Retargeter Blog

Sorry Email Retargeting, But We’ve Moved On. Say Hello to CRM Retargeting!

A couple of months ago, Google quietly shook the email retargeting world by automatically displaying email images. In case you aren’t familiar, this is generally how email retargeting works: a pixel is placed in the body of an email, once a reader views the pixel, an anonymous cookie is dropped into their browser, making the reader eligible for retargeting. In the past, Gmail users were presented with the option to “Display Images,” but images now display by default. Google’s method for implementing this update has important implications on retargeting.

Originally, Google served images directly from the image’s host server each time the image was displayed in an email. To minimize making requests to third-party servers, they displayed upon request. Now, Google makes an initial request from the image’s host server, caches the image on a secure proxy server, scans the image, and then serves it to the user from a proxy server. The next time the user wants to see the image, Google serves it from the proxy server.

And with that, Google seriously hobbled email retargeting as we know it (for Gmail users at least, who make up about 60% of consumers according to research by AYTM. When Google caches an image, it only takes the body of the pixel and leaves the header; the header is where the cookie is stored. The cookie therefore never makes it to the user’s browser.

Before chaos ensues, I should add that there’s a well-equipped alternative. Allow me to introduce you to email retargeting’s dashing big brother, CRM retargeting.

CRM retargeting is a powerful alternative to email retargeting because it allows you to display ads to qualified audiences with nothing more than an email or mailing list. This data is used to create a matching segment, and then using cookies you can accurately target the segment. You can essentially determine whether somebody is a good candidate for your campaign based on information about past customers. CRM retargeting lets you harness your email and mailing lists in smarter, more complex ways than email retargeting ever could. Instead of limiting yourself to targeting specific individuals, use your customer information expand your audience to include qualified potential customers.

So while we’re sad to see email retargeting go, we’re left in very capable hands.

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