Maybe it’s just the afterburn of our 2013 media planning, but it seems like we’ve been hearing a lot about retargeting lately here at McBru. Clients asking our thoughts; pubs trying to sell us on the idea. Being asked these questions helps us define our own thoughts and best practices around this activity. In short, retargeting is essentially a way for a banner ad to follow a person around the web, based on previously visited sites and searches. Say you search for “flight to Maui” (who in the Portland area isn’t thinking about that this time of year?) and start looking around various sites for the best deals. Ever notice the next day you open any other page with ads and Bam! Orbitz ads. Somewhere, there are algorithms tracking your past searches and following you from site to site, placing ads that they feel match your interests.
So how do we feel about retargeting in the B2B space? In general, we’re not huge fans. Nothing is wrong with retargeting, it’s just not for us. And here’s why. Many of our ads are frequently aimed at the design engineer, the person looking for assets relevant to their business. We offer useful, work-related and interesting materials for this audience. At the heart of it, our ads aim to offer something to help in their daily jobs. What I’m getting at here has to do with the mindset of the audience at the time they see an ad. If I’m on a trade publication web site, I’m likely looking for tools that are work related. Say I’m searching for a specific type of semiconductor, then an ad offering semiconductor resources and design notes bears relevance. Now, imagine I’m back home looking on, say, Zappos, and the semiconductor ad with design notes has followed me. This time, I’m not in my work mindset, therefore the ad is no longer relevant to me. For this reason, we don’t generally recommend retargeting to our B2B clients; it’s not as likely they will be relevant to that audience at the time they are viewed. That, and we take pride in our ability to target ads, so why let some algorithms tell us what to do?