Advertising that follows the users

Retargeting has become one of the most effective online advertising tools. It consists of delayed, cross platform advertising for users who visit a web site and then leave again.

Retargeting targets potential customers, who have already been in contact with the provider. This usually comprises visitors to a site (site retargeting), but can also include other target groups such as Facebook fans or those who have viewed a promotional video for example. The contact is considered a signal that the viewer is generally interested in the product or offer.

As soon as a user visits the site and takes a closer look at a specific offering, a small tracking code (cookie) is stored in his or her browser. The user can then be recognized on his journey through the web and his or her particular interest or general personal data can be taken into consideration. As long as they navigate through the internet on pages within the display network, on which the retargeting campaign has been launched, they will receive advertising which is more or less tailored to their interests.

This attention-grabbing form of advertising is particularly suitable for:

  • Sale/conversion
    Visitors, who have left a web site without conversion (e.g. shopping cart cancellation), are reminded of the offer and ideally brought back to the site.
  • Branding
    Image and branding campaigns can be extended using retargeting by repeatedly pushing the message into the user’s (sub)consciousness.
  • Synergy effects
    Retargeting is also suitable when it comes to the creative interaction of various advertising campaigns. Example: if a user is interested in product A, then they might also be interested in product B. In addition to this, “similar target groups” can be addressed, which show similarities to web site visitors and their intentions with regard to specific factors.

Research conducted by the service provider myThings in April 2014 stresses the prominent role of retargeting in online advertising. Out of 116 e-commerce executives from major companies in the United States and Europe, 32 percent are planning increased retargeting spending this year and 45 percent also want to try mobile retargeting. According to an earlier study by AdRoll, retargeting is about 20% cheaper than traditional display advertising, while being twice as effective in terms of click-through rate (CTR).

However, online advertising that follows users for days or weeks often also results in disinterest or rejection. This is reflected by the current W3B report “Advertising on the Internet and mobile web” by Fittkau & Maaß, for which approximately 6,000 German Internet users were surveyed. A third of those interviewed felt seriously disturbed by repeated advertising, which is why many use ad blockers and hide the advertising completely. About 30% of the users deliberately punish “annoying advertisers” by ignoring the ads and refusing to purchase the goods or services advertised.
In order to avoid such negative effects, retargeting should necessarily entail a differentiated campaign strategy. Tact is required: the better the advertising is designed, the less it is seen by users as such.

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