Re-Targeting Most Effective at Driving Brand Awareness, According to Study

The popularity of re-targeting ad campaigns (i.e. showing ads to users that have already visited or interacted with your brand) has grown over recent years.  Anecdotal evidence from advertisers has pointed towards re-targeting as being a cost-effective alternative to more wider-reach display ads.

This anecdotal evidence has now been confirmed with quantitative evidence from a study released by comScore and ValueClick Media.  Re-targeting ads leads to more than 2 times more branded searches (what the studies refer to as “Brand Lift”) than the runner-up, and nearly 4 times more than the average methodology.

The study, released as a Whitepaper by comScore, took data from over 100 campaigns across 7 industries.  They were looking for the effect of different ad placement strategies on website visits and brand/trademark search queries.

The results were extremely favorable to Re-targeting, compared to other ad strategies.  The costs remained moderate while the lift blew away the competition, see chart below:

Trademark Search Source: Comscore.com[/caption

What are the Ad Strategies?

The names in the above chart each refer to specific ad placement strategies.  Details below:

  • Audience – Placement based on previous behavioral data (such as visits to related sites).
  • Contextual – Ads which are relevant to content on a specific page.
  • Efficiency – Cost-per-click optimized.
  • Premium Pricing – Premium publishers with high visibility placement.
  • Retargeting – Shows to users that have previously visited an advertiser site.
  • Run-of-Network (RON) – Ads across an entire network.

What this means for Advertisers

The success of retargeting has been touted by those “in the know”, but this study is the first of its kind to put the positive effect in quantitative data.  This will provide additional evidence to persuade stakeholders to engage in retargeting programs.

It also speaks to the relative ineffective nature of some of the other strategies, including the high cost of contextual and premium ads, and the minimal effect of “run-of-site” and “efficiency” ads.  This could help steer strategic decisions as advertisers decide how to allocate budgets for their campaigns.

How to Approach Display Ads

Display ads aren’t dead, but they also can’t be the entirety of any campaign.  As this data suggests, the best way to approach display ads will likely be as a complement to other traffic generation strategies (after all, retargeting can only apply to visitors who have already visited your site).

A balanced approach of SEO, PPC, offline promotion and display advertising will likely be the most effective method of advertising.  Work with your digital marketing professional to find the right balance for you.

Meet the Author

Rick Lomas

Rick became 'interested' in Google Penalties when Google Penguin 1.0 almost made him homeless in 2012. Since then he has become an expert in fixing Google Algorithmic Penalties and Manual Actions. Rick has cleared over 100 Google Manual Actions since 2015. He has a 100% success rate in penalty removal.

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