Remarketing: is it really consequential?

17 May
2017

You may have been browsing flight schedules from Stockholm to Dunedin on a travel website. You close the page to open an online dictionary to assist with your work report. And suddenly you see an ad for flights on the same route you had been searching. But this add shows you a discounted rate. You open another page to google statistics for your work report. And voila! There is yet another ad for hotel discounts when you book a certain flight on that route. All at once there are flight ads everywhere you go. Amazing and creepy, right? How is this happening? Is Google planting spying bugs on you?

Welcome to the threshold of remarketing. It begins with Google tracking your browsing history. It continues with Google displaying ads relevant to your searches.

You may find this kind of cyber-spying intrusive. Or you may be sales ready and find the information useful, and find that the offers advertised cater to your needs. Now think of it from a business’ perspective. It is clever and effective because you already know the visitor is interested in the product or service, perhaps they are in the research stage of the buying cycle or they could be sale ready, and all they need is a little encouragement to commit or convincing that you are the one to buy from. So all you have to do is stay at the front of their minds so they remember you when they do decide to make the decision.

How it works

Based on the criteria you have defined, Google places Cookies on the visitor’s device when they visit your website, and then adds the Cookie ID to a remarketing list. Using this extensive list you can very specifically target people. For instance, you could select only those people who have dropped off just before the payment page, or exclude those who did complete a purchase. However, remember that a campaign becomes active only with a minimum of 100 Cookie IDs per remarketing campaign. So your daily traffic will determine how quickly your list gets ready to go live.

Additionally, with the features added via Universal Analytics you can manage lists without requiring special code added to the website.

The benefits

Of course, the biggest and most obvious benefit is that you become visible and accessible to people who have already expressed interest in your offering and are at the moment they are most likely to buy, and are, therefore, already receptive to your offer without you having to nurture them as leads. Throughout their online surfing or general daily browsing a remarketing ad will keep you present in their minds, as well as provide an accessible link whenever they chose to re-visit your site.

Secondly, given that you already have an idea of what they are interested in, you can tailor your advertising lists to your marketing goals.

Additionally, apart from reaching people who qualify for those descriptions – e.g. customers who abandoned their cart – you reach quite far and wide, because Google Display Network includes over two million websites and Apps.

And finally, you can actually see how your campaigns are performing, in what context they are being received and viewed, and how much it will cost you.

The costs

Believe it or not, this is actually a very efficient and cost effective method with a better ROI. Being in its natal stages and, therefore, less competitive, the bids are lower than in an AdWords auction.

Naturally cost will determine how broad your campaign can be. But given how you can very precisely define your criteria, you can exercise control over expenses.

Furthermore, to tighten the cost-effectiveness, you can use automated bidding strategies like Target CPA (Cost-per-Acquisition) and Target ROAS (Target Return On Ad Spend) by which real-time bidding helps you win ad auctions at the best possible price. And best of all, these tools are offered by Google for free.

Running the campaign successfully

Creating a campaign and running it successfully are two very different things. The latter is important to actually see the results you want.

As with any marketing endeavour, you need to precisely outline what you desire so you can create an appropriate campaign that informs those goals and lets you measure results. For example, if you are a fashion designer and your goal is to highlight a new range of complementary accessories, then you ad should focus on that instead of generally advertising the clothes you sell.

Second, be very decisive about the frequency at which these ads are displayed to prospects. Even though Google allows you 540 days of remarketing to a visitor after they reach your site, you don’t want to harm your brand by frustrating those prospects with importunate messaging.

Remarketing gives you the advantage of knowing what your customer wants. So the flip side is that if you aren’t absolutely relevant in your campaign and keenly tuned in to what the people want, you can’t entice them to ever look at you again. One way to catch attention is by sweetening the deal – making exclusive offers to them.

At the end of the day, use all that you have at your disposal. Combine all your other marketing and targeting techniques – like demographics, buyer personas, seasonal events, festivals etc. – to improve your conversion rate. Cosmetics may mean a predominantly female clientele but on Valentine’s Day there are men out there who will be shopping for their female partners, so they become your customers for that week.

Whatever it is that you want to do – increase conversions, promote membership sign-ups, publicize your brand, or just establish a new product – remember to be relevant and logically apply the rules without being patronising or overbearing, and you are bound to be one among the witnesses for the ripple effect of remarketing!


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