When Retargeting Hurts You

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 12.52.25 AMIf I had one of those Game of Thrones memes right now, I’d change it to say something like “Behold, the Mattress Wars are coming.”

So let’s talk a little about Casper mattress.

New companies are figuring out they can get in on the mattress game – which let’s face it, is a luxury item – and can buck selling in stores and exposing customers to the dreaded mattress-salesman middleman. The business model is pretty amazing – have a great product, set up exclusive “launch parties” with invites set up via social media and prizes, making the whole affair seem exclusive. Even people who don’t come get the name Casper in their minds, which is a pretty brilliant way to start putting your brand out there.

Once you’ve done that, start a robust series of Facebook and retargeting ads, hitting all the major websites, and encourage conversation on those social ads so you can drive down your costs and drive up your visitors. Very smart.

Competitors were bound to get in on this game. They see Casper driving revenue with a purely social model. What they don’t see is Casper’s badass, incredibly user friendly and minimal website. Whether these competitors just don’t have a website or are inclined to go the all-out social route like Casper did, some of them are sending users to articles and posts outside of their web spaces to market.

So this particular company sent Facebook ads to an article on GQ that was sluggish and difficult to load (meaning, got a high bounce rate). Because GQ wants the ad revenue, they’re showing ads that – because this is an article about mattresses – happens to prominently showcase a clean, well-designed Casper ad right on the page.

The moral of the story is this: If you want to beat a company (or match it) at its own social game, make sure you don’t accidentally end up promoting that company.

Retargeting can be your enemy if you don’t own the web properties you’re marketing with.

Amber Turrill

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