June 19, 2009, 12:00 AM

How Skechers serves the right ads to the right people at the right time

Of marketing dollars spent at Skechers, 21% of revenue stems from display advertising, reports Laura Christine, vice president of direct marketing and e-commerce, during an IRCE session. Ad networks` technology and advice boost performance, she says.

Unlike with many retailers, online display advertising is performing well for Skechers USA Inc. Of marketing and advertising dollars spent, 21% of revenue stems from display advertising, compared with 20% from natural search, 19% for e-mail, 18% from paid search, 12% from affiliates, 9% from direct access and 1% from partnerships.

Skechers recently ran a variety of display advertisement campaigns. It opts to use the services of ad networks to place ads on thousands of sites aggregated by the ad networks across the Internet. For this select group of campaigns, Skechers achieved a 283% return on ad spend, $2.67 million in revenue and 172 million ad impressions, reported Laura Christine, vice president of direct marketing and e-commerce at Skechers in an IRCE session titled "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Ad Networks: But Didn`t Know Where to Begin."

By ad network, Skechers, No. 373 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, achieved 786% return on ad spend with InterClick, 463% with Audience Science, 386% with Adconion, 234% with 24/7 Real Media, 161% with Valueclick Media, 147% with Burst Media and -76% with Quake.

Ad networks offer retailers the technology and advice to greatly improve the return on the amount spent on online display advertising, Christine said.

"The technology can help you dynamically optimize your copy and images, letting you play around with the ads," she said. "You can change which ads on which types of sites present offers like free shipping, you can serve ads based on what products a shopper viewed when they were on your site, you can offer sizes of ads that work better. And, for example, we do geotargeting. We sell sandals year-round in Florida, but we can use weather reports of big snowstorms to display the right shoes in the right ads to people in affected areas."

What`s most important, she concluded, is that retailers should constantly test advertisements and advertising techniques on ad networks to ensure they`re serving the most effective ads in the most effective manner.

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