Advertisers are beginning to realize that ads on the Web have their own lifecycle. People who eventually click on an ad don’t always click on it the first time they see it. Just like on TV or in print, they need to be bombarded by the same message before they take an action. The more times people see an ad on the Web, the more likely they are to eventually click on it. As annoying as this may be to most consumers, this is how advertisers view the world.
Google also sees the world through this lens, and today it fully launched what it calls ad “retargeting.” If someone visits a page on an advertiser’s own site or YouTube channel, Google can now show a related follow-up ad to just that person when they visit another site which shows Google ads. Since there are millions of sites in the Google Content Network, chances are Google will see them again. The program has been in beta since March, but it is now being rolled out to all AdWords customers.
The term “remarketing” has multiple definitions, but Google uses it describe a way for AdWords advertisers to run campaigns throughout the Google Content Network, which the company claims reaches about 80% of Internet users around the globe. The idea is that while visitors of a certain advertiser’s website may have shown interest for a product or service, leads don’t always convert to sales and Google aims to make it easier for AdWords clients to try and win over the potential customer at a later stage. Retargeting can be applied to either text or display ads, and during the trial period was used for everything from boosting brand awareness to driving clicks and sales.
For example, a hotel site could retarget offers for Caribbean hotels to people who visited their Caribbean hotels section after they leave their site. Maybe if you are reminded that there is a special deal for a week-long stay in St. Barts when you are on a blog or news site, you will finally click on that ad and book the trip.
That’s the hope behind retargeting. It will work for a small percentage of people who need that extra nudge. For everybody else it will just seem creepy. If this does creep you out, you can go to this page to see what Google thinks your interests are based on a cookie, and you can also opt out entirely if you’re spooked about Google’s latest ‘interest-based advertising’ initiatives.