Retargeting vs. Audience Marketing

Retargeting vs. Audience Marketing

It seems as of late the term”retargeting,” has been a major buzz word in automotive digital marketing. GM’s, E-commerce directors and BDC managers, love the concept of only sending an advertisement to customers who have already engaged with the dealership on some level, whether they visited their website, or opened an email they received earlier. While the concept may seem sexy, audience marketing is more valuable in my opinion.

For example, at my company, CityTwist, we buy a list of automotive shoppers, within a dealerships PMA from R.L. Polk. We then target that list with 3 digital media, emails, banner/display ads, and Facebook ads. When we explain to a new customer how this program is going to work, they immediately ask are the Facebook and banner/display ads “retargeting ads.” The answer is no. They are audience marketing, meaning everyone gets them, even if they never opened your email, they will still be served the Facebook ads and banner/display ads. They are independent of each other. For those who do not know, you can upload ANY list to Facebook. You can call a company, buy a list of Honda owners, or in-market consumers, or you can take your DMS/CRM list, upload to Facebook and serve them ads. You can also use Facebook’s automotive data, which is powered by Polk. You can use this same process with several company’s for banner/display campaigns. The next questions usually goes like this, well don’t you think it would be more valuable to only send the digital ads to the customers who opened the email or clicked to my website? To that question I say absolutely not.

Remember, just because someone did not respond to another media you sent to the customer, does not mean they are not interested in your dealership. They may not check their email a lot, or maybe they find email intrusive. Maybe they spend 2 hours a day on Facebook, compared to 15 minutes a day in their inbox. Maybe they saw the email, but the timing was off. You never know, which is why I am a firm believer, while retargeting has value, especially when you retarget consumers who have visited your website, or retarget consumers on websites like, that audience marketing is way more valuable. You do not want to eliminate an audience because of a lack of a response to an advertisement you previously sent them.

The bottom line is, if you are a dealership or ad agency, and you have a list of consumers you want to market to, make sure to target these consumers with several different media and do not eliminate potential prospects because they did not respond to one media. If your list is 5,000 people who own a Honda, and 100 opened your email, you should not immediately jump to the conclusion the other 4,900 consumers have no interest in your dealership. I would recommend you continue to market to ALL of them, VIA several differential digital media, and use analytics to see the response rates for each individual media.


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