Retargeting will remain a ‘blunt instrument’ until creatives get involved, says Google’s Phil Miles as it rolls out programmatic UK workshops

For retargeting to reach its full potential and be used less as a “blunt instrument” the industry must encourage creatives, strategists and planners to become more involved with ad tech, according to Google’s UK’s director of media buying solutions Phil Miles.

Speaking to The Drum, Miles conceded that there were still too many examples of bad retargeting occurring, with the result that consumers can become frustrated with ads that appear to chase them around the web.

To reap the full benefits of the opportunities that can be gleaned from well-executed retargeting the industry must go “more upstream”, according to Miles.

“The industry, from a retargeting and programmatic point of view, has been growing, and has been very buying and execution-focused and performance driven. So strategies have been driven out of driving performance, and that has led to relatively 1.0 implementations of the technology.

“Where we believe the industry has to go is more upstream, so start to get planners, strategists, and creatives more involved, in trying to think about how to utilise that technology.

“Once you do that you will start to move away from using retargeting as a blunt instrument and towards more complex solutions, more advanced, creative-led sequential marketing. Sometimes you can mix up the misuse of technology with what it could be – it’s just not being used to its full potential. At Google we think we can take a lead on that,” he said.

The internet giant is now turning its focus on helping to cultivate relationships between agency and brand performance professionals, and those who sit more on the creative, and planning side of business to cross-fertilise skills.

Part of its plans have included the launch of regular UK workshops aimed at helping brands and agencies better understand and incorporate programmatic trading into their media plans.

“In the last few months we have developed a programmatic planning workshop, which we are rolling out with clients and agencies as a means to really try and bring together those disparate bits of the business – so getting the brand people with the performance people, and get the planners with the people from the trading desks.

“When you do that – you find people don’t always know what the others do and vice versa, so understanding that will lead to better outcomes, and better ad experiences that move on from the – ‘being chased around the internet by the same ad scenario’ – that’s a big opportunity,” said Miles.

Google, which held its first ever programmatic-dedicated event for marketers in the UK last week, is throwing its weight behind a major education drive to help unpick the hype around areas such as programmatic trading for brands.

Also at the event, technology entrepreneur Peter Hinssen warned agencies that it is not their current competitors that represent the biggest threat for the future, but the "hoodie in a garage in Silicon Valley".

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