Thursday, 23 December 2010
I've not really had much to do with remarketing. For those not in the know, remarketing (in a nutshell) allows you to show ads to users who've previously visited your website as they browse other websites on the Interweb. Wikipedia has a nice rounded explanation of behavioural retargeting aka behavioural remarketing aka retargeting.
The example I remember seeing was a Firebox ad. I browsed the site and then somehow ended up reading an article on The Times website (back in the day when it was free!). As I read I noticed a great big advert saying that I had viewed ABC product and similar products include DEF and GHI. The banner was run by a remarketing company, the name of which I cannot recall.
Having been on the user side of things, I personally hate the intrusive feel of the ads shown on third party sites as the direct result of visiting a specific retailer. In fact I wrote an article about how to opt out of such ads being displayed - it's relatively simple to do but you need to chase a lot of ads through to find the privacy settings on the networks and then to opt-out.
The vast majority of visitors won't do this, especially the more casual web surfer, so remarketing is big business. So much so that Affiliate Window are now offering all their merchants a value added service called MasterTag. In a nutshell, merchants include a "Master Tag" in their sites that help with tracking, analytics, etc. and within this they can easily swap in and out remarketing code from remarketing companies without requiring any development work. It offers cost and time saving benefits to merchants and will undoubtedly be popular.
But where do affiliates stand in all of this? I interviewed Kevin Edwards, Strategy Director at Affiliate Window, to help answer this question and find out why there's so much buzz in the remarketing sector.
I started by asking whether remarketing agencies are actually affiliates themselves, in a nutshell paying for the marketing of banners and in exchange are rewarded by commissions:
Kevin: Yes, thatís correct, they arbitrate between the cost and are rewarded purely on a CPA. Thatís not to say companies couldnít be rewarded in other ways in the future.
Kevin: The last click rule is still in place Ė banner impressions are recorded but can never overwrite a click.
Kevin: They do drop cookies but our system will look to see if an affiliate click exists. If it does the post impression/view click is ignored. If no click exists it will be stored for the cookie length (usually no more than 48 hours for an impression). If a click is subsequently registered within the cookie period for the impression being served, the click will always overwrite. Always think of an impression as a softer action, the click as a harder action. All IAB member networks have agreed to this procedure and a code of conduct will be launched next year following consultation with the retargeting council at the IAB.
Kevin: Longer term I donít see why not. People are starting to recognise the branding element of affiliate marketing as an important contribution to their marketing. As such thereís no reason why impression cookies or tenancies, placements etc. couldnít be rewarded. One word of caution, paying on PI cookies is open to abuse and I donít see a time when we open them up to everyone. If an affiliate can make a good case for being rewarded on it I can see this being rolled out for select partners.
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I find them intrusive. I was recently looking for Las Vegas hotels and even though one has now been booked I'm still being presented with Las Vegas hotel banners. They're like little stalker's.
Written on Friday 24 December 2010 at 06:59:31 GMT (Permalink)
The issue was tackled at the AMC many months ago and we issued guidelines on the use of PI cookies, which all networks have to abide by (unfortunately, due to some grave misunderstandings from some parties outside the affiliate industry, we had to revisit the wording, but they should be republished shortly). The cookie hierarchy is at the very heart of the guidelines - PI will never overwrite post click. Moreover, there are further guidelines and best practice advice we issued on how to best set up remarketing and retargeting campaigns, so that affiliate sales are not cannibalised and that merchants get incremental sales, whilst protecting the consumer. Have a look at the expo presentation I did on the subject to give you an idea of the advice Webgains gives to our merchants: http://www.slideshare.net/a...
On the subject of affiliates losing out on sales - the actual fact is that affiliates see an improvement in overall conversion rate as the merchant site performs much better. Some sales might get lost, if customers click through from the banner ads, but the overall uplift in conversion greatly balances this out.
As to whether PI cookies can be released to more affiliates - it all comes down to building a business case for them and providing incremental sales and added value to the merchants. The industry is not looking to go back to the days of uncontrolled PI cookies that offer nothing to the merchants and expose them to fraud, so we will continue offering it on a bespoke basis to individual affiliates.
Written on Friday 24 December 2010 at 10:41:18 GMT (Permalink)
Thank you to all previous commenters.
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