Retargeting to Win

Much has been made of Facebook’s new advertising exchange system, FBX, since its launch this past June. FBX represents an overhaul of what many say was a dated advertising model. Facebook’s target advertising previously relied on information that the user would provide voluntarily. Age, gender, interests, and even a user’s ‘likes’ helped paint a digital picture that target advertisers salivated over at the dawn of the social media era, earning Facebook a cool $5 billion a year in revenue. But FBX has shown that $5 billion isn’t cool anymore. You know what is? $15 billion.[1]

$15 billion is the figure one advertising executive suggests Facebook could be making if they sold all ads through the exchange, effectively retargeting in all ad space.[2] An analysis of FBX reveals that the same retargeting principles can be applied across a variety of platforms, namely Twitter.

FBX Analysis:

Facebook exchange represents the social media behemoth’s migration from less-sophisticated user data targeting to specific and lucrative behavioral targeting. FBX is a cookie-based real-time bidding service, meaning Facebook uses data derived from actual usage to entice a dozen or so demand side platforms (DSPs) to bid on impressions. The winning DSP then bills the third party website it represents, and that third party gets a pair of attentive eyeballs to reconsider their product. Retargeted advertising has proven to be wildly successful thus far for Facebook. Data released September 13th from the Facebook demand side platforms AdRoll, Triggit, and TellApart show that FBX ads earn businesses up to 16 times what they spend.

That experience where the video game you were looking at last week is now seducing you through your favorite blog has arrived on Facebook. With Facebook’s success in retargeting, the question arises how these same principles can be applied to different platforms. Though there is no official solution for retargeting people through Twitter, with a little knuckle grease (the digital equivalent of elbow grease) you can do it. I’d like to suggest 5 steps to organically retarget consumers on Twitter without using cookies or demand side platforms.

Retargeting through Twitter:

Step 1: Build a robust Twitter following around your brand. You provide great products or services, now it’s time to tell people about it. Add content (Tweets) that followers find helpful, funny, or relevant. Tweet prolifically and engage your customers in dialogue by responding to Tweets directed at the brand. Retweet some of the good things people say about you and respond to negative feedback promptly.

Step 2: Start marketing a product or service through the Twitter account. Add pictures, videos, and product information. Retweet engagement around the product where beneficial.

Step 3: Gather information. Mass Relevance Product Studio can tell you what people are saying about your product and who is saying it. Use Product Studio to see who is talking about your industry or who is talking about your specific product category. Compile a database of Twitter users who have shown interest in your product or product category. These are your targets.

Step 4: Retarget. Using the database you compiled of consumer targets, search for common people or news sources that the targets follow—these are your influencers. The more defined the product and the more niche the product category, the higher the potential for successfully driving traffic to your website to close the sale.

Step 5: Solicit the help of your product influencers. Suggest ways for your influencers to promote your product or service. In the example above, both S.A.A.D. and Jonathan Ernst have shown their interest in Pepsi by Tweeting about it. Cross-referencing their accounts reveals they both follow Stephen Colbert. Colbert would be a good influencer for Pepsi Next to reach out to for retargeting (this obviously needs to be done on a much larger scale, with many different accounts, for best results). It is in both your influencer and your best interests that the promotion doesn’t come across as sales-y. Your influencer doesn’t want to be viewed as a spammer, and you want your product to be highlighted in a natural, (digital) word-of-mouth, context. Compensate the influencer by number of clicks (if a link is provided) or impressions.

Using these steps, the performance benefits of FBX can be adapted for Twitter. Engage your following and realize the return on your investment. My last advice: if your company has a ‘the’ in front of it, drop the ‘the’. It’s cleaner.

How are you using retargeting inside your business?

[1]Please excuse all “The Social Network References”

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