If you think the way that retargeting ads follow consumers around the internet is a little creepy, just wait. Retargeting is only getting warmed up.
We’re all used to seeing ads for products that we’ve browsed online suddenly pop up ad infinitim on every other site we visit. Retargeting ads are 76% more likely to be clicked than regular display ads. But advertisers are increasingly able to use behavior in one channel to drive a marketing message in another.
No longer limited to siloes, retargeting increasingly spans desktop, mobile, and apps. There is even some retargeting experimentation integrating mobile with offline out-of-home billboards.
Anheuser-Busch InBev started using geofencing techniques to serve certain mobile ads to consumers who recently drove by one of their billboards.
General Motors ran a Chevy Malibu billboard ad on a highway west of Chicago that triggered based on the specific cars driving by. Cameras flagged which car was approaching and then customized a marketing message comparing that car with Chevy Malibu. For example: “The Malibu has more available safety features than your Hyundai Sonata.”
While GM stresses that these billboards are not collecting data, the momentum is there generally for marketers to integrate all of their offline and online data to create smarter advertising.
As exciting as the technology can seem, marketers need to be aware there’s a cool-to-creepy spectrum in retargeting. On the cool end, it can lead to ads that are more relevant and contextually aware. On the creepy end, it can come across as intrusive.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on where advertisers should find the right place on that spectrum.
Here’s a related cartoon from 2013 on the dystopian potential of retargeting.