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Author's avatar By Expert commentator 30 Aug, 2013
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How Programmatic Marketing will transform E-Commerce

E-commerce, which now accounts for 8% of all retail sales in the U.S., is already growing quickly. But that rapid growth is likely just the beginning. The rise of programmatic marketing promises to make selling and buying over the Internet easier and more efficient than ever. Let’s take a quick look at the future of e-commerce.

By now you may have heard about Site Retargeting

What is Site Retargeting?

Site Retargeting, a marketing technique that targets users with display ads after they visit a site with the aim of bringing them back for a conversion. For example, if you look at a couch on the site of a furniture retailer, you might then browse to another site and see a display ad for the couch you just viewed.

Site Retargeting has now evolved into Programmatic Site Retargeting (PSR). Whereas basic Site Retargeting targets primarily by the page a user is viewing, PSR brings Site Retargeting into the age of big data, targeting users according to a wide array of online actions.

Why is this significant? Because advanced programmatic marketing techniques such as PSR will be a game changer for e-commerce. Simply put, PSR allows for a level of precision targeting unheard of until recently.

The secret to PSR is in its ability to distinguish between the different visitors to a site.

After all, not all site visitors are alike. Some people come to a site ready to make a purchase. Others are just browsing, or looking for a job. Still others might arrive by a mistake. This is critical information, because a marketer should not have to waste money serving display ads to users who aren’t likely to make a purchase.

PSR solves this problem by giving each visitor to a site a score. These scores are determined by everything from the amount of time spent on different pages, to the referral site or search term that brought the user to the site, to the time of day of the visit and location of the user, to the items in the user's carts. And those are just a few of the many data points PSR looks at.

There is, of course, one limit to PSR: Like traditional Site Retargeting, PSR is aimed at users who have already visited your site. That means it’s a tool for driving conversions but not for acquiring entirely new customers.

Search Retargeting

Fortunately, the programmatic revolution has given us another tool, Search Retargeting, that can be used to find new customers for e-commerce sites.

With Search Retargeting, a marketer can serve display ads to users based on searches they’ve preformed on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and other sites. So, for example, an e-commerce site that sells high-end watches can serve ads to someone who searches 'Rolex' on Google and then browses to another site.

Search Retargeting, in other words, brings the programmatic power of search engine marketing to display because you’re targeting users based on the intent they’ve revealed in their searches. Better yet, you can usually buy the keywords you want for a Search Retargeting campaign for a fraction of what they’d cost if bought directly on Google.

In short, PSR and Search Retargeting are breakthroughs for e-commerce because they allow the marketer to serve the right ads to the right people at exactly the right moment. The days of buying a bunch of inventory on a site and hoping the right people show up to view your ads will soon be over. And that, of course, means more sales for online retailers.

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By Expert commentator

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Programmatic Advertising

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