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The Not So Straight Path to Purchase and the Role of Remarketing

The Not So Straight Path to Purchase and the Role of Remarketing


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In this guest post, Anthony Capano, MD of Rakuten Marketing Asia-Pacific looks at the role remarketing plays in the path to purchase.
As marketers our primary role is to compose and distribute our brand’s message. We’re constantly pondering what message about our brand is being portrayed, who it is being delivered to, and how is it being received. Consumers continue to blur the line between online and offline channels, disrupting what has traditionally been perceived as a linear path to purchase.
What does this disruption mean for marketers? It means that there has never been a more important time to ensure that a brand’s message is being received. The right message, at the right time and place. Now this may spark debate about an entirely different set of challenges presented to marketers, however there is a solution to the problem.

Reaching Across Displays

Cross-device display solutions, coupled with affiliate marketing and then measured thoughtfully using attribution modelling, all provide solutions to the problems presented. Cross-device display solutions provide a platform for marketers to reach consumers across desktop, mobile and social. While the use of affiliate publishers (otherwise known as affiliates) can greatly assist in communicating a particular brand message and reaching new consumers.
Attribution ties it all together by providing data insights to marketers as to how channels are performing and allowing for budgets to be adjusted and campaigns to be optimised accordingly.
There you have a short and sharp answer as to how to solve what some consider being a marketer’s biggest problem.
Not so fast! We can take this a step further and delve a little deeper into exploring the tried and tested method of remarketing, or retargeting as some may call it (hint: they’re the same thing).
By doing so we can also explore the key differences between on-site remarketing vs. off-site.

Before They Leave

In short, on-site remarketing (what our good friends at SaleCycle do) is when a consumer is targeted with a particular message or offer prior to leaving a brand’s website or “abandoning” their cart. This could be in the form of an overlay message or improving the customer experience.
In the example above, customers about to abandon a travel booking are shown a message prompting them to complete the booking, or to have the booking details emailed to them for later use.
The ultimate aim is to prevent the consumer from leaving site before converting. And if the consumer does go on to abandon site?
That’s where off-site display remarketing comes into play. Display remarketing works by identifying audiences who’ve visited a brand sites and deliver dynamic ads to individuals, personalised with specific products they’ve viewed.
There are three key elements of retargeting that marketers need to consider:

1 Cross-device

I know we’ve previously mentioned this one, however, I do feel the need to reiterate the importance of cross-device. In an age where consumers are living across multiple screens, it’s dangerous for marketers to only attribute credit to the device that the purchase occurred on. Doing so doesn’t allow for the value all channels have played in the path to purchase to be recognised, and can lead to mismanaged budget allocation. The implementation of cross-device targeting and measurement not only ensures the brands message is being received, but that all touchpoints are receiving accurate credit.

2 Dynamic Creative and Personalisation

Dynamic creative coupled with personalisation can be a powerful combination in a display remarketing campaign. Through abandoning the use of template driven ads and instead utilising beautiful artwork that complements the advertiser’s own creative, consumers are presented with a consistent and well-rounded brand experience.
The overlaying of data collected when someone visits a brand’s site allows for ads to then be personalised, showing the consumers products they have previously looked at and categories they have shown interest in. Increasing the likelihood of the consumer returning to site and a conversion taking place.

3 Measuring Performance

When measuring the performance of a retargeting campaign, click-through (CTR) and impression tracking are popular measurement options, although their actual impact can be somewhat difficult to analyse.
However, there is another method for evaluating the success of such campaigns and that’s through the engagement model. The act of measuring engagement evaluates whether an interaction with a brand’s ad has taken place vs. the act of actually clicking on the ad.
Through using robust measurement strategies and with the implementing attribution measurement, marketers are able to accurately assess the impact of their retargeting campaigns, taking into consideration, CTR, impression tracking and engagement, within the path to purchase.

Of all the display campaigns that a marketer can run, it’s remarketing (retargeting) that generates the highest returns, allowing brands to engage consumers towards the end of the purchase journey when they are ready to make a decision.
Coupled with data fueled creative, personalisation and the ability to reach consumer across screens, marketers can ensure that their message is being received regardless of how linear the path to purchase was.


Anthony Capano MD of Asia-Pacific – Rakuten Marketing

Anthony Capano is the Managing Director of Rakuten Marketing Asia-Pacific. A global leader in omnichannel marketing, Rakuten Marketing offers an integrated strategy that combines consumer centric insights with e-commerce expertise.


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