ShopStyle Uses Consumer Scoring To Boost Retargeting Performance

ShopStyle-RetargetingShopStyle offers shoppers a way to search for clothes across 1,400 different retailers. After matching the shopper with that little black dress or other item she’s been looking for, the company takes a cut.

But ShopStyle, part of the PopSugar family, faced a problem.

To ensure the site’s shoppers end up buying that black dress, the company retargets its users, similar to other retailers. But out of its 18 million unique visitors a month, how could it separate those willing to splurge on a high-priced pair of shoes, for example, from others who are window shopping and unlikely to convert?

In January it started testing TruSignal, which uses a predictive scoring system to evaluate consumers’ propensity to buy. The technology filters out audiences that are least likely to convert.

After implementing the technology, which works within the MediaMath platform, cost-per-action costs declined 60%. Conversions rose 200%, according to Loren Simon, PopSugar’s VP of marketing.

As opposed to a third-party cookie focused on income or gender, TruSignal’s technology works by ingesting 40 data sets from public, private and government sources. That gets translated into a score from zero to 99 that predicts whether a consumer will be a good customer for ShopStyle.

Then the demand-side platform – MediaMath in this case – uses that score to influence how it bids and what prices it’s willing to pay.

PopSugar is still testing the technology to make sure it can continue delivering a suitable retargeting volume for ShopStyle. But the goal is to increase the budget because of the strong performance.

Delivering enough volume on retargeting campaigns is a common issue across tech partners. While TruSignal has data on 220 million American adults, reach rates with each platform can vary between 30% and 70%, according to Pete LaFond, TruSignal’s VP of marketing.

Plus, ShopStyle doesn’t want its ads just anywhere.

“You would think that the web has unlimited inventory, but there is limited quality inventory,” Simon said.

Overall, that’s a positive sign as the industry rallies around quality issues like nonhuman traffic and viewability, but it also affects volume and pricing.

Simon also analyzes whether adding one retargeting vendor affects the performance of the rest of the companies in the mix. He’s found that adding more companies usually increases performance.

“We have done some analysis for when [retargeting vendors] overlap, and those seem to be better-performing segments,” Simon said. “The overlapped segment is getting more ads, and that positively influences behavior.”

ShopStyle is more motivated than ever to invest in its retargeting strategy. It plans to add checkout capabilities to its site soon, Simon said. Instead of being redirected to a retailer’s site to complete checkout, it will enable buying on its site or on a blogger partner’s site for faster transactions.

When it moves to that model, ShopStyle will continue – and potentially intensify – its retargeting of online shoppers, which is why the company is testing its way ahead now.

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