Have You Been Retargeted?
Have you ever considered purchasing an item, ultimately decided against it, but low and behold! that product seems to then appear in random places across the internet? Are you being stalked? Taunted? Teased by the most perfect products you just don’t seem to quite have the budget for? If so, you have been retargeted.
Retargeting runs on the cookie files that sites use to store non-personal user information, much like an identification code for that site. These cookies save user preferences (nothing invasive or too personal) and can link many websites together if the first site buys (advertising) space on the second sites.
For advertisers and brands, this means creating a more personalized and targeted message to the consumers. When a consumer expresses an interest in a brand or a specific product, cookie files save this “buying intent” or interest, anything from viewing a product page to placing a product into their virtual shopping cart then discarding it later.
For example (completely hypothetical), say a consumer looks at buying a Michael Kors Mid-Size Rose Golden/Cobalt Stainless Steel Bailey Chronograph Watch, but ultimately decides she does not have the dough to drop $250 on a single accessory (sad sigh). As that consumer browses the web, if she comes across a web page that works in conjunction with Michael Kors, instead of a generic advertisement for shoes or clothing, to that particular consumer the advertisements may feature the MK watch or other similar watch options that may be equally appealing to her.
Companies love retargeting because it pushes the consumer further down the customer funnel from mere awareness and interest in a brand or product towards desire, action, and eventually loyalty. Brands can offer specific advertisements that provide highly targeted value to the consumers who have already expressed engagement with their products.
Recently, retargeting has become ubiquitous on Facebook not only through third party retargeting platforms such as Adroll, but also with their own Facebook sponsored content. What makes Facebook retargeting unique, however, is the customer’s ability to opt out of advertisements that provide no value by clicking on a little “x” near the top of the unvalued advertisement. Retargeting via Facebook gives partial control over content to the customer, culminating to the optimal personalized advertising experience.
However, while retargeting (and especially retargeting through Facebook) seems like a perfect marketing solution for any brand, there are a few issues that still need to be addressed. One problem with retargeting lies in its reliance on cookies. Many individuals are now shopping on-the-go by way of tablets or smart phones, which do not carry cookies. Google is working on a way to remedy this issue to retarget between mobile devices and desktops. Google’s beta program will feature a “hashed tag” that will drop whenever a user pulls up the advertiser’s site. This tag works as a tracking identifier that ties to the cookies and device identifiers used by Google’s technological systems. This tag will allow ads to run across any of the user’s properties that support Google’s network of third-party sites and mobile apps.
Moreover, while Facebook offers a more personalized experience for paid-for advertising, Facebook is still far from the advertiser’s dream. Michael Hyatt discusses the limited reach Facebook offers as a free content-sharing medium. Logic would lead one to think more ‘likes’ a Facebook page receives would provide more exposure to that page’s posts and content. This is how twitter works, more followers equals more reach and brand exposure. However, Facebook dictates much of the exposure for posts by filtering which content will be seen on a user’s homepage. And when the average person is exposed to around 1,500 post a day, post filtering is absolutely necessary. Facebook has used this filtering as a way to generate money, allowing pages to pay a fee to sponsor their content and thus increase their views. Sponsoring content allows pages to increase their likes, comments, and shares and again increase their exposure. Facebook limits posts that have not been sponsored nor have gained enough activity for organic exposure. And with the vicious cycle of sponsored posts gaining more activity than non sponsored posts, thus further burying non sponsored posts, it is very difficult to increase activity organically.
The false sense of success, increased likes without guaranteeing increased exposure, creates a feeling of “yelling into the void.” It is difficult for smaller companies or start-ups to gain widespread exposure without pumping a lot their social media budget into Facebook.
Social media is a great way to build brand awareness, interact with customers, and create customer loyalty. The true question lies in how to best reach your target market with valuable content. Retargeting across different websites, as well as on social media outlets, provides an effective way to specifically tailor messages to consumers with higher value for these advertising messages.
Coupled with the right CREATIVE CONTENT, retargeting is a great vehicle for a second chance to have your message and/or product in front of your target market.
(For inquiries about or donations to the Roberts Creative copywriter’s Michael Kors fund, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org)