Online retailers are putting more dollars to retargeted ads to remind shoppers of the item they once seemed interested in buying. And there is evidence that consumers do notice these ads. Nearly three out of five US online buyers surveyed in April 2013 by programmatic buying technology company Adroit Digital and research company Toluna said they had noticed ads for products they looked up on other sites.
However, even if consumers notice such ads, this does not directly correlate with purchase intent. Moreover, retargeted ads could just as easily raise eyebrows among consumers who do not appreciate reminders that their digital behavior is being tracked.
It should comfort retargeted ad buyers then to know that the survey found that consumers reacted more positively to these ads than negatively. Thirty percent had a positive or very positive reaction to retargeted ads, vs. 11% who felt negatively about them. The greatest percentage, though—59%—had a neutral reaction. And regardless of their emotional reaction—good or bad—there is no question that some of those web users will ultimately go on to make a purchase once they’ve been reminded of a product.
Adding further fodder to the argument for retargeted ads, shopping around is part of the process for many. While 34% said they only visited one site to research their last purchase, half had gone to two or more sites, which also means they took their time before buying. In those cases, a retargeted ad may have helped keep the product and retailer in mind as consumers surfed the web.
eMarketer estimates that 73% of US internet users ages 14 or older will buy online this year, and as these buyers spend more time shopping on the web, they will encounter more digital messages suggesting where to make their next purchase and what product they should choose.