This study compares the effectiveness of product- and category-specific advertising personalization in Social Retargeting. Social Retargeting combines the features of social advertising, targeting consumers based on social connections, and retargeting, using consumers' browsing behavior to personalize ad content. We conducted a large-scale randomized field experiment in collaboration with a major e-retailer. Contradicting prior empirical findings, our results indicate that product-specific ads outperform less personalized category-specific ads. While theory suggests a positive effect, we find that social targeting decreases the performance of personalized ads. Surprisingly, socially targeted consumers are not more responsive to product-specific ads. We show that our results remain robust and are driven by ad personalization when controlling for temporal targeting and how deep consumers browse the e-retailer's website. Our study contributes to the IS and marketing literature related to personalization in digital advertising and provides valuable suggestions for firms' personalization strategies.

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2016 International Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2016
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

Frick, T.W. (Thomas W.), & Li, T. (2016). Personalization in social retargeting - A field experiment. In 2016 International Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2016. Retrieved from