Retargeting – The Gift That Keeps on Giving

As the saying goes, it’s the thought that counts. But when it comes to seasonal sales, it seems that UK consumers are willing to go the extra mile and reach for their wallets to celebrate national days and holidays. With Valentine’s Day sales up by 5.5%, £600m spent on Mother’s Day, and a further £893m spent on Easter – it’s plain to see that Brits love splashing out for special occasions. In this piece, Marino Gualano, general manager and co-founder, MainAd (pictured below), explains why re-targeting is so useful for retailers.

Retailers are even being advised to plan for the pre-Christmas shopping frenzy of Black Friday now, so they can implement lessons learned from last year’s trading, when some extended their promotions and offers for up to 14 days.

However, before vendors concentrate solely on long-term strategies, it’s worth taking a moment to also consider the importance of instant relevance. While Christmas is synonymous with big-budget, high-impact TV ad campaigns from department stores and supermarkets, a different approach is needed when it comes to the rapidly changing needs of digital consumers. To claim their share of 2018’s seasonal spending pot, retailers must, therefore, strengthen existing campaigns by continuously monitoring the efficacy of their ads and adjusting activity in line with real-time customer behaviour.

But how exactly can this be achieved? The answer is to harness one multipurpose tool: retargeting, the gift that keeps on giving.

The basics of retargeting

In short, retargeting is a marketing approach that recaptures the attention of consumers who have already shown an interest in certain brands or products. Generally speaking, most retargeting platforms work by gathering data about user interactions, such as non-personally identifiable cookies, and create a detailed view of individual journeys. Using this valuable intelligence, they can then identify the best opportunities for brands to reconnect with existing customers and prospects by serving tailored ads.

How can it drive sales?

Consumer journeys are getting harder to track. Instead of following the traditional route from initial interest to in-store purchase, individuals make their own paths covering an infinitely varied range of touchpoints. And, as intelligent devices have enabled constant connectivity, e-commerce has grown to play an increasingly integral role in this complex buying landscape. The UK is the biggest online Christmas shopper in Europe; during the 2017 festive period, UK shoppers were predicted to spend 142% more on gifts and 207% more on food and drink than the European average.

Marino Gualano, GM & Co-Founder, MainAd

As a result, driving sales now means retailers not only need to obtain a holistic understanding of individual activity, but they must also pinpoint when and where ads can be delivered for greatest effect.

This is where retargeting comes in. It helps retailers achieve these objectives in two key ways:

Data: By collating historical data, retargeting tools can provide a vital window into consumer interactions. For example, insight may reveal that a shopper has frequently visited a certain product page or failed to complete a purchase. When combined with insight from other channels, such as questions posted on brand social media pages or physical store visits, retailers can use this information to build understanding. And, with such in-depth insight at hand, they can pinpoint where customers are in the sales cycle and when they will be receptive to ads featuring previously viewed products.

Messaging: Precise timing is a good start, but to maximise the chances of conversion, ads must have personal appeal. Retargeting can address this need by ensuring messages strike the right chord. With a deep understanding of consumer behaviour, retailers can establish what has led them to abandon interactions or purchases.

For example, a shopper might have placed an item in their cart before deciding to check competitor prices or put the brakes on buying once shipping costs were added. By accurately ascertaining where consumers left, and why, sellers can adjust messages to align with their particular needs, including an exclusive discount or free delivery in time for the next seasonal celebration.

What’s more, by adopting platforms with advanced messaging capabilities – such as dynamic creative optimisation (DCO) – vendors can consistently improve the impact of retargeted ads. As data flows in about the items individuals search for, the devices they use and their preferred formats, ad creative can be carefully selected to maximise in-the-moment relevance.

The ability to determine what consumers want, and when they are most likely to buy, tops every retailer’s wish list – and approaches such as retargeting can bring them closer to achieving this clarity. But the tool’s capabilities extend far beyond just holidays. With a clear view of the products and services users interact with across channels, brands can serve relevant messages that inspire individuals to buy at any time of the year or re-tempt them with products they missed out on in the last sale. Whatever day of the year it may be, retargeting truly is the gift that gives a continual tide of incremental gains and better advertising experiences.