Arjun Dev Arora is CEO of ReTargeter, an online advertising retargeting company.
AdExchanger.com: First, please provide a bit of background on you. And how did you come to realize that retargeting could become a standalone business?
ADA: Most recently I was at Yahoo! Real Estate in a business development capacity. Being at Yahoo! was an incredible experience in the sense that it gave me a broad understanding of the display market including various targeting methodologies and data sets that could be leveraged for clients. It also helped me better understand that ReTargeting had huge potential but had been limited to mostly large companies spending at least 5 figures per month.
Given that Google offers self-service retargeting in addition to access to the Google AdSense network and search advertising, why should a client come to you?
Google’s self-service retargeting is really great, and does a lot to help legitimize the technology. The main difference between ReTargeter and Google’s retargeting is the reach of our networks. ReTargeter gives advertisers access to all of Google’s AdSense and Doubleclick networks, as well as access to additional networks such as Yahoo!’s Right Media, Fox Audience Network, Microsoft AdECN, OpenX, Glam Media, and many more. Additionally, while Google’s service is completely self-serve, ReTargeter’s account support team is fully attentive, and will help advertisers throughout the retargeting process – from setting up a campaign to optimizing banners, landing pages and additional variables. We are also on the forefront of social retargeting which allows brands to increase engagement and followers on their social platforms.
ReTargeter’s goal has always been to democratize retargeting. While the technology has traditionally been used by big brands with big budgets, we launched a retargeting solution that focused on the small-to-medium sized business on a smaller budget but could also be leveraged by larger brands looking for the best reach possible. We have worked with companies and organizations across the web including SaaS companies, non-profits, traditional e-commerce companies and even politicians and entertainment professionals. While SMBs are the target market for our core retargeting product, some of our social retargeting solutions have been very attractive to bigger brands, such as DKNY and Tim Ferriss.
Do you think there is a brand awareness opportunity for brand marketers through retargeting?
Absolutely. Retargeting adds what we call a ‘brand scaling’ effect. When a small brand is able to serve ads on premium sites like YouTube and Yahoo! specifically to the people they care about, they gain a level of legitimacy. Through retargeting, brands can reinforce the messaging of their email marketing campaigns, keeping their audience up to date with the brand. Additionally, some of our social retargeting products really focus on helping advertisers build their social following and engage with their audience, both of which can be considered branding exercises.
How does pricing work? Are margins transparent?
We price on a cost-per-unique visitor basis (we call it a CPUV). We understand the value of your traffic, and treat each of your UVs as a potential lead or social engagement. We aim to serve the optimal number of impressions to each person in your audience, allowing us to
optimize your conversions, and you’ll never overbear or be unnoticed by your audience.
Is it just graphical display right now? Any plans to get into search retargeting or other digital channels?
We focus mainly on display retargeting. While this generally means static ads or flash ads, we’ve been working on lots of innovative products that aim to converge social media and display ads. This includes helping our clients engage with their audience on Facebook, serving Twitter feeds as ad units, and even serving videos that have click-to-share properties. Additionally, in a partnership with SlideShare, RTPresent allows us to serve marketing decks and PDFs in ad units. This is just the tip of the iceberg, look for more exciting products and channels in 2011.
How do you address privacy concerns that revolve around online behavioral advertising and retargeting?
There is never any tracking or transfer of personally identifiable data. Additionally, we tend to stay away from dynamic retargeting, so we’ll never ‘creep out’ a brand’s audience.
Is a Do-Not-Track list the answer? If not, what is the answer for consumers and digital advertising companies alike?
People definitely have the right to opt out of retargeting and we make that easy on our site. However, I think educating the market to understand that none of their data, such as the sites they visit, is really being tracked. We’re merely serving ads to a cookied browser, and all the cookie tells us is the level of engagement a unique visitor has had with a brand. So I’d say that a real focus on education is going to make the difference. I fear that Do-Not-Track would be more harmful to the environment of the internet as a whole, as it can take away from the structure that currently allows free web services to remain free.
How many employees today? Profitable? Any funding plans?
We are a lean team and are profitable. No immediate funding plans.
A year from now, what milestones would you like the company to have achieved?
A year from now, we would like to have been able to help many more companies leverage the power of display and retargeting. We are also excited about continuing to grow our social retargeting practice. Finally we are looking to continue to innovate in the display world.