5 Things That Will Change Retargeting in 2014

Predictions have a way of imploding every now and then. If you haven’t heard of Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM predicting “there is a world market for maybe five computers” or Robert Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet predicting the Internet will “catastrophically collapse” in 1996, then do visit this page and read many more such tech predictions that “catastrophically collapsed”.

And yet when it’s December you know someone will definitely be writing tech predictions for the year that’s coming up. And in the rapidly maturing industry of retargeting, let me be the first one to take that plunge into the unknown.

1. Mobile retargeting

Across the world, mobile devices now account for a large portion of traffic to e-commerce sites. IBM’s recent report suggests that mobile devices accounted for 42.6 percent of traffic and 25.8 percent of sales during the recent Black Friday in the U.S. As per another research, mobile devices now account for more than 22 percent of all traffic to e-commerce sites. With greater smartphone and tablet penetration, these numbers will grow further in 2014 and mobile advertising technology will move swiftly to capture this market. In 2013 most advertisers worked towards getting app downloads and conversions but very few have focused till now on re-engaging with the users that have already visited the mobile website or have downloaded and used the mobile app. Some of the key challenges for retargeting vendors will include integrating users and impressions across mobile web and apps, ensuring a unified messaging across these assets and also seeking alternate tracking mechanisms to the ethereal cookie.

And that brings me to my second Nostradamian moment:

2. Alternate tracking methods (not based on browser cookies)

As mentioned in my slideshare 10 Cool Things Marketers Can Do With Data, identifying users across devices will be an important marketing tool in the next few years. Especially from the retargeting perspective, alternative solutions to cookie based tracking will start taking formal shape in the marketplace. This might include technologies such as fingerprinting, probabilistic matching of desktop and mobile device cookies, and device IDs. Based on such methods, advertisers will do a better job of determining product interest, the sequencing of messages in banners across devices, and also the ability to track and respond (impression capping) to a conversion when it has happened, irrespective of the device on which it happens.

3. Facebook exchange

Facebook has added significantly to impression volumes for advertisers since the launch of its retargeting capabilities. With the millennial generation spending a significant portion of their time on social networks and especially on Facebook, the ability to serve dynamic ads based on known user preferences on high visibility space like the Newsfeed will become a key contributor to conversions. I hope you all saw recent reports that newsfeed retargeting ads have a CTR 49 times that of ads on the right hand pane.

4. E-commerce growth in emerging geos

Some of the countries that will drive maximum growth in global e-commerce include China (65 percent in 2013 and 51 percent in 2014), Mexico (47 percent in 2013 and 30 percent in 2014), and Indonesia (71 percent in 2013 and 45 percent in 2014). In terms of absolute sales, China ($275 billion by 2014) and Japan ($127 billion by 2014) will become behemoth markets at par with mature markets like U.S. and Europe. Advertisers in these markets will turn into mature users of retargeting, possibly even leading in innovation in this field. (All statistics presented were based on an emarketer report).

5. Industries

With the success of conversion-led retargeting campaigns in B2C online businesses such as e-commerce, travel, hotels, OTAs, deals, and classifieds, more advertisers in other industries like banking, insurance, automobiles, and even B2B businesses will plan to include retargeting in their digital marketing mix. While these campaigns might retain a lead generation or sign-up focus, advertisers (especially in the non-traditional retargeting industries) will begin to look at retargeting as a method to drive better product communication and deeper awareness.

So there you go! I’ve restricted myself to 5 main predictions. What I’d love for you to do is to add some of yours. Or better still, dispute some of mine. Best wishes on the holiday season and may everyone have a great new year!

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