Remarketing, the art of converting clicks to sales

Sunday, 9 March 2014 - 7:35am IST | Agency: dna

I was recently searching for various home theatre products available in the market and came across sound bars as a compact offering in this space. While searching online, I landed up on the Bose India website and checked out some of their home entertainment systems including sound bars, 2.1/5.1 channel speakers etc. While the company's product line-up is great, their prices are fairly steep so I discontinued my search.

What followed was very interesting...
Most of the websites I visited (across social, search, e-commerce, travel and finance verticals) in the next few days had some home theatre related product ads including the ones I'd visited on Bose India website. I wondered, was it sheer coincidence or was it by design that these advertisements were being directed to me only after I'd checked them out earlier.

I was curious and started looking for answers from people in the digital media industry. I finally figured out that this approach of stalking a potential customer in the online space is called 'remarketing' or 'retargeting'.

Defining remarketing
Simply put, 'remarketing' or 'retargeting' is one of the digital media strategies that allows marketers to reach users who have shown interest in their brand or product.

The concept of remarketing is still at an early stage in India, expers say the approach has been used by marketers in developed countries for a while.

Google obviously is the biggest enabler of remarketing / retargeting globally. While there are a lot of other companies trying to address the remarketing space, a few that stand out include AdRoll and an Indian start-up Vizury that are doing a lot of work in this area.

How does it work?
It all starts when a user visits a brand page searching for a product /service. The brand website sends a small code (popularly known as cookies) to the device used by the visitor. This cookie tracks and saves every move the prospective buyer makes on the website.

"The information includes details on the different types of products being checked out, various pages being visited within the brand's website, whether a transaction was concluded or otherwise. The cookie also saves details regarding at what stage did the user drop out in the process," said Ashwin Puri, vice-president of Remarketing at Asia Pacific's leading digital media technology company, Komli Media.

Not to suggest a spoiler, but remarketing will go for a toss if the user clears / deletes cookies after visiting the website.

Companies that use the strategy:
Almost all e-commerce companies
Hotels / travel booking websites
Consumer electronics brands targeting online conversions
Mobile applications developers
Advertising agencies

Why is remarketing important for brands?
Companies spend a considerable amount in reaching out to their target customers. But in the case of remarketing, customers have already come to the brand page, looked at various products and they may or may not convert (conclude a transaction). It is important for marketers to understand if they are converting well enough and how frequently. This is important information to target customers with a host of other product specific advertisements.

How much are companies spending on remarketing at present?
Currently it is 5-10% of the overall digital marketing spend and may reach 20% in a few years. Growing to almost 30% in 2012, digital advertising was pegged at over Rs2,200 crore in size by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and is expected to reach Rs3,000 crore this year. Remarketing spends are over 1% of the overall industry and experts feel this will touch 15-20% soon.0

What is the frequency of ads showing up on websites?
It depends from product to product. For instance, take a prospective customer trying to buy a Mumbai to Delhi ticket for next week on a travel site but hasn't concluded the transaction. In this case, ads will be shown from the time this activity was triggered to a day or two before the day of travel.

How do you implement remarketing successfully?
There are three things marketers need to focus on to implement remarketing successfully. One, collect as much information as possible about the user. Two, getting access to as much ad inventory as possible. Three, show the consumer the relevant advertisements that will lead to conversion. Companies with in-house capabilities tend to do it themselves while others subscribe to initiatives like the Remarketing Demand Side Platform (RDSP) by Komli.

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