Adam Berke will be speaking about “Display and Remarketing” at SearchFest 2012, which will be held February 24, 2012 at The Governor Hotel in Portland, Oregon. For more information or to purchase tickets, please click here.

1) Please give us your background and tell us what you do for a living?

I’m the President and part of the founding team at AdRoll.  AdRoll is the largest and most widely used retargeting platform with over 3000 active customers. At AdRoll, we view the term “retargeting” as limiting. We think of our mission as helping brands develop effective marketing campaigns by leveraging their first party data. Basically, targeting ads to people based on what they do on your site.  This could include decreasing abandonment, increasing conversions, making product recommendations, and even CRM.

My background is in statistics and direct response marketing. Earlier in my career, I was a Six Sigma Black Belt (yes, that really exists—thanks 30 Rock) at Philips Electronics. In 2003, I helped launch Aptimus, one of the first CPL ad networks that was later acquired by Apollo Group in 2007. I’m also an avid surfer, kiteboarder, and snowboarder.

2) What can a third party provider offer in retargeting not offered in the AdWords platform?

I’d break down the advantages of a third party provider over AdWords into two categories. Things you can only get with a specialized platform and things that would be very difficult to do otherwise.

Things you can only do with a specialized retargeting platform:

  • Additional reach.
  • Google AdWords only gives you access to Google display inventory. It’s simple math—more reach means better performance.  Instead of having to take the good and the bad inventory from Google, a third party platform can cherry-pick the best impressions from dozens of inventory sources: Yahoo, MSN, Aol, Google, and many others.

  • Personalized dynamic creative.
  • Advertisers tend to forget how important the actual ad you show is. The best retargeting platforms have dynamic ad technologies that allow brands to display customized products and offers based on what a specific user did on a brand’s site. We’ve seen 30-50% improvements on average when advertisers have implemented LiquidAds, our dynamic ad product.

  • Test for lift.
  • The dirty secret of retargeting is that it can take credit for conversions that would’ve happened anyway. A third party platform can set up an A/B test where you measure the incremental lift of a group that you retarget versus a group you don’t. Focusing on incremental lift often changes campaign tactics drastically.


    Things that are very hard to do in Google AdWords, but easy with a third party.

  • Segment your site.
  • Segmenting your site based on what products people look at and what high value pages they visit (ie shopping cart, pricing, etc) is one of the most powerful levers in optimizing a retargeting campaign.  Doing this with AdWords requires placing different pixels on different pages.  That’s a lot of work, and you need to know all of your segments up front.

  • Time cohorts.
  • When is the right time to start retargeting people? Hint: it’s not always immediately. When should you stop? If someone converts, how long should you wait to cross-sell a complementary product? Setting up and utilizing these time-based strategies are very difficult in AdWords for anyone but an expert in the platform.

    3) Can you talk about the necessity for audience segmentation in a retargeting effort?

    This comes back to our core mission of helping brands leverage their first party data. To maximize a retargeting effort, you need to understand what the person did on your site, how long ago they last visited your site, what products they looked at, etc. You can then use that information to decide who to target, who not to target, and what to show a potential customer to ensure the best possible results.

    If you’re not segmenting, you’re not marketing.

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