Recency: Are You Retargeting At The Wrong Time?

Delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right moment is the gold standard that separates an effective remarketing campaign from an ineffective one. But what is the right time? The answer to that question is the key to uncovering all of the secrets of the universe. Okay, maybe not quite. But to answer it, we need to redefine recency and take a deeper look at the approach we take to timing in the context of today’s marketing challenges. Deciphering the natural behaviors of your customers and prospects will help you gain a better understanding of how you can leverage recency to time your remarketing campaigns in a way that will maximize your ROI. Here are two examples we found in our work with two major retailers.

Recency Improves Purchase Rate

A major office supply retailer was looking to net more B2B revenue by leveraging a direct mail campaign that retargeted existing customers who had visited the website within the last week. This retailer decided to send those visitors a relevant direct mail offer, instead of relying on traditional spray and pray retargeting ads. What they found was surprising. The direct mail campaign improved incremental sales AND the average ticket price for each sale made as a direct result of the mailing was actually higher. The result: Prospects who otherwise would not have bought anything, ended up making a purchase, and those who were going to buy anyway, ended up buying MORE. Not bad.

Recency & Abandoned Carts

Abandoned carts have always been the low-hanging fruit when it comes to remarketing. One popular online meal delivery service decided to study the viability of cart abandons as a productive audience for remarketing – and recency was an important part of it. By sending a direct mail offer to each prospect who abandoned a shopping cart within the last 24 hours, the retailer hoped to give them that one final push. However, they found that retargeting cart abandons within such a short time frame didn’t have much of an impact. Why? Because almost 85% of cart abandons that were going to convert anyway from that site came back and eventually made a purchase within 48 hours on their own, without any offers to give them that extra push. When that same online meal delivery service decided only to retarget the cart abandons that still had not converted after 48 hours, they realized a much greater percentage of returns that came as a direct result of the campaign – not to mention a tremendous cost advantage that can go a long way towards increasing their marketing ROI and, ultimately, bottom line profitability. The result: This finding helped highlight the right time to retarget these specific prospects – proving that timing matters, and testing is the only way to figure out when you can help a prospect cross the finish line.

The Findings: Recency Is Relative

In the end, both retailers were able to find their sweet spot when it came to the timing of their retargeting campaigns. But there’s another common thread here: It’s that recency is relative. In fact, it’s more like a sliding scale – there’s a continuum that will be specific to your visitors based on behavior, affinities and other factors. In today’s ever-changing, hit-a-moving-target world of marketing and retargeting, it’s not just what you’re saying and who you’re saying it too – it’s also when you’re saying it that really impact your bottom line. And without testing, finding that recency sweet spot could be elusive.