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Despite popularity of ad retargeting, advertisers still remain suspicious of practice

Ad retargeting may be one of the most effective technologies for turning ad viewers into ad clickers, but that doesn’t mean everyone trusts it completely. 

A new survey by search, display and social advertising platform Marin Software aimed to shed light on how marketers are currently utilizing ad retargeting technology, which allows them to place targeted ads that follow their site visitors on external websites and social media. Despite 88% of the 233 respondents using retargeting, and more than half pledging to increase their spending on it by 2015, there were still plenty of apprehensions about the transparency of the practice.

About a third of the 233 digital marketers surveyed were “unsure if ads were viewed, leery of click fraud, and concerned with “black box” campaign optimization.” Other major challenges for marketers included difficulty in how to attribute performance (43%,) getting sufficient list volume (31%,) results not meeting expectations (25%) and brand image concerns(11%.) After all, an ad that follows you around the internet after you’ve visited a particular website is borderline creepy.

All these problems might help explain why retargeting makes up less than 10% of most monthly marketing budgets.

Despite the slow investment in the space, Marin’s study did reveal where advertisers were most likely to spend their retargeting budgets. Display advertising was the most popular channel (81%,) followed by search (77%) and social (48%.) Not surprisingly, Google ranked as the most common retargeting platform with 89% of respondents using either the Google Display Network (GDN), Google remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA), or both.

To download Marin Software’s entire ad retargeting report, click here. (Registration required.)

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