August 28, 2010

According to a study by comScore and ValueClick Media, the display ad placement strategy with the most brand lift is retargeting.

While display ads may once have been considered primarily a direct response vehicle, and many marketers still rely on measures of declining clickthrough rates as primary display metrics, studies have shown that banner ads provide an important branding vehicle and should be considered as such. Given the cost, reach and effect of various display campaigns, retargeting provides a large benefit with reasonable costs.

The study found that retargeting campaigns were nearly four times as expensive as simple run-of-network campaigns, but significantly cheaper than campaigns that used contextual or premium targeting. And the reach of retargeted ads was naturally much smaller than run-of-network campaigns, but the same as those that used audience targeting and wider than premium targeting.

In return, retargeted display ads gave a 1,046% lift in searches on brand terms within four weeks after exposure. That was more than twice as high as the second most effective targeting method, audience targeting.

Retargeting also brought the biggest lift in website visitation within four weeks after exposure, at 726%. Again, no other media placement strategy came close to the performance of retargeted campaigns.

The report also found that campaigns with multiple placement strategies outperformed those that chose only one, suggesting marketers should consider retargeted placements in conjunction with other strategies.

“Each of the placement strategies has its own advantages and disadvantages that must be understood in the context of the campaign’s overarching objectives,” said Anne Hunter, comScore vice president of advertising effectiveness, in a statement. “Only when marketers are equipped with the accurate information on performance, can they truly optimize their advertising campaigns.”

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