Was just thinking back to a period at Ad.com when I was running the behavioral products. At one point, retargeting probably contributed >50% of the margin of the business: Buying a billion or two impressions a day at cut rate prices and showing performance ads on them was essentially a breakeven business that we used to acquire reach. Acquiring reach allowed us to show retargeting ads. Retargeting ads generated profit. We are talking about, probably 1% of the impression volume of the network generating most of the profitability of the network.
Also, it is amazing how exchanges have changed that business. That strategy is not nearly as interesting as reach becomes a commodity.
I would love to hear from our readers: I used to hear how complex decision-making was in “buying the right networks for retargeting”. Advertisers ended up doing a lot of “buying more frequency” when they were trying to buy more reach. As inventory has consolidated to the exchanges and SSPs, it would seem like advertisers could, more than ever, rely on just a few providers to get the retargeting reach they need, yet as Darren Herman reported over the holidays, people still drop dozens of retargeting pixels.
I think part of the driver is that retargeting has gotten more complex as people seek ways to add value to retargeting by optimizing the retargeting in different ways.
Tell me what is up in your world! As a mobile guy (now), I don’t really think about retargeting at all today.