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Programmatic and retargeting budgets set to increase in retail marketing – AdRoll report

Technology & Data

Programmatic and retargeting budgets set to increase in retail marketing – AdRoll report


Retail marketers are showing their commitment to programmatic, with more than 80% saying programmatic budget will increase in 2017.

Retail and ecommerce sector-specific results from AdRoll’s latest ‘State of Marketing Performance Report’ show 80.9% of marketers are expecting programmatic budget allocation to increase this year and 75.5% expect retargeting budgets to increase.

Programmatic budget increase is a sign of satisfaction with ROI, as 81.32% of survey participants agreeing it results in greater ROI than traditional media buying. It is most popularly used for social media, with 51.65% buying programmatic on social; 22% buy programmatic on search engine marketing (SEM) and 13.9% programatically buying display marketing.


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Retargeting is primarily used by marketers in the retail sector for brand awareness, with 41.8% of respondents retargeting for this purpose, followed by lead generation, for which 25.3% use retargeting.

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Slightly more than half of respondents (50.55%) say retargeting works better than search campaigns, with 30% saying ‘same as search’ and 19% saying ‘worse than search’.

  • Similarly, 46% say retargeting works better than display, followed by 30.8% who say it is the ‘same as display’ and 23% who say it is ‘worse than display.’
  • 51.6% say retargeting performs better than email campaigns, followed by 30.8% who say it is the ‘same as email campaigns and 27.6% who say it is worse than campaigns.
  • Social media is the hottest topic in retargeting right now, say 40% of participants. Meanwhile, 27.5% say mobile and cross-device is the hottest and 18.7% say email retargeting is the hottest.


82.4% of respondents are currently retargeting on mobile, and mobile conversions are the most commonly shared mobile KPIs, with 26.7% of retail marketers measuring conversions. App installs (21.3%) and increasing overall reach (22.7%) are also popular mobile retargeting KPIs.

As for those participants not retargeting on mobile, it seems concerns about poor UX and ‘unreliable’ analytics are key reasons leading them not to. In addition, 31.9% say mobile advertising has yet to develop a good UX, and 23% say mobile analytics are not reliable.

Other reasons could include challenges such as users and consumers not converting on mobile, which is a challenge for approximately one-third of all retail marketing respondents, followed by ‘lack of analytics tools, (28.6%), and ‘lack of attribution transparency’ (22%).

This is another field looking towards universal adoption very soon, however, as 85.7% of marketers in retail say they are planning to increase investment in mobile advertising in 2017.


Newsletters and static blasts are still the most commonly used form of email marketing, used by 41.8% of retail marketers. Marketing automation capabilities, such as lead nurturing and product upsells was also popular, used by 29.7% of respondents.

Dynamic emails based on online behaviour of recipients (12.1%), system alerts (8.8%) and product recommendations (7.7%) are less commonly used.

Loyalty is the most commonly shared primary marketing objective email marketing, used by 48.3% of respondents.

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A large majority of retail and e-commerce marketers (85.7%) base their email marketing on dynamic user behaviour.

Retail marketing campaign success is primarily measured on engagement, with 30.8% measuring click-through rate, followed by direct revenue generated (26.4%) and open rate (22%).

Less popularly used to measure success are ‘upsell/cross-sell sales’ (9.89%), leads generated (8.8%), and ‘open through conversions (2.2%).

Attribution and analytics

When asked if they plan on changing their attribution model in the next 12 months, 76% of respondents said yes.

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Attribution is critical or important to 89% in retail marketing and 76% use a third-party attribution partner to measure campaign success.


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First-click/first-touch (credits the first clicked on channel with 100% of the credit for conversion) is the primary attribution model for 44% of participants, followed by last-click/last-touch for 34%. Linear, in which all touchpoints receive equal credit, and time decay, which weighs the clicks and touchpoints near the end of the customer journey with more credit, were less commonly used (12.1% and 8.8% respectively).


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The results specific to retail marketing were taken from 91 respondents in AdRoll’s ‘State of Performance Marketing’ report who listed their industry as retail/e-commerce. The 91 work in a range of roles, 60.4% in B2B and 39.6% in B2C. The majority (61.5%) are in Australia, the remainder made up of marketing professionals in New Zealand and Singapore.


Image copyright: kagenmi / 123RF Stock Photo

Ben Ice

Ben Ice was MarketingMag editor from August 2017 - February 2020

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