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How to Make the Most of Remarketing

Oliver Ewbank

by Oliver Ewbank on 25th June 2012

google logoRecent EU cookie compliance laws have put some marketers off the proposition of remarketing. However, done properly, this tactic can still be extremely profitable. This post will take you through the benefits of remarketing and how to make the most out of targeted advertising.

What is remarketing?

For those of you who have been living in a cave, remarketing involves displaying a targeted advert to a user who has already visited your domain. If they navigate away from your URL or shopping cart, remarketing enables you to re-target the user with a banner advert when they browse across the Google Display Network.

The Benefits

The AdWords remarketing feature will almost certainly help you increase conversions. The advertising is highly targeted and you can display adverts on a range of reputable sites. From a brand building point of view it is an excellent way to help you boost exposure.

Remarketing Strategies

There are a number of different approaches you can take to remarketing and your audience will often depend on your strategy. The most popular approaches tend to be:

  • EcommerceAll Site Visitors
  • Specific Category Visitors
  • Users Who Don’t Convert
  • Users Who Do Convert
  • Users Who Abandon Shopping Carts
  • Users Over a Specific Time Period

Creating a List

Creating a list is the first thing you need to do when setting up a remarketing campaign. The list is a collection of cookies from users who visited the domain (a cookie on their computer means they are in the list). To create a list simply go to the ’Shared Library’ category  click the ‘new audience’ drop down and select ‘remarketing list’.

remarketing

Once you have created a new list you will need to put in the membership duration which is defaulted at 30 days. The list will create a tag which you will then need to paste on to the applicable page on your website. When the code is created you have the option of selecting whether it is for a mobile site or a conventional site. You then simply paste the code just before the closing </body> tag in your source code on each page.

Go Social

youtubeA remarketing tag can be used on all your web properties including social networks. If you have a large following on YouTube or Facebook it would be worth collecting data and testing out specific offers for your fans. Similarly the tag can also be added to your external blog or to an e-newsletter. This approach is being used more often now the EU cookie law is in place.

Membership Duration

Although the membership duration is set at a default of 30 days I would suggest changing this according to the length of your sales cycle. If you sell concert tickets you will want the membership duration to only be a few days, but if you sell holidays you may want the membership to be a month or so. The maximum duration for a list is 540 days.

Recycling an Old List

Another useful tactic is to recycle old lists for annual conversions. For example, a website that sells mother’s day presents can remarket to the same audience they built the year before. Similarly, you can recycle old lists for up-sell opportunities and multiple purchases. Therefore, if a user has bought an iPad it would be worth targeting the same user with an iPad cover campaign.

Remarketing Banners

The ad creative is one of the most important factors of a successful remarketing campaign. You can use any of the following ad formats for a standard desktop and laptop campaign:

  • 250 x 250 Squaresony
  • 200 x 200 Small Square
  • 468 x 60 Banner
  • 728 x 90 Leaderboard
  • 300 x 250 Inline Rectangle
  • 336 x 280 Large Rectangle
  • 120 x 600 Skyscraper
  • 160 x 600 Wide Skyscraper

Remarketing Ads

For a brand building campaign it is essential that the design and logo is consistent with the colours and theme of your website. From a conversion point of view the more the banner can feature the original product the better.

ray bans

For example, if a user aborts the shopping cart after looking at the ‘Ray-Ban 2140 Wayfarer Sunglasses’ then the banner should display the exact product that they were viewing. Other useful tips to increase conversions include:

  • Offer a discount
  • Get users to subscribe to a  newsletter
  • Offer free shipping
  • Offer a complimentary product
  • Be relevant to the audience
  • Have the same look and feel as your site
  • Have a call-to-action
  • Explain how you are better than your competition
  • Show the user a photo of the product they previously viewed

Landing Pages

As a rule of thumb I would always suggest you send the user back to the original page you built the list from. So if a user left the ‘Holidays to Corfu’ page then send them back to the same page (not the home page). If you are going for an upsell you would obviously send the user to the new product you are promoting. Nine times out of ten a brand building campaign should send the user to their home page or social profile.

Negative Lists

The downside to remarketing is it can be incredibly overwhelming and especially if you have bought the product but still receive the advertising. One way to stop this is to create a negative audience to suppress previous AdWords buyers. If you create a list of users who do convert you can then add this list as a campaign-wide negative audience to ensure they don’t receive offers for a product they have already purchased.

Frequency Capping

Frequency capping is a function you can set at campaign level which will allow you to limit the number of times your ads are displayed to a user over 24 hours. The campaign is always set at “no cap on impressions” which is incredibly overwhelming for your users. There is no happy medium but a rate between five and ten impressions per day is ideal. This is something I would suggest testing in the early stages.

add to cart

Bidding

Each remarketing campaign should have a different bidding strategy. If you are targeting a user that has left the shopping cart then I would bid higher as the possibility of a conversion will be greater. If you are targeting a list from Home page users then I would bid lower as they have a smaller chance of converting. Anyone who has started the buying cycle are pre-qualified as potential customers and therefore you should bid what you can to ensure they complete the purchase. Increasing your bids will improve your ad’s position and increase your chances of appearing on display network sites.

I would also suggest bidding higher on lists with a shorter membership duration. If you retarget a user over the next seven days you will have more chance of converting in comparison to remarketing over 90 days.

Another useful way to optimise conversions is to review which sites are converting best. For example, if you see Gumtree.com is performing best I would select this site as a specific placement and bid more to be placed on this domain.

Conclusion

Cookie compliance laws have made it more challenging to build remarketing lists but you can still build a profitable audience with tremendous value. Use all your web properties to build comprehensive lists and the data you collect can be used for monthly or annual campaigns. If you have compelling ad creative and an aggressive bidding strategy remarketing is still a worthwhile strategy.

Oliver Ewbank

Oliver Ewbank

Working in new media for over 8 years, Oliver Ewbank has worked for a range of brands including eBay and SportBusiness.com on SEO, PPC and Social Media Management. He has won awards for his SEO work and been featured in a number of publications, including Virgin online.

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