What Moroccan markets can teach us about remarketing.
We’ve all experienced ads that follow us around as you browse the web. Retargeting ads - as the phenomena has come to be called - works by keeping track of sites people visit and display retargeting ads as they visit other sites. What can seem like a new sales-technique online however is older than written language and as long as there has markets - which is pretty much forever.
Moroccan banner blindness.
Anyone who’s ever visited a Moroccan market have experienced the sales techniques that accompany these ancient places of trade. Much like the online banner advertisements that merchants repetitively yell various incentives to buy, be it to bring awareness of unique products or give consideration and conversion incentives for commodities such as tomatoes or olives. In this way the Moroccan market emulates our noisy online environment where merchants struggle to make their voice heard, but also where consumers block out messages, much like we tend to do online.
How Moroccan merchants retarget.
Not only does the Moroccan salesmen compete to drive traffic to their stands, they also improve conversions by mastering the ancient art of remarketing, or pursuing people who abandon their shops/stalls. The closer to a sale a merchant was, the more persistently he seems to pursue his customer until he/she politely dismisses or finally agrees to buy. While the Moroccan merchant mainly haggles about price while remarketing, he may - contrary to current online practices - also emphasize emotional aspects such as beauty, uniqueness and quality when price fails. In today’s e-commerce however, retargeting ads exclusively focus on providing a visual reminder of the product and its price. Now, we can ask ourselves if this is really the most sophisticated remarketing technique we can come up with in the world of big data? Remember, traditional ad spots on TV are mainly driven by emotion, and loosely based on data and do a great job at activating audiences, while e-commerce on the other hand is largely data-driven, and rarely influenced by storytelling and emotions.
Don’t just echo previously browsed content.
Can a more emotional approach have a place when retargeting customers in e-commerce to re-kindle faded impulses and passions activated by TV and traditional ads? While brands like Zappos are great at bombarding us with retargeting ads based on prior viewed content, basically echoing what we’ve browsed - how exciting.
Instead, consider the shopper who adds a pair of Nike’s to a shopping cart and abandons the process. Wouldn’t this be the perfect opportunity to show an emotionally charged video showcasing the benefits of Nike running shoes with Nike+? Maybe the optimal retargeting ad therefore is when users are targeted based on both intent, timing, and big-data analysis with creative and emotional content.
Maybe there is something to it.
Now, we can ask ourselves what’s more effective? Naturally this will depend on if we’re dealing with speciality products (Chanel silk scarves) or commodities (Toilet paper), as emotion plays a very different role in these cases. However, as more and more commodities turn into brands or speciality products such as Evian Water, Nespresso Coffee or evenBeats Headphones or Apple Telephones for that matter, a gentle reminder not of only price but of actual unique, emotional propositions for choosing a product has an effect when re-targeting ads online. If the Moroccan merchants have done it for two thousand years, maybe there’s something to it.
Nicolas Makelberge [Strategic Planner]