It seems like retargeting has been a buzzword for a while. Everyone is trying to get it right. Some call it the Holy Grail. Those that execute it right, don’t seem to get too much praise, but those that don’t are often labeled as creepy or invasive.  The creepy ones seem to stand out, be remembered and leave a bad impression.

Still, this is not stopping the retargeting charge because it can be very lucrative and when done right create a wealth of opportunities.

In 2012 Rakuten (parent company of Rakuten LinkShare) LinkShare acquired retargeter MediaForge. The Japan-based ecommerce and affiliate marketing network hopes to convince marketers that they can more effectively attribute online ad impressions to sales by running affiliate and retargeting under one umbrella.

In, December of 2013 Twitter announced its retargeting product. In Twitter’s own words: With tailored audiences you can reach users on Twitter who have shown interest in your brand or your category even away from Twitter.

Google AdWords has had very sophisticated retargeting products for a while. Big brands have also been using Facebook retargeting as well. Now, Facebook retargeting is also more accessible and easy to use from right within the advertising interface.

However, there are some road blocks. Search engines like Google and Microsoft’s Bing announced earlier in 2013 they that it would begin encrypting all search data, which could hurt marketers wholly dependent on keyword data from these major search engine partners. Keyword level performance data was longer available after Q4 2013, making organic search optimization much more difficult to execute.

Currently, one of the main ways that marketers are using retargeting is on their site, retargeting visitors who have already visited the site, made a purchase or expressed interest in the website.  This is good if you want repeat customers, but this is not widening the amount of people to your website.  Website retargeting seems better suited for direct response and conversion campaigns.

However, focusing on those that were searching for your brand or product when not on your site can help grow your audience and customers. It can also be used for building brand awareness and influence.

And now marketers are starting to launch retargeting campaigns across devices, experimenting with cross-channel retargeting including mobile devices such as tablets and cell phones.

But the point I’d like to make is: “Aren’t affiliate sites the ultimate retargeters?”

Think about it. Consumers visit a retail site, view products and offers, then head to the checkout page. There, the consumer is confronted by a “Coupon Code” insert box, and being a good consumer leaves the retail site and LOOKS FOR THE BEST DEAL THEY CAN FIND ONLINE. eAccountable’s research supports this.

And, where do they go? They go to their favorite retail, coupon, offer, deal or loyalty/cashback site. Our TOP AFFILIATES!

After running retargeting campaigns for a lot of our clients I believe that affiliates are THE BEST retargeters based on Average Order Value (AOV) and Conversion Rate (CR) – far more valuable than the retargeting companies. And, the affiliate sales have higher attribution values than any retargeting effort. Try explaining viewthrough revenue or post impression engagement to a customer as I have done.

I believe this is another little understood value of the affiliate channel.

See you at ASW14!