Continually retargeting someone with a product they just bought would quickly become annoying and reflect badly on the brand. On the other hand, promoting a customer service message post-purchase to the user is likely to build brand advocacy.
  • Consider the right mix of retargeting techniques in your strategy
    • There are multiple ways toretarget. Picking the right mix given your objectives, budget and the customer’s point in the path to purchase is crucial. Think about the following techniques:
      • Site retargeting: Based on visits to your website – the most commonly used but least effective
      • Search retargeting: retargeting messages relevant to search keywords used
      • Email retargeting: retargeting based how customers interact with your emails
      • CRM retargeting: retargeting existing customers who have not interacted with your emails, but are browsing online
      • Social retargeting: retargeting through custom audiences on Facebook, YouTube or Twitter

In this context, it is the role of agencies to always partner with their clients to define an audience-centric strategy that utilises retargeting technologies to the benefit rather than the annoyance of their customers. By creating messages that strategically story-tell rather than harass customers not only will your campaign be more effective, but your overall brand advocacy will also be improved.

Source: Familiarity, Frequency and Fine Lines – InSkin Media & RAPP

Hey Facebook, what’s in it for users?

The more I read about new features or services offered by industry leads such as Google, Facebook or Apple, the more I am asking myself: how is this providing a better user experience?

facebook engancha

With the launch of video advertising in its newsfeed in July, it seems pretty clear that Facebook is just becoming another advertising platform rather than providing a great social networking experience for its users. As a majority of the population is now comfortable browsing the web, sharing content and also purchasing online, companies are finally realising the need to shift their media buying and start to dramatically invest in digital advertising to target new or existing customers.

What’s new here? 
Well, the trend that is slowly invading social networking sites is that they would rather increase their revenue streams through offering more advertising options than improving users’ conversational & sharing experience. And this is specific to content generated websites, such as blogs, Wikipedia, YouTube and now… Facebook!
The reason behind this choice is that advertisers see more ROI when using contextual targeting. Meaning, as a user one is more and more likely to click on an ad and purchase an item online when seen within a content one is interested in e.g. displaying a cruise ad when you are reading travel tips to go to Fiji. Concerns are that this type of advertising is intrusive for the user, all the more that is it not sought by the user. Using your personal interests, location, cookies, and preferences is not enough, brands are now hungry for what you read, share and write about.

Fair enough, one will say this is the purpose of advertising. But, what about social media? Are we meant to accept a poor user experience on a site where we are the ones creating the content? Shouldn’t Facebook consider its users, since we are ultimately the ones that are making Facebook a successful business?

Source: Facebook looks to video ads as it seeks new revenue streams – Financial Times, May 6 2013