Remarketing is one of the hottest ways to reach a target audience. With remarketing, you can laser-target web users who have been to your site, browsed content or products, and maybe even abandoned shopping carts or application forms. Learn expert remarketing tips and tricks, and show users what they’re missing with a gentle nudge back to your website.
Privacy groups have had their sights set on behavioral targeting (also known as remarketing) since the idea of tracking web surfer’s activity first surfaced. The Center for Digital Democracy, a leading privacy advocacy group, has been a vocal player in protecting consumer’s privacy online. As far back as November 2007, the group has penned letters to the FCC asking for the federal agency to act on behavioral targeting in the interest of online privacy. While it remains to be seen if the FCC will ever act to prohibit behavioral targeting, many companies who employ the strategy experience solid results; but how long will that last?
As recently as January 24th of this year, Google introduced a downloadable extension to their Chrome browser that allows its users to “opt out of personalized advertising”. In Google’s own words, “Keep My Opt-Outs is an extension for users who aren’t comfortable with personalization of the ads they see on the web. It’s a one-step, persistent opt-out of personalized advertising and related data tracking performed by companies adopting the industry privacy standards for online advertising.” Coincidentally (or not), Mozilla announced a similar option for their Firefox browser the day before Google’s announcement. Mozilla’s new browser feature is best described by Alex Fowler, the Global Privacy and Public Policy Leader at Mozilla, the organization behind Firefox. He states on his blog, “As the first of many steps, we are proposing a feature that allows users to set a browser preference that will broadcast their desire to opt-out of third party, advertising-based tracking by transmitting a Do Not Track HTTP header with every click or page view in Firefox. When the feature is enabled and users turn it on, web sites will be told by Firefox that a user would like to opt-out of OBA. We believe the header-based approach has the potential to be better for the web in the long run because it is a clearer and more universal opt-out mechanism than cookies or blacklists.” Not to be outdone, Microsoft’s newest version of Internet Explorer “IE9”, which was released yesterday, provides users the ability to create a list of sites that they do not want tracking them.
Between the main three browsers (Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 56%, Mozilla’s Firefox 23%, and Google Chrome 11%) 90% of all web surfers now have greater control over how they are tracked online. If you are actively running behavioral targeting or remarketing campaigns, you should keep a close eye on your results to see if these new browser settings impact the return on your ad spend.
It wasn’t a coincidence that a JetBlue advertisement appeared on your screen while visiting Spirit Airlines’ website. In fact, a few hours before, you were most likely searching airline prices on JetBlue’s site. Those not understanding the process of remarketing may think that JetBlue is purely a marketing genius. Others know better, that they’re a remarketing genius. Either way, remarketing is an amazing tool that when used correctly, will increase brand awareness and increase ROI over time.
Remarketing: What is it and are you using it effectively for your business?
Remarketing or retargeting is simply the act of displaying a banner image and/or advertisement in front of an audience that has previously visited your website. The process is simple. After visiting a website, a “cookie” (a small file that a Web server automatically sends to your computer when you access certain websites) is stored on your hard drive. The tracking capability allows advertisers to “remarket” and “get another shot” to be in front of their target audience.
Remarketing has many benefits. Not only does it strengthen your ability to brand, but it also gives your company the ability to display an offer in front of an audience that has, at some point, showed interest in your business through visiting your site. Marketers can choose which websites to display your ads on and can even get so granular as to create a banner advertisement that mirrors or correlates to the internal page that was visited. For instance, if you are a marketer for Canon, perhaps you will remarket with a banner ad displaying digital camera accessories to a website visitor that just looked at the correlating digital camera on the website but did not make the purchase. Marketers also have the ability to choose the frequency and duration of an advertisement to be displayed. This is where some debate does originate. Remember to not annoy your audience. Individuals browsing the Web always have the option to disable cookies. If you aggravate your visitors through remarketing too frequently, they may become turned off and never do business with your company again. Finding a balance here is the key…
On the consumer side, it is important to understand and become educated on remarketing. Remarketing does not pull any personal information, merely identifies which websites have been visited. The lack of education has triggered the Federal Trade Commission’s proposal to require Web browsers to have a “do-not-track” option. If passed, it would limit advertisers’ ability to remarket. In a recent article from Investor’s Business Daily, our President, Andrew Wetzler, commented on the topic advising, “The FTC could be hoping Web companies take the initiative and offer do-not-track on their own, to avoid the threat of governmental enforcement, says Andrew Wetzler, president of online marketing firm MoreVisibility. At the end of the day, the FTC is not looking to have to enforce this because it could be very messy,” Wetzler said. “Rather, it wants to get companies to voluntarily add (a do-not-track) to their websites.”
Although remarketing may not have an immediate impact on ROI, it will incrementally over time. It may take multiple remarketing ads to have resonance. If you aren’t convinced yet that you should consider remarketing, let’s just stick to some hard facts. According to SearchEngineWatch.com in 2009, remarketing was cited as the most under-utilized online marketing technology, despite some advertisers experiencing a 400 percent increase in ad response after implementing remarketing.
The FTC has been trying to implement “Do Not Track” rules that would enable Internet users to opt out of being followed around the Web. These new rules are being praised by privacy advocates who are weary that websites have too much valuable information that could possibly be misused or even sold to insurance companies, banks, employers, etc. to make important application or approval decisions. Do Not Track opponents are hoping the FTC will maintain the current self-regulatory method. On January 31, the FTC will vote on whether to request a congressional mandate for websites to honor the Do Not Track requests from users.
So what does Do Not Track mean to advertisers? If the FTC passes Do Not Track, online advertisers will have to change current practices of using behavioral targeting and pixel tracking. It will also allow Internet users to choose an option on their Web browser to notify every webpage they visit not to track them.
As it stands, advertisers can track users through a tracking pixel or cookie, that gets downloaded to each visitor’s browser. Then the advertiser can target visitors on other web sites with display banners or videos. Behavioral targeting allows advertisers to create groups of users that are more inclined to be interested in an advertiser’s product or service. For example, an advertiser can target females 18-34 for beauty products instead of blindly showing ads to all visitors on a Web page.
According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the Do Not Track rules would severely hurt the $300 billion online advertising industry. Display ads rely heavily on Internet tracking and behavioral targeting and marketers have seen great lifts in click-through and conversion rates due to these newly implemented tools.
The online advertising industry does not “watch over” individual’s Web browsing. Advertisers use Web browsing data to make educated decisions as to where and when advertisements should be seen, which plausibly speaking benefits web users as well.