Retargeting plugin for Revive Adserver: features

Retargeting Plugin for Revive AdserverThe Retargeting plugin for Revive Adserver has features to capture data about visitor behavior, search behavior and demographics. It also supports an opt-out feature, enabling visitors to set their own privacy preferences.

Using the Retargeting plugin for Revive Adserver, banners can be targeted on the basis of the data that has been captured about visitors, and banners can be altered dynamically on the basis of previously collected data about a visitor.

For high volume environments, the Retargeting plugin for Revive Adserver has features to facilitate scalability, at the same time maintaining optimal performance.

Capturing data

Retargeting and behavioral targeting starts with capturing data about visitors, based on their surfing behavior, search behavior or demographic data.

The Retargeting plugin for Revive Adserver supports two types of data capturing: distinct values and counters.

Capturing distinct values

The plugin can capture variables with distinct values. The basic syntax is:

variable = value

This creates a variable with a name of your choice and sets the value of it. If the variable exists already, it will update its value.

Examples of how to use this feature:

  • gender = male
  • buyer = yes
  • marital_state = married
  • car_brand = mercedes

There are literally countless ways to use this feature, please study a few examples and use cases to inspire you.

Capturing counters

The plugin can also capture variables with counters. The basis syntax is:

variable = numeric value

This will create a variable with the name of your choice, and stores a numeric value in it. If the variable exists already, it will increase or decrease the value of it. Using this feature you can capture recurring events, volumes and balances.

Examples of how to use this feature:

  • number_of_children = 1: this will either create a variable with a value of 1, or increase the value of an existing variable by 1.
  • product_12345 = 1: this will create a variable and store a value of 1 in it, or it will increase that variable by 1.

Again, there are numerous ways to use this feature, our page of use cases and sample scenarios may inspire you.

Targeting banners

The Retargeting plugin for Revive Adserver will, once installed, add a delivery option to the targeting features that every Revive Adserver installation has by default (like page URL targeting, geotargeting, time of day targeting, and so on). The new feature enables delivering a banner to visitors who match specific criteria for the retargeting data that has been stored for them.

Using the new feature, a banner can be setup to be delivered only in specific situations:

  • Only display this banner when ‘buyer’ equals ‘yes’
  • Only display this banner when ‘number_of_children’ is greater than or equal to 1
  • Only display this banner when ‘marial_state’ equals ‘married’ and ‘gender’ equals ‘female’

When Revive Adserver is considering to deliver a banner to a visitor, and the banner has a targeting rule associated with it using the Retargeting plugin, the plugin will instantly lookup the required retargeting variable(s) for the visitor. It will then check the conditions specified in the targeting rule and only when any and all conditions are met will it deliver the banner to that visitor.

Dynamic banners

The Retargeting plugin for Revive Adserver can dynamically insert the value of any retargeting variable in a banner, thus customizing the banner for the visitor. This feature also supports a default value, to be used when the retargeting variable does not exist for a visitor. This feature is an extension of the magic macros feature in Revive Adserver.

The syntax for inserting a retargeting value in a banner is:


When a banner with a magic macro using a retargeting variable is delivered to a visitor, the plugin will instantly lookup that variable and replace the macro with the value of the variable. If the variable does not exist for the visitor, the default value will be used.

Here is an example of a portion of an HTML banner that uses a retargeting variable named ‘last_product_seen’ to customize a banner for a visitor:

<a href="{last_product_seen|all}/">Great offer for {last_product_seen|new} buyers</a>

Customizing banners for the specific situation of a visitor will greatly increase the relevance and therefore the performance of the banner. More examples can be found on the page of examples and use cases for the Retargeting plugin.

Site integration

The Retargeting plugin for Revive Adserver has a powerful API (application programming interface) that enables web masters and web developers to build comprehensive retargeting pixels. The API will return a 1×1 transparant pixel, so that it is invisible to site visitors.

The Retargeting plugin for Revive Adserver comes with a Product Guide that describes the process of website integration in great detail, including many examples.


By default, the data that is captured by the Retargeting plugin will be stored in a table in the Revive Adserver database. This table is created automatically during the installation of the plugin.

External database driver (free extension)

For larger systems, for instance when the hosting platform for an Revive Adserver installation involves multiple delivery and/or database servers, there is an additional “External Database Drive”. This is an extra extension for the plugin, which is provided to all users free of charge. Using this extension, the table can be moved to another database than the main Revive Adserver database. This database could be on the same database server, but it can even be another server. This allows for very flexible scaling of the plugin.

High volume extension (free extension)

The Retargeting plugin for Revive Adserver stores data in an extra table in the Revive Adserver database (see above). However, for environments with very many calls to the API, this doesn’t scale very well. For this, a ‘High volume extension’ has been developed. This extension adds the ability to have the retargeting data stored in cookies on the visitor’s computers.


The Retargeting plugin for Revive Adserver uses the database access channels that are a standard part of the Revive Adserver software. This ensures very fast data capturing and storage.

There is very little impact on the speed of ad delivery when banners with retargeting limitations are shown, because the Retargeting plugin uses the same caching mechanism that is used in all other parts of Revive Adserver.

Privacy and opt-out

The data that is captured and stored by the Retargeting plugin for Revive Adserver is anonymous. It can not be tracked back to an individual. The Revive Adserver software assigns a random ID to each computer that interacts with it. This random ID does not contain any personally identifiable information like an IP address. The Retargeting plugin uses this random ID to identify the visitor when they return, allowing it to lookup any values that have been stored in earlier sessions.

The plugin has a feature that enables visitors to opt out for retargeting. When the opt out, it puts one cookie on their computer that instructs your Revive Adserver system to stop capturing and storing new data for that visitor. It also removes any variables that may have been created prior to the visitor opting out.

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