LONDON: Almost two thirds of European marketers plan to increase their expenditure on retargeting this year and sales are not necessarily the primary objective a new report has said.

AdRoll, a retargeting specialist, surveyed 250 marketers across France, Germany, Ireland and the UK and found that 39% were already spending between one quarter and one half of their online ad budget on retargeting and that 60% said brand awareness was their top retargeting objective.

Retargeting has low reach but high ROI, as Ted McConnell explains in Warc's Programmatic Primer, and has generally been regarded as a driver of sales. This was a priority for 57% of respondents while customer retention was a focus for 51%.

Conversions remained the top metric for campaign success however, being cited by 57%, but just over half (51%) were also looking for consumer insights, an indication that retargeting has a role to play in other areas.

"Marketers have expanded the way they think about retargeting," according to Michael Bertaut, managing director/EMEA at AdRoll.

It had, he said "moved from a niche tactic to a critical tool for turning data into successful strategies" and was "leading the charge in programmatic by paving the way for a deeper understanding of online customer behaviour".

If that is the case then it can't come too soon, as a study last year noted that the law of diminishing returns sets in rapidly with retargeting. More than half (53%) of respondents to that survey said online ads were of interest on initial viewing, but by the fifth time they were "intrusive", with users progressing to being angry after the tenth time.

Most marketers in the AdRoll survey said retargeting boosts other marketing tactics: 74% of respondents reported a lift in search campaigns when retargeting is added in, and 68% reported a boost for email marketing.

Perhaps surprisingly, given its importance in media consumption, 44% of marketers were not retargeting on mobile. Thirty-six percent felt mobile advertising has yet to develop a good user experience, while around one quarter did not have their own app (27%) or mobile site (23%).

Data sourced from AdRoll; additional content by Warc staff