Retargeting has had quite a successful year but for a technology that’s been around for nearly a decade, it seems like its availability has only recently become democratized. Amongst the buzz around the technology, one study from September still sticks out in my mind. comScore’s study with ValueClick Media found that ad retargeting generates the strongest lift in brand searches compared to other targeting strategies. Furthermore, retargeting has proven itself as a tool set to deliver a huge ROI for any brand with an online web presence. But after factoring in the technology’s implicit benefits, the ROI from retargeting may start to seem even bigger.
Search and Direct Traffic
While retargeting campaigns, as well as all online display campaigns are generally measured by impressions, clicks, and conversions, it’s important to note the implicit view-through traffic that your retargeting ad campaigns can create. Sure, you’re a small business, you’re really looking for that direct ROI and you don’t have the resources to fully trust implicit data… and you certainly don’t have to, you can simply test it out! To do this, simply compare the amount of direct and search traffic to your site during periods before, during, and after your retargeting campaign. If your top-of-funnel traffic-driving activities remained constant, you’ll notice a significant difference in direct traffic. Additionally, comScore’s study has proven this true over other types of media placement strategies, including audience targeting, contextual targeting, and efficiency pricing (CPC) strategies.
Because retargeting shows your ads solely to your audience wherever they go, the technology allows the opportunity to serve ads on more premium inventory for a lower cost. This is incredible for a small-to-medium sized business, as it adds a level of legitimacy to a brand. Matt Fogarty, CEO and founder of Crowdcast, finds retargeting invaluable in that it “makes [Crowdcast] look bigger… the people that we care about thought we were huge, and as a startup, that really helps.”
If you’re one of those marketers (and it’s very good to be one of these people) who has to measure everything with vigor, measuring your ROI and figuring out whether to give any attribution to view-through conversions can be a problem. A view-through conversion is a conversion that occurs when someone has been influenced by a banner before converting. This simply means the viewer saw a banner ad and converted within 24 hours of seeing it, but didn’t actually click on it. Since this is not as direct of a retargeting conversion as a click-through conversion, you can assign a lesser conversion value for view-through conversions. I label these conversions implicit, because while retargeting did affect the conversion process, other factors that may be hard to track affected the overall conversion process as well. ReTargeter finds that view-through conversions generally occur 5x as often as click-through conversions, and providing even a small attribution percentage to the view-through conversion can greatly increase your ROI.
While retargeting has been known to provide a positive ROI for many online brands, it probably isn’t getting all of the attention that it deserves. Retargeting can implicitly create a lift in brand search queries, increase a company’s overall branding and value perception, and influence a high volume of view-through conversions. With all of these implicit benefits, you may want to re-evaluate exactly how well your retargeting campaign performed. If you have yet to try retargeting, understanding the technology’s implicit value will provide a better understanding of your campaign’s performance.