10 Compelling Facts about Targeted Display


By now, you’ve seen them. The ads that are targeting you based on websites you’ve visited, searches you’ve conducted and even content you’ve read online.

As a business owner, you may have wondered if targeted display tactics might help you acquire more customers. These compelling facts will help you decide if targeted display is a tactic that will help you hit your target goals.

#1 — 86% of shoppers engage in ROBO.


ROBO stands for research online, buy offline and it perfectly describes the customers of local brick and mortar businesses. By the time they come through your front door, your clients are more educated than ever.

Targeted display technology identifies those users who are doing online research for a product or services and then shows them relevant ads as they surf the web, thus influencing their offline purchase.

No other digital media has such eloquent timing: User does research online. User sees display ad related to research. User buys product or service from advertiser offline.

#2 — 75% of users say they have noticed being retargeted.

Certainly, we are not remembering all of them. In fact, I would challenge that if you took a minute to think about the ads you remember seeing just this week, you would only remember ads that were targeted specifically to you based on sites you had visited, searches you had done, or content you had read. Anything else you’ve probably forgotten or didn’t notice in the first place.

The ads you remember were relevant to you. This is because a part of your brain called the reticular activating system is being triggered by these targeted ads.

The reticular activating system is the part of your brain that pays attention to the world around you when you’re not. Its job is to alert you to information that is relevant.

Here’s an example of your RAS in action. Have you ever been at a restaurant, waiting for your table, and there are people all around you having conversations? You could hear them if you wanted to be creepy and listen in, but you don’t. You tune out their conversations. It all just becomes this white noise. That is until you hear someone say your name. Then your ears perk up. You’re all like, “Is someone talking to me?” That’s your RAS in action.

Remember when you bought your new car and suddenly realized that everyone seemed to also have that same car? Why didn’t you notice all those Nissan Sentras before? The same reason you didn’t notice the 1700 display ads you were bombarded with as you surfed the web this month – because they weren’t relevant to you.

But when an ad is relevant to you, it gets noticed.

So if you haven’t done display because “No one notices those display ads anyway”, you may want to reconsider. When the ad is relevant, more than three fourths of people will notice it.

#3 — Among various targeted display strategies, site retargeting gets the highest lift in brand search behavior while other tactics also generate significant lift.

In other words, targeted display tactics increase name brand searches and web traffic significantly.

This next part comes directly from the news release on PR Newswire:

The study evaluated the various strategies in terms of the average lift in search activity that they generated for the advertised brand, while also considering their average reach and cost in comparison to the baseline Run-of-Network strategy. Among the six different placement strategies, [site] retargeting generated the highest lift in trademark search behavior at 1,046 percent.


So, big picture, site retargeting generates the most lift at over a thousand percent, but its success is dependent on your business having some site traffic to retarget. Adding search retargeting, keyword contextual targeting and even category contextual or premium networks can extend that reach, and every single tactic increases brand name searches and traffic.

These next few facts come from The Online Publishers Association. They commissioned comScore to “assess 80 of the biggest branding campaigns across 200 of the most trafficked sites over a month’s time, analyzing consumer behaviors of those internet users who were exposed to display advertising.”

Basically, the study looked at how users who had seen the display ad at some point subsequently searched for the business by brand name, visited their site or spent money on the advertiser’s brands.

Here are some key findings taken word-for-word from the OPA’s presentation:

#4 — 1 in 5 users who are exposed to display advertising conduct related searches for the advertised brands.

#5 — 1 in 3 users exposed to display advertising visit the advertised brand’s site.

#6 — Audiences exposed to display advertising are more engaged with advertisers’ sites, staying longer and consuming more pages.


Although the OPA study is a few years old, you’ll find that if you track brand searches, website traffic and time on site using analytics, these still hold true today.

There is one caveat to this fact, though. The traffic that comes from mobile devices doesn’t always fit this mold. [Read Some Thoughts on Bounce Rate]

I’ll give you one last stat from the OPA study, and this is for those e-commerce sites out there.

#7 — audiences exposed to display advertising spent more
on e-commerce.

While specific to e-commerce, this is still very telling for local business. It basically proves that display impacts dollars spent. At the very least, it implies that prospects who see display ads have a higher willingness to part with their money.

Our next fact comes from the National Retail Federation and is also specific to e-commerce. That said, I think you’ll agree that it probably translates to local as well.

#8 — 72% of online shoppers are likely to abandon their shopping carts prior to purchase. only 8% return to complete the transaction. However, With retargeting campaigns 26% complete the check-out process

So what does that imply for your local business? We know that 98% of first time website visitors leave without taking action. If 26% of e-commerce prospects can be influenced to come back and spend money, surely site retargeting is influencing at least that many users to come back to your local site.

You spend all kinds of money and use all kinds of tactics to bring customers to their websites – and MOST of those customers end up leaving the site without contacting the business or making a purchase. What business wouldn’t want to use a tactic that can bring those customers back?

While still one of the newest strategies in digital marketing, targeted display has been around long enough that most people aren’t freaked out when they see an ad for a pair of sneakers they were just looking at following them around the web.

#9 — a survey from Bizrate Insights reveals that an overwhelming majority – 85% – of consumers have a positive or neutral outlook on retargeted display ads.

The study was based on 5,343 surveys from online shoppers after they completed purchases through online retailers affiliated with Bizrate. Among those surveyed, 60% of the respondents say they feel neutral about retargeted ads, and 25% like them.

Among reasons for clicking on retargeted ads, the consumers mainly cited that they liked the product shown or that it served as a convenient way to visit a website of interest.

Advertising that consumers like. Enough said.

Our final stat is, in my opinion, the most powerful. If you’re like most business owners, you don’t want to be left behind.

#10 — nearly three-quarters (71%) of marketers spend 10% to 50% of their digital budgets on retargeting.


You may be hesitant to invest in something new, something you maybe don’t fully understand. You want to put your dollars into an advertising strategy that is going to work. While no one can guarantee that any kind of advertising is going to work, seven out of ten business owners just like you are investing in retargeting. Surely they wouldn’t continue to do so if it wasn’t working.

In fact, 90 percent of them said retargeting performs the same or better than search, email and other display campaigns.”

So is it time for you to give targeted display a chance? Are you ready to take aim with these arrows and target your goals? We hope so.

Thanks for reading.

David McBee