Like a High School Bully: The Problem with Retargeting

November 23, 2014

8:00 pm

The High School Bully

It seems as if the high school bully is back, and he’s not going to leave us alone this time. The bully that follows you everywhere is what ad professionals are referring to as retargeting.

We’ve all experienced it. Say last week you were browsing on eBay for a new pair of leather boots. You search around, see a few nice things but don’t find anything that’s exactly what you’re looking for. You leave the site, and forget that you were ever looking for boots at all.

Why it works

You might be over the boots, but your browser is not: you begin to be overwhelmed by images of the leather boots you briefly saw in a moment of weakness on eBay. On Facebook, you see the boots. On Amazon, you see the same pair of boots. On a Google search for something else, somehow, you see the boots; the bully strikes again.

Retargeting is turning into the junk mail of the digital age. Even though the retargeted ads are still shown to you after you have rejected the product, or if your overall browsing experience is disturbed by this bully. Even if a small amount of people click on that ad, it is considered a huge success by advertisers.  

Make it Stop!

The question a brand might ask when faced with offering ads that might be considered bullies is this: How do I increase business visibility and secure quality conversions? The answer lies in planning to bid high enough for your ad inventory. Marketers purchase advertising spots through a process of real-time bidding (RTB). Instead of wasting your time and resources on over-exposing your audience through retargeting ads, put more of your efforts toward RTB and getting quality ad spots over quantity. Tools like Smartyads can work with you as an ad buyer to obtain these quality spots.

So we’ve established that overexposure can be seriously detrimental to your brand. No one wants their brand to be associated with the annoying high school bully, right? If you set a frequency cap on your retargeting campaign you can limit the number of times users will see your ads. This will also prevent you from wasting money on showing ads to consumers who have already seen the ad, and probably won’t convert anyway. Google’s DoubleClick has a feature to allow you to set a frequency cap by the use of cookies on a publisher’s domain.

Retargeting in theory is a great tool to increase ROI, and if used properly and in moderation it can be great in practice as well. Put that annoying high school bully back in its place and your customers will thank you for it.


Did you like this article?

Get more delivered to your inbox just like it!

Sorry about that. Try these articles instead!

Yoav Vilner is the Co-Founder of Yoav is a columnist for top tier media such as Inc Magazine, TheNextWeb and VentureBeat, and is wildly passionate about all-things-tech.