Remarketing refers to advertisers that track users who have visited their websites so they can deliver “targeted” ads for their products as the user visits other websites. The remarketing ad may actually include a specific product that was viewed on the site or even one that at one point or another was placed your online shopping cart. And remarketing may start as soon as you leave the site.
Depending on your point of view as a consumer, you may find this remarketing stuff to be cool (oh yes, that stuff I liked, but forgot to buy!) or to be creepy (am I being stalked?).
This is part of the challenge. Not all customers are the same and thus their views of remarketing will undoubtedly vary. Difficult situations can be created as the result of remarketing; for example, you are doing research on a new branded fashion outfit for your ten-year-old daughter. You conclude research and begin helping said daughter do research for her school science project. With every click as you cruise the Internet looking for material; you are repeatedly bombarded with the branded outfit ads. Some may find this cute, while many will become frustrated.
A solution for good permission-based marketing is to have some kind of remarketing opt-in before brands begin following their customers or prospects around the web, and/or implement our remarketing programs to leverage what we know about existing customers to be more relevant and less creepy.
Another challenge with remarketing is the creation of an additional paid-search-like tax. Since the goal is to target customers (all types-prospects, former, new, best customers, etc.) who have already visited the brand’s website, remarketing is very often talking to someone that has already purchased. So similar to the paid-search-tax (discussed in a previous blog post), marketers are constantly paying a remarket fee for customers they have already acquired. “Have” being an engaged, buying relationship. And to make it worse, the remarketing ads often cost the marketer a premium price because they are “targeted”! Yet, this is a Best Customer brands are repeatedly remarketing to.
The thought of this makes my stomach turn and I always go back to a picture in my mind of a customer exiting a store with bags full of purchases being chased down the street by a store associate that is repeatedly yelling, “Do you want to buy this? Or this? Or how about this?” It may sound like hyperbole but for many this is how remarketing makes them feel.
As customer-centric marketers, we feel that a remarketing campaign needs to be designed to leverage what we know already about our existing customers. This will enable more relevant marketing to be delivered to the customer AND it should enable the brand to negotiate a lower CPC and not pay the Ad Tax for customers they already know and have an existing relationship established. It is at this juncture where remarketing can become a very important asset in the marketing toolbox. However, based on the current tactics employed, I think there’s still an opportunity for refinement. Do you agree or disagree?