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Include, Exclude, and Neutral URLs


Programs that perform well run for a long time – we have many clients who have run programs for years. But underperforming programs don’t last very long. The advice we provide is geared towards building longevity and success, versus trying to drive an initial high volume of cards.

So, understanding the differences between and Include, Exclude, and neutral URLs is fundamental in preparing a client up for success with their targeting. Some sites set up a targeting filter of only mailing to visitors who go to 2+ pages, instead of only mailing to visitors who go to a specific set of pages.

If a client wants to mail to everyone visiting the site, the downside is the likelihood of poor program performance. They would include home bounces, which have a low probability of converting. Ultimately it drags down the overall conversion/ROAS.

On the flip side, if a client wants to only mail to a small number of pages with pinpoint precision, they could be missing out on a lot of opportunities. Our best advice is to understand the below terms, and reason how the balance of include and exclude can help target the most high-intent visitors who are going to deliver the strongest ROAS.

Include URLs:
When one of more Inclusion URLs are listed, an addressable visitors must hit at least of those pages to trigger the card to be mailed.  Example: using only /women-socks as an Include URL would trigger a card to anyone only going to that page.

Oftentimes, eCommerce brands might have several include URLs, which refines the targeting down from all visitors going to the site. Example: If the only URLs that were flagged as Include URLs were:
…then the targeting would be refined to only those visitors going to those pages. This is an ideal way to target higher intent visitors aligned to best-selling products.

When you add multiple Include URLs, we operate with an “and” logic, versus an “or” logic. So, we can send cards to everyone who visits /women-socks and /women-shoes, but we cannot refine the specific cards to only send to people who visit /women-socks or /women-shoes.

This is why targeting is closely linked with Creative Development.

Exclude URLs:
This does more than just not triggering a card. When one or more Exclusion URLs are listed, any addressable visitors reaching one of those pages are then excluded from being sent a card for the life of a program, regardless of what they do on any return visits.

This should be used for specific purposes such as excluding existing customers by making a post customer login page like/my-account an Exclusion URL.

You have to be careful about what you add as Exclusion URLs to avoid permanently excluding good opportunities, especially because you’d be trading off for lower intent visitors.

Not Included or Neutral URLs:
We do not list these out but basically any URL that is not listed in one of the above categories is automatically neutral. They will count in the Minimum Page Views but they will neither trigger a card nor exclude a visitor from the program.

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