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Personalized advertising: dynamic retargeting

In the case of simple retargeting, the fact that a user was on the website is the only information that is used. Based on this information, he or she is repeatedly addressed with non-specific advertising. Dynamic retargeting goes one step further and takes into account individual details to enable personalized advertising. A simple example of this consists of advertising a specific product that the user had looked at or already placed in the shopping cart. This article is then displayed to the user again on other web sites, often together with similar alternatives.

This is based on a differentiated analysis of user behaviour: Which specific pages did users visit? Which products and categories were they interested in? How long were they on the web site? On which page did they leave the site? How often were they there?

This data is used to determine which product is the relevant to the users and how high the interest in purchasing actually is. Therefore the advertising that is shown this user can be highly personalized. This reduces wastage while increasing the quality of clicks at the same time. It is important to understand here that the target group was already on the site and is already familiar with the offer. The design of the advertising should take this into account and include triggers such as discounts, coupon codes, special offers and new products for example.

According to the guide “How To Take Your Retargeting To The Next Level” published by AdRoll, personalized, dynamic advertisements are 44% more profitable than static advertisements. However, it is all a matter of timing, as shown by the 2013 study “When Does Retargeting Work? Information Specificity in Online Advertising”. It consisted of tracking web site visitors for several weeks and then displaying both generic banners and dynamic, product specific advertising while they continued surfing. Generic advertising showed surprising results, as it proved to have higher average conversion rates. The authors attributed this to an often overlooked aspect of online advertising: the phase of product research that the user is in plays a particularly important role. If their interest is still rather vague and they are generally considering the options, generic advertising is more effective than specific advertising. But once their interest has already transformed into an actual purchase desire and the consumers are interested in the various product options and comparing their preferences, then the effectiveness of generic retargeting lags far behind dynamic retargeting.

The phase that consumers are at can be determined by looking at their surfing habits. A good indicator of an advanced phase in the decision-making process, for example, could include studying customer reviews or technical details about a product, or arriving at the site from comparison portals.

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