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How the contribution of retargeting has changed in reselling ad inventory

Was just thinking back to a period at 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.

Pretty amazing!

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.

One Response to “How the contribution of retargeting has changed in reselling ad inventory”

  1. Ryan Charleston Says:

    Interesting post! It is amazing how the highest ROI brands get from online display are a result of retargeting and we see it every day here at FetchBack.

    Also, not all retargeting solutions are created equal. As far as “buying more frequency”, we always work on a performance basis so it’s not as cut and dry as frequency- there is, as you mentioned an incredible amount of sophistication that goes into retargeting these days. It’s all about the right place, at the right time, at the right frequency, with quality, unique, and dynamic messaging (not creepy, cheap, high-frequency annoying blasts done on a CPC basis). Retargeting isn’t JUST about clicks, it’s about branding too! Here’s an article about it ( written by our CEO, Chad Little.

    Technology exists today to maximize reach by using multiple DSP’s, exchanges, and networks while still only using 1 pixel and speaking uniquely to each visitor no matter which network/site serves an ad. The trick is being skilled enough to manage the overlap and leverage the strengths of each source and understanding the limitations of the current RTB bidding process (not everyone gets in the room to bid) I’d love to chat more if you have any other thoughts!

    Ryan Charleston
    Social Media Coordinator
    FetchBack, Inc. (an eBay company)