Agent Resources

What is re-targeting or audience extension?

Retargeting and audience extension are both methods of making some extra money from your website or social media pages, without annoying your audience by bombarding them with advertising.

You've probably had the experience of browsing Amazon for - let's say - a suitcase. You then look at a weather page - and there's a suitcase ad. What a coincidence!

You've just been re-targeted. You've visited a site that has dropped a cookie on your device. Information on what you were looking at previously has been stored on a central database. The advertiser has picked up the information from the database, including your device ID or IP address and followed you to the site you are on now.

An example might be a lettings agency with several marketing platforms to reach their target audience, including social media, a website and a blog. Let's say the agency has a "focus on flats" section on its website and this is mostly viewed by young urban professionals.

By counting visitors, and collecting data on some of their key attributes, the lettings business is able to provide numbers and market intelligence on the target group that other advertisers would like to reach. They want to track those visitors when they visit other sites and advertise to them on those sites. So the first step in the process might be for the agency to collect data on visitors, and then try to segment them according to which bits of the site they are looking at

If you identify your customers, sites such as LinkedIn, Google and Facebook will send them ads - or they will at the moment, anyway. The future is less certain.

Major data protection implications

There are major changes coming in data protection law and they will affect practices such as re-targeting. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an EU regulation that comes into effect in May 2018 and it will have far-reaching effects on anyone who holds or processes personal data.

In particular, some data that didn't previously come under data protection law, such as IP addresses, will now be included and may not be passed on without specific permission from the data owner. Also, you may not collect an email address for one purpose, such as forwarding details of properties, then use it for another purpose by effectively selling it to a third party.

Campaign, the advertising industry newspaper, has been answering questions about retargeting and whether it uses personal data as defined in the new GDPR. Their answer is that it does, and this has consequences. Cookies and other anonymous online identifiers such as device IDs are inside the scope of the GDPR. Retargeting will therefore come inside the scope of the regulation. This will mean that anyone whose data is being passed on will need to give explicit consent. The fines that can be imposed if a business does not comply are eye-watering.

Is moment marketing the next big thing?

The GDPR restrictions on the use of personal data mean that advertisers and businesses have been looking at other ways to get their message over to people. "Moment marketing" doesn't use personal data, because it doesn't need to know who you are. It just needs to know where you are and what is happening at a particular moment in time - so that offers can be passed to your device when you're in a store, for example. We'll need to see whether this can be applied to agencies, especially those that are online-only and have no physical offices.

Source: Nethouseprices, 10/10/17

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