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Mini Guide to Adwords Remarketing

Author's avatar By Chris Soames 19 Sep, 2012
Essential Essential topic

A more effective way to utilise online paid media spend?

Since we're still firmly in the midst of a recession, it is still the challenge for businesses to grow and invest wisely. Hopefully this doesn't mean you have stopped testing new ideas / channels. While this post isn't covering anything amazingly new, I hope it will inspire you to consider a different way of utilising your online paid media budget. Think differently! Compared to traditional PPC and Display advertising, the targeting and ideas below can potentially generate you a better ROI.

What is Remarketing?

Remarketing is a term now associated with online display advertising since Google adopted this name when it started offering AdWords remarketing in 2011. It refers to where adverts are specifically targeted at people who have visited your website before and are tracked by an adserving service like AdWords. As a concept, remarketing can cover both prospects and customers alike, the idea is that you only market to people already aware of your brand. product / service. Therefore the costs of converting such a person should be much lower than cold hard acquisition. Now a common tactic utilised by anyone using Google AdWords or similar as a digital marketing tactic, if you are yet to trial this tool, this short video from Google should help you understand it from a display advertising perspective.

The two more well know forms of online re-targeting

1. Site Retargeting

The definition of site retargeting is to show a display advert to those people who have visited your site before. This means you can tailor the advert to a particular person's behaviour.  Online retailers have begun to get quite sophisticated in this space and you are highly likely to have seen such an advert on a Google Display Network site.

If you spend a lot of time or even purchase particular brands or category of products you may find related products pumped into branded adverts when you are on other websites. This is a sophisticated version of site remarketing using implied behaviors on-site. The beauty of such targeting is how much you can tailor the advert, it totally depends how far you go with rules and segmentation.

A new feature from Google which could make this easier to implement is to enable setup of segments "remarketing lists" to target via Google Analytics.

Dan Barker has been discussing this on Google+ where he gives this example.


2. Search Retargeting

This can and usually does work alongside site re-targeting. While not as targeted as the above search re-targeting allows you to display banners on websites when a user has shown intent through their search terms in Google. It requires a different mindset to site retargeting as the audience and therefore potential message is vastly different. This article from Search Engine Land explains more about Search retargeting.

The remarketing approaches work hand in hand

Utilising both forms of remarketing intelligently together should enable you to generate a suitable ROI to justify the spend, especially with the ability to track the performance as closely as you can. Unlike a lot of forms of advertising you can associate, brand, marketing and commercial KPI's to such a campaign / spend.

Remarketing goes way beyond banners & Google

The concept of remarketing is not restricted to platforms such as Google. This graphic from retargeting company Chango displays the 7 types of remarketing you can utilise in a informative infographic.

I recommend you go through the following questions to identify when and how to use each form of remarketing:

  • How could you segment your audience - What actions explicit or implied?
  • What would your objectives be for each segment?
  • What message would you supply to each segment?
  • What technology and creative assets would be required to hit your objectives?
  • How are you going to measure success?

Don't forget Advertising basics

With the data, insights and potential targeting that you have you need to ensure the effort is put in when it comes to designing your campaigns, ensure you have considered:

  • The audience - some will be new to your brand vs have visited your website
  • Tailor your messaging and creative to each audience
  • Do cap frequency at 4 to 6 - don't let retargeted ads run for ever - many seem to make this mistake

Remember to report using an attribution model

Simple "last-click wins" conversion tracking for such media spend will mean the results are questionable at best and may lead you to the wrong conclusions about which media are effective. This short blog post from Dax Hamman on Search Engine World explains the problems with re-targeting and data.  Using Google Analytics Multichannel funnels you can now see the various touch points customers go through before purchasing (although only clicks, not ad views).

This analysis where sales are applied to the different channels the visitor interacted with prior to purchase is called attribution modeling, you can learn more and see some examples here.

Author's avatar

By Chris Soames

Chris Soames is a Smart Insights blogger and consultant, he has worked in digital marketing for over 6 years with the last few years managing international web strategies for a leading travel brand. Now the Commercial Director at First 10, an Integrated marketing agency, he helps clients get clarity on their marketing strategy and create campaigns engineered to engage with their consumers to help drive sell-through. Most of all, Chris enjoys working with talented people who want to create great (& commercial) things not just tick boxes.

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