Affiliate Summit West 2012 Las Vegas – SEOMOZ Retargeting Session

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One of the most interesting sessions I attended to during Affiliate Summit West 2012 was held by Joanna Lord of SEOmoz. The session was titled: “Advanced Retargeting Tactics” and was focused on “Retargeting“.

Has it ever happened to you that you visited a website then you kept seeing ads for this website on every single website you visited? This kind of cyber-stalking uses a technology called retargeting to stuff you with a cookie when you visit the original website, then show you countless ads for this website.

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Before I go any further, here is a quick word of introduction about Joanna Lord. Joanna currently heads up SEOmoz’s paid search, affiliate, and acquisition marketing efforts. She is also a well-known social media enthusiast and frequent conference speaker. Her diverse experience in data analysis, paid search marketing, search engine optimization and content creation enables her to provide tactical acquisition strategies that work.

Let’s dive into the presentation that was given by Joanna. The first very important aspect that she focused on is the creatives. From her experience, it’s very important to not use the same creatives as you would with “regular” display advertising.

As an illustration, we were presented with 2 sets of retargeting creatives from Tiffany and TagHeuer.

Tiffany retargeting creatives

It’s interesting to note that in Tiffany’s creatives, there are no call to actions. The whole point of these creatives is to capitalize on what makes the brand memorable. It’s all about branding without being pushy.

TagHeuer retargeting creatives

TagHeuer approach is more classic. These creatives are probably the same as for their display campaigns. On most of these, we can see a product, the brand and a call to action. These fail to create a relationship with the visitor and just presents them with the same advertising that they can see everywhere. They do not focus on the brand image.

In order to differentiate from basic display advertising, and to work on building a relationship with their visitors, SEOMOZ developped a simple three-steps strategy. Each of these steps having its own set of creatives:

  • Introducers (displayed from day 1 to day 30): these creatives are mostly used for branding. They do not use any clear call-to-action and are here to remind the visitor of your brand’s existence,
  • Influencers (displayed from day 31 to day 60): during this second phase, creatives are used to engage the visitor by having him acknowledge the type of product or services that SEOMOZ has to offer,
  • Converters (displayed from day 61 to day 90): this final set of creatives is used to convert the visitor into a client by presenting him very clear offers for the products and services he can purchase from SEOMOZ.

Joanna then shared her experience for visitors who have not converted when they reach the 90 days threshold. According to her, this is probably the time to let the visitor move on to other ventures. One of the possible things being to share your prospects with other companies you have agreements with.

A very interesting aspect she presented was the number of impressions per visitor per month: it’s all about balance. If you keep firing your creatives at your prospect, you risk to annoy them and have them forever gone. A good number to target is 15 to 20 impressions per month.

To conclude this post, I’d say that retargeting seems like an awesome strategy to develop and the market is wide open right now since it’s not yet mature. There are plenty of ways to be creative by considering search retargeting, partner retargeting… Check the following infographic:

seven types of effective retargeting

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  • Target individuals based on the searches they conducted on Google, Yahoo! and Bing,
  • Target individuals based on the specific products viewed, actions taken or actions not taken (such as abandoning a shopping cart),
  • Target individuals based on how they arrived on your site – use the inbound event to better customize messaging,
  • Target individuals who are interacting with your email programs,
  • Target individuals who have visited a partner site that shares a similar interest / topic to your own site,
  • Target individuals who have interacted with distributed content (a custom Facebook page, an expandable video ad unit or an online game/application),
  • Target individuals who consume similar content to your existing customers

Thanks goes to Joanna of SEOmoz for allowing me to use some of her slides in this blog post.


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  1. Dana

    I’ve always wondered how sites know what ads to put up, and why they’re always so relevant to me! It’s those cookie things! Oh lord, I need to have my son explain this to me ha ha.

    1. Steven

      There are a lot of privacy concerns though because you get “stalked” when you’re visiting websites. For now, it’s not really regulated so you are free to do pretty much anything.

    2. Mitch

      Basically what it does is track where you’ve been so that the advertisements that pop up are more likely to appeal to you. Say you’ve been online shopping for clothes and purses, the ads that are going to show up are going to be related to that as opposed to say camping gear. It’s really stalking but it doesn’t do any harm. There are ways to avoid it too.

  2. Gorman

    This Joanna Lord sounds like a really smart lady. It takes some know-how to analyze and figure out not only what people want to see and what’s effective, but to develop a plan to make ads more effective to your audience? That’s impressive. Thanks for sharing, this has given me lots to think about!

  3. Michelle

    Oh goodness, Tiffany always gets me! Their ads are just so classy, and their brand is so strong that they hardly need to pull any gimmicks or tricks. That’s how you can tell good advertising from bad.

  4. Jony

    Just from a professional standpoint, I think it was very smart to contrast those two sets of adverts because there’s a lot that you can learn from comparing and contrasting them: The tiffany is simple and the tag is too busy, the tiffany is light and aesthetically pleasing while the tag is dark and easy to overlook. Great pairing to show the better advert, I’ve really enjoyed this article. Sounds like you learned a lot!

    1. Sarah

      Good eye! That’s exactly what I was thinking! ;)

  5. Mike

    It sounds like retargeting is essential I’d say. I think it’s very useful to have everything listed as far as the individuals who should be targeted, it’s definitely taken some smarts to put that together, thanks to you and many thanks to Joanna for sharing!

  6. John

    This is some great information, I highly recommend that we share it with those in our community! Thanks to Steven for sharing with us what he had the opportunity to learn.

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