|Mother’s Day Flowers and Internet Technology of which a Mom would be Proud||| Print ||
By Christopher M. Walker, Senior Project Manager, eVisibility, Inc.
Well friends, another Mother’s Day has just passed and I’m sure I’m not alone as many of you went to the internet to find a last minute gift idea for your mother and/or wife. Even more of you probably went to persue, shop, and buy gorgeous flower bouquets that are available on-line as well. And why wouldn’t you?
According to Marketing Sherpa’s recently released Search Marketing Benchmark Report, of the top 50 internet retailers on-line (measured by search engine marketing campaign spend), six of them are flower companies that accounted for over $131,000,000 in search engine ‘clicks’ alone in 2009. Staggering!
Fortunately, you endured the one-and-a-half-hour-wait-time for Sunday brunch and maybe some embarrassing childhood stories that were told at your expense, but the flowers were a hit. Mom, wife or both are happy as pretty flowers adorn their dining room table.
Now that the dust has settled and you’re back to work, going about your daily business on-line, checking your email, news, stocks, weather or sports have you noticed any banner ads for those flower or retail sites being served to you as you surf around the internet?
Meet Behavioral Retargeting...
The quick way to understand it, you go to a site, but you don’t make a purchase. Then that retailer follows you around with banner impressions, enticing you to return to make your purchase. Or maybe you do make a purchase. They may still follow you around offering you more return discounts, loyalty points, special customer offers, etc. So how do they do it?
By adding a cookie to users’ internet browsers, the retargeting network receives information back from the participating sites that illustrates their users’ behaviors. What pages they look at, what they add to their shopping carts, what they elect to buy and what they decide to leave on the virtual shelf.
The retargeting networks then take that data, apply it to the users’ IP address, and serve their prospects advertisements targeted and tailored specifically for them as they surf around their favorite sites. Orwellian for sure, but fortunately, these internet big brothers just want your business.
Imagine if, as you drove along the freeway, the marketing billboards on the side of the road changed to suit your purchase habits. And only you could see them. The person sitting next to you in traffic would see their own sets of billboards catering to their likes. The virtual world has that figured out and by retailers participating and investing just a few more cents per customer, their overall sales volume has been driven up by up 50% in many case studies recently released by the top retargeting networks.
We all know that small and large businesses spend a hefty portion of their budgets each year to acquire new customers and keep existing customers happy and returning for more. On the internet, the industry standard conversion rate for e-tailers’ website traffic is about 2% which means that companies do not turn 98% of their site traffic into sales. Retargeting levels the competitive playing field for smaller businesses allowing them to virtually hover around their clients’ eyes, and remarket their ‘lost’ traffic. For the large business, the campaigns offer a competitive advantage in mitigating customer attrition.
Over 250,000 top tier sites including MSN, Yahoo, Gmail, YouTube, CNN, NBC, ABC, ESPN, most of the major newspaper sites in the U.S. and many more serve those banners to the public once they’ve been established as prospects. Because the networks are so large, the marketing appears pervasive to the end user.
Truth is, it’s not that they’re actually directly ON all of those sites, but they are targeting YOU. If you noticed in the example sites above, within just a few minutes I got almost the exact same banners on two entirely different top-tier sites. That’s no accident.
Internet technology continues to evolve at an unimaginable pace. From air tight demographic targeting to predictive internet purchasing models to post-visit retention strategies, the greater internet technology’s acumen grows as its results do. And while the community boasts terms like “intuitive” marketing, the Orwellian technology is up for discussion in Congress and may not be around forever. Like the European Union, there may come a time soon where the end user must opt-in to these services which would change the entire game. I’d actually have to click on a button somewhere that says “Yes, you can market to me.” (Sure wish I could do that with all the senseless junk mail I get!)
Even though ProFlowers and many other internet retailers continue to chase me around my favorite sites looking to grab a few bucks out of my wallet, in a strange sense I enjoy knowing that they want my business enough to invest in me. If I was still in the market to buy flowers, I’d probably go buy from them. Retargeting – 1 / Attrition – 0.
But since my Mother’s Day duties are already complete, today those banner ads will just serve (on their dime) as a nice little reminder of a wonderful Sunday brunch and a lifetime of happy Mom memories.