Be relevant!

January 17, 2013

There’s a happy intersection between good marketers and consumers, and it’s found at the point of relevancy.

Relevancy drives conversion and efficiency in media spending and, when it’s done right, consumers have access to media that matters most to them.

[source: Scott Litman] Increasingly, a key tactic being deployed to achieve relevancy is “interest-based advertising,” which conveys the simple idea that ads should match the interest of the recipient.

While it might sound like just another shiny new phrase, the results are causing online marketers to take notice. Retargeting vendor AdRoll released a report earlier this year showing that retargeting costs 20 percent less than site-targeted campaigns on a CPM basis, and performs about two times better on a CTR basis.

While interest-based advertising tactics such as retargeting are gaining momentum, there are still many marketers who have yet to discover and test these tools. And even for experienced pros, there are new options to consider. Here are five interest-based approaches that will help to improve your targeted online marketing efforts and, ultimately, ROI.

Reach across the internet with retargeting tools?In general, greater relevancy occurs as retargeting becomes more and more specific. This concept involves bringing a visitor to a homepage and retargeting ads to that visitor across the internet with messages related to the brand and/or company. Then, when the visitor reaches a specific product page, the message and offers can be more specific and personally relevant to the user, therefore boosting trial or purchase.

For marketers with a modest budget, this option provides an opportunity for your program to appear as though your presence and reach far exceed what your budget would provide for. For all marketers, the ability to reach customers with your brand, product, or offer after they’ve left your site is a great opportunity to capture what otherwise might have been a lost sale.

How it works. A marketer can “pixel” any page on a site to identify a site visitor, to whom they can serve ads in the future on numerous sites across the internet. There are many good retargeting solutions available, including FetchBack, Specific Media, Google, and AdRoll.

Try Google for paid search and beyond
Paid search is the pioneer and leader of wide-scale interest-based advertising. And to that end, our belief is that every marketer needs to maximize the opportunities available via SEO and SEM. But beyond that, Google also offers tools that support interest-based advertising. Through AdSense, Google provides tools that populate the search page with ads based on interest categories specific to the individual user. Category personalization is a good start, but Google is expanding and improving the options with new “remarketing” programs. (What Google calls remarketing is what the rest of us refer to as retargeting.) This allows a marketer’s past site visitors to be reached again via AdWords and Google’s display ad network.

Give your viewers options in video
A growing trend is to provide viewers with options in video ads. Hulu and other video sites support products, like Ad Selector from BBE, that allow a user to pick the ad they will see in the pre-roll. While typically there are only a couple of options, self selection provides the greatest opportunity for relevancy. And it’s working: Recent data shows that ad recall via Ad Selector is nearly 300 percent higher than traditional pre-rolls.

Give them options through online articles too
Similar to video ad options, pay-per-click articles provide another form of effective interest-based advertising. For example, Adfusion serves up multiple articles of potential interest to a user, thereby allowing the user to select which one they want to read. With a two-click model, marketers don’t pay for unwanted clicks before an article is read, and they only pay for users who have shown a real interest in reading an article and exploring a link found in the content. Articles not only deliver an interest-based message, but they’re also often preferred by web users. A recent survey by Adfusion found that consumers are more likely to read and act upon articles that include brand information, compared to banner ads, pop-up ads, email offers, or sponsored links.

Invest in traffic generation to boost retargeting efforts
To increase the effectiveness of retargeting efforts, traffic generation should be part of the mix. The more traffic you can drive to your site, the greater the inventory of retargeting candidates you’ll have down the road. For example, paid search can serve dual roles: It can drive site traffic for a first visit, as well as feed the retargeting engine for future visits.

With retargeting, there’s no need to limit yourself to a single vendor. Particularly for marketers with modest-sized audiences, it can be challenging to get enough retargeting traffic, so buying 100 percent of the inventory of multiple retargeting vendors might be required to effectively move the needle.

Like many forms of integrated marketing, experience tells us that no one tool gets the job done. Use a combination of tools to provide the best chance of driving high-quality traffic to your site, while continuously improving ROI.

Scott Litman is managing partner of Magnet 360 and a 20-year veteran of marketing services and technology.


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