Latent Demand Channels

Latent demand channels reach consumers who have shown some previous interest in a product or type of product but aren't actively searching at the moment. From an advertiser's perspective, these channels help keep your products top of mind until the shopper is ready to make a purchase. Additionally, it may be your ad that gives them the incentive, or push, they need to finally make a purchase.

Typically, latent demand channels include more passive forms of advertising. Remember, their purpose is to be visible to a slightly-more-than-casual shopper. These aren't ads served at the moment of a search. Rather, they provide a subtle reminder to potential shoppers that you're out there and have something relevant to sell them.

Display Advertising

Display advertising is a popular and dynamic form of latent demand advertising found on websites in a variety of sizes and formats. A display ad's content is shared in the form of text, static images, flash animation and video. Display advertising is popular with digital marketers because of its advanced targeting capabilities:

  • Contextual: Keyword contextual targeting shows ads on sites related to a list of selected keywords. This form of targeting delivers relevant messages to potential shoppers based on the content they're viewing at that moment.
  • Demographic: Demographic targeting serves ads to users based on specific age ranges and gender.
  • Geographic: Geographic targeting allows retailers to show ads to users based on country, region, state, metro area or zip code. Some ad networks also allow ads to be served within a given radius of a physical location.
  • Behavioral/Interest: Retailers can target users based on web browser behavior, including the types of sites visited and any search queries performed.
  • Dayparting: Retailers can choose to serve ads on specific days of the week and at certain times of the day, based on the viewing habits of the intended audience.

While it's likely you'll see conversions from display ads, this ad format should be treated as a way to stay top of mind with potential customers outside of search engines. And because of its dynamic, image-based format, display advertising is also a great way to beef up your branding efforts.


Retargeting, also called remarketing, is a highly targeted form of display advertising that works by keeping track of the customers who visit your website and serving ads to them as they visit other sites. Because the only shoppers who will see these ads are previous visitors to your site, it makes the audience viewing your ad more qualified.

So how does it work? When customers visit your site, a tracking cookie is placed on their computer. This pixel stays with users for up to 30 days or until they delete their browser cookies. Retargeting also allows retailers to segment site visitors into groups, based on their behavior while on the site. You can then serve custom ads to the different audiences based on what's most relevant to their experience. For instance, you can tailor your banners to promote a product that a user was reviewing but didn't purchase.

Retargeting is an effective way to combat shopping cart abandonment. Sometimes just the extra reminder to site visitors seals the deal. In other cases, offering a promotion to entice visitors to come back to the site will help with conversion.


Affiliate sites target consumers with interests related to what you sell. Typically, these consumers like to browse and might only need a gentle nudge to step back into the shopping cycle. They may browse your affiliate's daily deal site on a regular basis looking for something in your product category that catches their eye. When the urge to buy strikes, you need to make sure your products are there.

Affiliate marketing is attractive for retailers because it usually operates under a cost per acquisition (CPA) pricing model, meaning that payment is due only after a sale or lead is generated. 

Social Commerce

As you've seen, you need to be everywhere your shoppers are. And increasingly, that means where the digital conversations often begin: social media. Social media sites have become valuable tools for online retailers looking to expand their brand presence and engage directly with their customers. Additionally, some social sites even allow retailers to promote their products using information found in their data feed.

When looking for the right social media site to promote your products, here are a few retail-centric sites to consider:

  • Pinterest: Pinterest functions like a virtual bulletin board where users "pin" ideas and images associated with their various interests or projects. Users create and share collections, including retail products, with their followers. Retailers can make sure their product data contains elements such as price and description by sending a data feed to Pinterest to generate Product Rich Pins. Product Rich Pins include real time pricing, availability, and where to buy. Pinners also get notifications when product pins they've added to their boards drop in price.
  • Houzz: Houzz is a platform for home remodeling and design, bringing homeowners and home professionals together in a uniquely visual community. Houzz is a great way to inspire shoppers and introduce products through both paid and shared product ads.
  • Polyvore: Polyvore is a community-driven social commerce site that lets members create and share product-image collages with one another. These sets typically center on fashion, interior design and artistic expression. Additionally, retailers can choose to add a Polyvore button, via a basic HTML snippet, to individual product pages to allow customers to "like" and share these products with other Polyvore members.
  • Wanelo: Wanelo (from Want, Need, Love) is a digital mall that allows people to search, follow and purchase products from more than 350,000 online stores, all from their phones. Retailers can enable the sharing of their products by simply adding Wanelo Save buttons to their individual product pages. Store pages are created when members post products from a new store. Members can then follow stores and receive updates when new products are posted.
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