Ad Retargeting: AdRoll vs Perfect Audience vs Magnetic

This is 3-part series on retargeting your users. The first part was an Introduction to Retargeting. This second post is for you to explore the ad retargeting platforms that we think every marketer should know about. Stay tuned for a follow up post on strategies.

Over the past few years, retargeting has changed the way marketers engage and convert prospects. It has become an indispensable tool in the digital marketing realm. If implemented correctly, retargeting can help brands recapture prospects’ attention, bring back lost customers or upsell to existing customers.

But what are the best platforms for retargeting? Here are three different ones that can help you achieve your retargeting goals.


AdRoll is perhaps the most widely used and the best-known ad-retargeting platform. It has been around since 2007. The platform allows marketers to reach a vast audience and run retargeting campaigns across different channels, including the greater web, Facebook, Twitter, and mobile applications.

AdRoll claims to have 30+ inventory sources, including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. Having access to a large inventory base is a huge plus for AdRoll. However, manually optimizing your campaign to exclude the sites where you don’t want your ad to be shown is not an option on AdRoll. This represents a huge drawback because it’s extremely valuable to be able to control where ads are shown and optimize your campaigns accordingly.

Perfect Audience

Just like AdRoll, Perfect Audience lets you retarget your website visitors on Facebook, Twitter and the Web. Both platforms provide a good user experience and require virtually no time to learn your way around the platforms.

Perfect Audience’s unique selling point is ‘Connect’. Connect is a feature that lets advertisers create profiles for their companies, invite other companies to partner with and then retarget each other’s visitors.
Wondering how that works? It is simple. You need to place Perfect Audience tracking on your website. Once you cookie your first 250 visitors, you’ll be eligible for retargeting. You then create your company’s profile. You’ll need to provide information related to your company, your visitors and the kind of companies you’d like to partner with.

Perfect Audience

Your partner will need at least 250 visitors cookied and you can exchange cookies and retarget to each other’s visitors. This gives you additional market power because you’re reaching relevant new prospects at a much lower price than you would pay with targeted publication banners and search engine marketing.

Based on the kind of companies you want to partner with, Perfect Audience recommends a few other Connect advertisers that can be of interest to your brand. You can also look for partners by their companies name or invite them to use the Connect feature if they are not already using it and if you have their email address.

Now, when thinking of companies you’d like as partners, think of products or services that are non-competitive but have similar visitors. For example, let’s say you have a website that provides Electronic Health Records (EHR) for doctors. An example of a partner company is one that sells medical office supplies. Do not forget to think about geo-targeting by location in case your partner targets a wider location than yours.


Magnetic lets advertisers retarget based on search history. It collects data from companies they partner with. They then use this data to build audience profiles for retargeting based on their search history on various platforms like product reviews and e-commerce websites. Having access to this large amount of search intent data allows Magnetic to predict the buying behavior of an audience and retarget them on websites they visit.

Think of it like Google Display Network (GDN) with keywords targeting in which AdWords finds relevant websites that include your targeted keywords to place your ad on.

In mid 2014, Magnetic acquired Cognitive Match — a dynamic creative optimization of Display Ads. The acquisition allows Magnetic to combine the data they’ve collected with artificial intelligence to provide real time personalized content to potential prospects — they call it Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO). DCO allows brands to customize different elements of their ad in real-time based on different attributes like interests and geography to increase engagement and response rates.


When choosing a retargeting vendor, first decide which form of retargeting you want to explore with your product. If you’re not sure, help inform your decision by reading the first blog post of this series, Ad Retargeting: Making it Work for Your Company. You can also base your decision on historical data about digital campaigns that your company ran in the past. For example, if you have tried keywords retargeting with GDN and you haven’t gotten good results, maybe Magnetic is not your go-to platform.

Keep in mind that, like any other tool, you need to test different ones to know which will work best for your specific products or services.

For example, we’ve A/B tested a campaign for a month on both AdRoll and Perfect Audience. While we got almost the same amount of clicks and CTR on both platforms, we paid only $4.88 per CPM and $6 per click on AdRoll vs. $6.57 per CPM and $7.97 per click on Perfect Audience. In addition, the leads from AdRoll were significantly more qualified than the ones from Perfect Audience. For another client, the results were almost exactly flipped.

Stay tuned for our next post on retargeting strategies. And, if you want help with retargeting, get in touch with us. We’d love to help!

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