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We’ve all been there. You’re interested in a product. You go to their website, check it out. You like it, but you’re not ready to buy, or you get distracted. A few days later, an email reminds you that “you forgot something,” and a day after that, an ad pops up on your favorite blog for the exact item you were considering.


Sometimes helpful, sometimes annoying, sometimes downright creepy: this is the world of retargeting. Say what you will; for marketers, it works. Website visitors who are retargeted with display ads are 70% more likely to convert, and it increases branded search a whopping 1046%, according to these “incredible” statistics. Done right, retargeting should absolutely be a tool in your digital marketing toolbox.


Done wrong, however, retargeting can waste your money and your customers’ good will. At some point, your prospect will decide whether or not to buy. It might take two touches, it might take five, but it probably won’t take fifty. I have a new-mom friend who leans towards natural baby products. She looked into The Honest Company, decided their products weren’t for her, and that was that. Except it wasn’t, because she was retargeted within an inch of her life. She now despises The Honest Company and spouts vitriol against Jessica Alba. She will categorically never buy from them. Retargeting should not be harassment.


Diapers aside, the law of diminishing returns is in full effect here. Which is why this week’s tip is to measure the saturation point.


Your data can tell you when that law of diminishing returns kicks in. Sure, maybe it takes a few customers ten touches to convert, but if 80% of your prospects buy after three touches, are those extra seven worth it? This is particularly salient if your retargeting tactics depend heavily on display, which many programs do. Display ads are expensive. It’s critical to know when they are a good investment, and when your prospect is already convinced one way or another.


Attribution solutions can answer the “where” as well as the “when” of your saturation point. It may be that display no longer works after a certain point, but email still does; or, both tactics work equally well for the long tail, but email is significantly less expensive.


Pinpointing your saturation points allows you to curb programs at peak efficacy and avoid wasting money on customers who have made up their minds. It also prevents The Honest Company effect described above. When you provide relevant reminders to the right people, at the right time, in the right place, your brand and your bottom line both benefit.

by Tracy Kemmer, Director of Client Services at Conversion Logic