Retarget Digital Media Like a Trusted Friend & Not a Pesky Salesperson

According to a survey among online advertisers conducted by intelliAd, currently 6.5% of SEM budgets are allocated to retargeted ads, and in the future, advertisers want to increase that number to 11%, representing a 69% jump. As retargeted ads – those ads that feature products a consumer has viewed online previously – become more popular, it’s imperative that brands not only keep conversions and revenue in their sights. They also must remember that increasing brand loyalty through positive digital experiences will keep the populace as paying customers for years to come.


From a marketer’s perspective, retargeted ads offer a big benefit: they allow brands to reach the populace during the decision-making process and produce incredible ROI. In fact, 50% of consumers go to two or more sites before making a purchase2 and less than one-third of site visitors complete a transaction on the first visit.3

An April 2013 survey conducted by research company Toluna and Adroit Digital posed that exact question, and here’s what they found: nearly 3 out of 5 consumers surveyed said they notice retargeted ads, and 30% said they had a positive reaction to them, as opposed to 11% who had a negative reaction. However, 59% of consumers surveyed had a neutral reaction. Perhaps the populace has just accepted that brands are tracking its online behavior.

Which leads us to caution brands. Retargeted ads are a reminder to consumers that they are being watched; and, if not deployed in thoughtful and strategic ways, they can feel invasive and ultimately lead to a negative brand experience. As an agency that always wants to keep both the brand’s goals and the populace’s needs in mind, here are our guidelines for getting the most out of retargeted ads:

Qualify the Lead – Identify actions that mark potential customers as qualified, such as they reach the product details or search results pages, visit the FAQs or click a “learn more” button.

Don’t Over-Deliver – It’s been found that retargeted ads that appear three weeks and three months after an online search increase the negative feelings toward those ads by 2–4%.4 Cap the frequency of the ad’s delivery, and make sure it stops running after a purchase or conversion.

Get Creative – When it comes to the ad’s messaging, don’t say the same thing over and over. Use multiple messages to reach the populace in engaging ways.

eMarketer estimates that 73% of U.S. internet users ages 14 or older will buy online this year.2 So, it’s no surprise that brands want to keep their products and services on the minds of the populace – and they should. Brands just need to be conscious that their media plans reflect the behavior of a trusted friend and not a pesky salesperson.


  1. “Study on Retargeting: For Advertisers an ‘Online Channel of the Future’.” intelliAd. 2013.
  2. “Online Buyers Notice Retargeted Ads.” eMarketer. 12 Aug. 2013.
  3. “3 Mistakes That Prevent Retargeting Success.” iMedia Connection. 28 March 2013.
  4. “Wealthiest, Most Educated Are Most Turned Off By Continued Retargeting.” Adotas. 23 Aug. 2013.