Retargeting – also known as remarketing – is a marketing technique used by 100% of marketers, according to AdRoll’s last State of Performance Marketing report. Yet innovation in the field has been slow, and frustrations with sloppy retargeting methods are prevalent among both marketers and prospective customers. Retargeting is a way of showing adverts to users who have already had some contact with a brand, usually by visiting the website. It’s designed for users who don’t convert straight away and provides a method of advertising to them in the hope they will come back and buy.
It’s an effective marketing tool. Many sources estimate retargeted adverts are at least 75% more likely to be clicked than traditional banner adverts. Retargeting also has a notable knock-on effect in other areas, with comScore stating retargeting leads to a 1,046% increase in brand search.
In the world of travel – particularly online travel agencies (OTAs) – retargeting is becoming more important than ever before to convert and engage customers. ‘The future of travel’ report by Google even found that consumers are on board with the principles of retargeting if it’s tailored. Despite growing confidence in the abilities of retargeting, the implementation of retargeting in reality is still woefully lacking. The complexity of the travel planning process means OTAs in particular have their work cut out for them. In an article on The Drum, the journey of one website user planning a holiday is described. Notably, the user had more than 850 digital travel touchpoints for their trip planning over three months. This involved looking at maps, events, activities and restaurants in the destination, as well as airfares, accommodation and car rental. Just 10% of the travel planning process involved looking at OTAs. Fewer than 1% of users convert on their first visit to an OTA. The major flaw of most retargeting strategies is that they assume the 99% of website traffic that has not yet converted should be targeted. Anyone who regularly uses the internet knows this is not appropriate. Often, we’re just browsing. Other times, a product or brand simply wasn’t the right fit for us. Spending budgets on targeting these types of customers is hugely wasteful, and can also have a detrimental effect on a brand’s reputation. Return on investment suffers when we don’t retarget to the right customers. Yet effectively finding the right customers to retarget to has previously been done by using basic website usage rules that don’t effectively analyse website user characteristics. We’ve been working on doing just this at bd4travel with a number of OTAs. We use AI-driven user profiling on live website users – which conforms to the recent GDPR changes – to add personalisation and an altogether more intelligent approach to retargeting. The premise of retargeting in an intelligent way is to focus advertising spend on users who are already familiar and positive about a brand, having recently demonstrated a specific interest. Traditional retargeting alone cannot adequately identify such users. We use insights derived from predictive user profiles to create a much more intelligent approach to retargeting.
The results are compelling. Through our technique, we identified a group of users for a major OTA who were deemed as being most likely to convert, who we called our ‘conversion propensity high’ group. This group went on to experience a conversion rate that was two and a half times higher than experienced by the OTA on average. Furthermore, the conversion rate was more than four times higher than the conversion rate for non-audience traffic (users who were not on any retargeting lists). We also targeted high value users whose average booking value was significantly higher than other segments, creating a return on advertising spend that was 26% higher than average for the OTA. Making a little more effort to retarget in an intelligent way is a win-win situation for both OTAs and customers. Find out more about our AI-driven approach to intelligent retargeting.
To read the full whitpaper on Intelligent Retargeting in Travel click here.

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