Ad Retargeting Most Under-Used Tech; Shows Room for Growth

December 7, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Paid Search | Personalization | Retail & E-Commerce | Search Engine Optimization

Nearly half (46.3%) of specialized marketers in a recent survey think that ad remarketing – also known as ad retargeting – is currently the the most under-used online marketing technology, according to research conducted by and the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO).

Other technologies marketers say are not used to their full potential include geotargeting (18%), traffic source optimization (16%), keyword targeting (13.4%) and category targeting (2.4%).


Most Haven’t Used Retargeting

When asked whether they have used display remarketing/retargeting in their online advertising either now in the past, nearly 70% say they have not, while less than one-third (31%) say they have.


For those who have,? a majority – 53.1% – further responded that display remarketing made their advertising more impactful, the study found.

Remarketing/retargeting technology is akin to following up with “unsold leads” in the brick-and-mortar world. If consumers visit a website but don’t buy, retargeting technology enables retailers to serve them future ads on other sites to try to entice them to return and to remind them what they have left behind.

Other study findings:

  • On the topic of local search, 82% of respondents say that they implement local search advertising campaigns online.
  • The forms of online advertising which provide the best ROI include search (71%), cost-per-action (15%), email (6%), social media (4%) and other (2%).
  • The top ways survey participants use cost-per-action (CPA) in their online advertising strategy including to drive sales leads (52%), to drive traffic to a site (13%), to drive brand awareness (6%) and other reasons (1%).
  • Nearly 27% do not use CPA in their online advertising strategy.

“As online advertising continues to grow, newer technologies are recognized and evaluated against the more traditional approaches,” said Daniel Yomtobian, founder and CEO of “We’re interested in taking a closer look at why remarketing is underutilized. We know that retargeting can boost ad response up to 400% so it’s definitely something online advertisers need to stay informed about and use more strategically.”

Earlier Research

Earlier this year, research by retargeting provider FetchBack found that nearly half of users return to a retail site immediately after being served a retargeting ad – generally within the hour (via MarketingVOX).

After examining 10 industry categories including online electronics, retail, apparel, cosmetics, home and health for that study, FetchBack revealed that an average of 42.9% of users come back to a retail site that generated a FetchBack-served retargeting ad within the hour.

In terms of other under-used technologies, a recent forecast from BIA/Kelsey recently predicted that the geotargeted display ad market in the US is expected to grow from $897 million in 2008 to $1.9 billion in 2013, representing a compound annual growth rate of 16%.

About the SEMPO/ survey: The survey of specialized marketers was conducted in August 2009.

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