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That Was Fast: TellApart Implements A Searchblog Suggestion

By - September 02, 2010

TellApart.png

Earlier this week I mused out loud about retargeting, suggesting that perhaps it’s time for marketers to not just chase folks around the web in hopes they might irritate us into submission, but rather offer us the chance to politely say “Not right now, thanks.”

One of Searchblog’s readers turned out to be Josh McFarland, CEO of remarketing startup TellApart. He marshalled his team and within 24 hours had a working prototype integrated into his service. Here’s how it works, in his words:

Hi John –

As promised, here’s our v1.0 of the functionality you described. If a user mouses over the [X], it will highlight in red:

diapers.com_TellApart_X_ad.jpg

Clicking on that [X] will disable remarketed ads from that advertiser, reloading the ad with a message that further allows the consumer to opt-out of TellApart targeting altogether (industry best-practice functionality):


TellApart_remktg_disabled.jpg

This is now live for all TellApart Diapers.com ads, with the exception of 10% of the users which we use as a control baseline (to measure effects on CTR, conversion rates, etc.)


I applaude McFarland’s ability to quickly iterate and act on what he judges to be good input.

And he acknowledges, this is just version 1.0 of the functionality, executed within 24 hours of my original post. McFarland says he plans to add a lot more features. I think that’s needed, for both marketers as well as consumers – conversation is not just yes/no or off/on, and McFarland gets that.

From a follow up email exchange:

Here’s what we’re working on next, and we’re right in line with your thoughts:


1) Option of pausing the ad for the remainder of the time we predicted the user to be in-market for that retailer — instead of a straight, permanent opt-out.

We named our display ads application “Transactional Retargeting” in a nod to the fact that someone is in market for an item (our clients currently are pure-play e-tailers) for a limited window (5-12 days depending on the retailer’s avg consideration cycle), and most people leave a site without buying and never return during that window. Our job is to present those otherwise lost users with compelling ads (and sometimes offers) to get them to click back and transact… Transactional Retargeting drives higher conversion rates and incremental sales. This also means we only show users ads during those same 5-12 days. This modified “pause” functionality will allow users to stop ads for now but gives the merchant the ability to reconnect in the future.


2) Allowing more feedback as to why the user didn’t like the ad (a la Facebook)

3) A link to a much more informative page (about remarketing, TellApart, etc.) – which we are designing now.

One thing we have to balance, however, is the need to have the consumer rapidly choose one of three paths with the display ad: click through, ignore, or decline. Whereas other providers get paid for building overly complex ad widgets (with tabs, text content, tiny scrollbars, even purchase completion within ad), our goal is to definitively drive the user back to the retailer’s full site where they can re-engage with and complete their purchase.


Our business model couldn’t be simpler: we get paid a percentage of revenue for sales that result from a click through on a TellApart ad. That is the only way we make money. No sham view throughs or cost-per-ad-engagement; we drive clicks that convert. As ex-Googlers, it’s our DNA to start with a very hardcore DR approach, because when we can prove our system works under even the most brutal scrutiny (e-retailers managing ROI down to the penny), it will work for everyone (audience buying, brand campaigns, seasonal promotions, etc.)

Impressive. Expect more from TellApart soon, follow the company’s moves here.

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5 thoughts on “That Was Fast: TellApart Implements A Searchblog Suggestion

  1. Pete Kim says:

    Impressive?

    They put an opt-out into the ad-unit.

    That isn’t hard, though the idea is original. (But the idea was yours…)

    Meh – ok.

  2. Singh says:

    This action might bring them goodwill.

    When people are able to shop without having to worry about lots of other products being shoved down their throats, they feel more comfortable going back again to the same place.

  3. Thanks John.

    They are say to interesting keys. This is “Our team took that good idea and ran with it, implementing the feature for one of our largest customers – Diapers.com – in less than 24 hours.”

    Very nice.

  4. Jim says:

    Kudos to TellApart for executing so quickly.

    It’s early days for personalized retargeting and with such a wide range of customer feedback coming in, the ability to iterate quickly against this feedback will be the key to keeping customer sentiment broadly positive.

  5. Kudo’s to Josh and team for being quick, but the dirty little secret here is that the cookie space is exploding making re-targeting harder and harder. We’re seeing an increasing amount of “fudging” and re-targeting expansion by the providers of these cookie pools. Marketers would be wise to monitor as their pools are being diluted. Don’t get me wrong, audience expansion is fine, if you know its happening, but if you buy one thing and get another, learning is impossible.
    Knowledge is power.