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Behavioral research-informed retargeting gains popularity

SEPTEMBER 14, 2011 – Retargeting technology once drew the ire of consumers and had some marketers thinking it was a waste of time, according to Marketing Vox. However, that is starting to change, with more companies realizing that market research and the resulting retargeting can deliver “compelling ROI.”

The tactic can increase trademark search behavior, and gender-specific targeted ads can also boost revenues at a higher rate than gender-neutral materials, the source says. To support the marketing strategy, new technologies are emerging that can help market researchers and advertisers parse the analytical data that they gather and apply that to retargeting and “page-level semantic analysis.” Another solution that combines retargeting and analytics tracks consumer behavior influencers other than clicks.

The website points to a study by Specific Media, which sought to gauge consumer sentiment toward retargeting – the practice of basing content-delivery decisions on what websites a person has visited in the past.

The study indicates many consumers do not understand cookies – or their time-saving benefits – and have a negative attitude toward them.

“Privacy is a complex, sensitive and sometimes contradictory area, and one that cannot be easily understood through just black and white, quantitative research,” stated Specific Media’s European research manager, Chris Worrell. He added that this was why the company wanted to conduct its market research and gain more insight into how consumers perceive the advertising tactic.

An additional finding from the study was that many consumers do not seem to know about the technologies that enable targeted advertising. Indeed, the majority think when they see ads that suit their interests, it is simply a coincidence.

“Understanding consumers’ online media consumption is at the heart of what we do and our commitment goes way beyond simply knowing what advertisements to show people where and when,” stated Ian Dowds, the senior vice president of Specific Media.

According to the study, retargeting has seen rapid growth recently, and is becoming a more prominent method of behavior-based online advertising. The researchers advise that while consumers have not entirely condemned retargeting, advertisers certainly need to note how it affects consumers and the possible negative implications for brands.

“The need for intelligent application and best practice around frequency are certainly areas to consider – there is a fine line between irritation and success,” the study says.