Content Retargeting: The Next Big Thing For Brand Publishers

  • Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

    Today’s column is written by Dax Hamman, chief product officer of Chango.

    If you’re a digital marketer, you likely understand the basics of retargeting, at the very least. If you don’t, tell no one. Retargeting, which allows brands to serve ads based on a user’s online behavior, on any device or format, is big business.

    As with every widely used practice, there’s always a next best thing. In the case of retargeting, that’s content retargeting. As the name implies, content retargeting allows marketers to target users based on online content consumption. This is critical because the content someone chooses to engage with online is a strong signal of his or her interests.

    Marketers spend a lot of money on recommended stories, yet to date there’s been no great solution to retarget that highly engaged audience following a click on a recommended piece. Nobody’s quite doing it yet, but content retargeting could be a golden opportunity to solve some of these problems by re-engaging consumers who’ve interacted with a brand’s content, third-party reviews or media coverage.

    They’ve Engaged With Branded Content. Now What?

    Content retargeting after a consumer has engaged with branded content extends the classic site retargeting beyond product pages. Brands can simply drop a cookie as their content loads and retarget users with display or video ads via the exchanges.

    Ultimately, it will be possible to retarget users with recommended links on publisher sites. For example, a consumer who is looking for information on picking the best mortgage visits They could be retargeted with a recommended link, “5 things to watch out for when deciding on a mortgage,” by Citibank on

    Brands spend huge portions of their budgets on content marketing, but all too often they have no way of re-engaging consumers who interact with it. With content retargeting, brands have a powerful new way to increase the ROI of their content marketing.

    Retargeting Those Who’ve Engaged With Third-Party Reviews, Media Coverage 

    This approach makes it possible to retarget consumers after they have browsed a third-party website. A publisher or recommendation provider can drop a cookie on a user’s browser and then retarget the user with display or video ads across the exchanges.

    For example, the same consumer who read “5 things to watch out for when deciding on a mortgage” on would subsequently be shown a pre-roll video on YouTube from Citibank.

    This is interesting when you think about brand perception derived from objective, trusted sources like media coverage and third-party reviews. I know Outbrain, for one, considers this a particularly interesting opportunity. These pieces of content, over which the brand has no involvement or influence, are highly effective at impacting perception high up in the funnel. After building awareness and consideration using third-party reviews and media coverage, marketers can then retarget these audiences to drive them to bottom-funnel actions.

    Of course, content retargeting has its limitations. Reading a branded article or visiting a review site isn’t always as clear of a demonstration of intent as an online search or visit to a product page. Sometimes people like to read about products and services they have no interest in ever buying. Still, the willingness to engage with content can certainly be a very valuable signal. That’s why I expect to see content retargeting to be the next big thing for brand publishers.

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    Opinion > Data-Driven Thinking