As a digital marketer, you know by now that not everything goes according to plan the first time around. Sometimes it takes trial and error. Changing it up. Taking a slightly different route. And just doing things differently until you get it right — or get what you want. That’s the concept behind remarketing.
Essentially remarketing is the art of serving targeted ads to people who have already visited or taken action on your website — an investment that has the potential to significantly increase your advertising costs before driving ROI — so you have to be judicious about how it’s executed. But, if implemented correctly, it also has the potential to be an extremely valuable advertising strategy. Consider these statistics:
- Remarketing can increase branded search results by at least 500%.
- Retargeting can deliver a 700% increase in overall site visitors due to improved ad exposure.
- Previous site visitors are 70% more likely to convert when exposed to retargeting ads.
The value and possibilities of remarketing ads are plentiful. That said, it’s a vastly different advertising strategy to execute than traditional digital advertising. For one, you’re targeting a very specific group of people who are already familiar with your business, and as such, you’ll need to adopt a new set of approaches and tactics to ensure that your efforts effectively reach your audience. Below are seven important tips that can help you launch your remarketing strategy the right way.
1. Start with your remarketing goals
Before anything else, you need to prioritize your marketing goals and the performance of your existing campaigns — rather than launching remarketing campaigns for all of your relevant sales funnels, it’s best to first narrow down the ones that will truly help you achieve your marketing goals. This will help you select the most important areas for remarketing out the gate, while also minimizing your initial expenses and driving quick ROI.
If, for example, your main marketing priority is to drive more sales, then you should select a few of your top performing sales pages to tag for remarketing. If these products already sell well, then you know the offer is valuable and your sales funnel is effective. From there, you can add on remarketing simply to maximize the potential conversions you get out of one of your top-performing campaigns.
On the other hand, if your most important marketing goal is lead generation, then you should focus on tagging your best performing lead generation landing pages for your initial remarketing campaigns.
2. Broaden your keyword lists
When remarketing for search ads, many advertisers make the mistake of simply duplicating their current keyword lists. Granted, while your site visitors navigate back to Google to continue researching a topic, they can type in a lot of the same keywords while actually searching for different results. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expand your keyword lists!
Remember that when using lists for search ads (RLSA), you’re targeting a very small group of people — your previous site visitors. Subsequently, you’ll want to use every relevant keyword possible to trigger your ads for this audience. So broaden your keyword lists to include other relevant terms that you excluded for one reason or another in your PPC ad campaigns.
For example, most PPC advertisers avoid targeting broad keywords because they attract a lot of traffic that may or may not be relevant to their business. But these keywords are very relevant for remarketing campaigns! And because you’re only targeting people who already expressed interest in your business, you already have some understanding of their search intent when using broad keywords.
3. Don’t come on too strong
One reason marketers shy away from remarketing is that they believe it will affect their audience’s view of their brand. Consumers notice when they’re being targeted with remarketing ads, and some don’t like the idea that businesses are tracking them across the web.
That’s why effective campaigns always require a careful balance — deliver too many remarketing ads for too long, and you might end up annoying your leads instead of converting them. Google Ads offers two features that can help you manage this balance: frequency capping and remarketing duration.
Frequency capping is an advanced settings feature that allows you to control how many times someone can see your remarketing ad in a day, and can be set for campaigns, ad groups, or individual ads.
The type of frequency cap you should implement depends on your business niche and goals. If you’re an ecommerce seller targeting abandoned carts, then you might want a fairly high frequency cap, which will give you the biggest opportunity to convert a lead who is likely to make a purchase decision in the short term. A higher frequency cap also makes sense if you’re promoting a limited-time sale or webinar. On the other hand, if your main goal is to build brand awareness through remarketing, then you’d want a lower frequency cap to avoid coming on too strong with your audience.
Membership duration is another feature you can use to control how frequently people see your remarketing ads. By default, your remarketing campaigns are set for three months, meaning that someone can potentially see your ads for three months after joining your remarketing list.
Again, the duration you choose will depend on your market, specialty and goals. A long remarketing duration makes sense for brand awareness campaigns. But it wouldn’t make sense to remarket to abandoned shopping carts three months after first interaction.
4. Segment your audience
While audience behavior should drive your bidding strategy, it’s just as important for informing the type of remarketing message that you deliver. Use audience behavior to identify their point in the sales funnel, and from there, segment them into separate remarketing lists to deliver unique ad campaigns personalized to their unique point in the customer journey.
For example, someone who just consumed some of your blog content still might not understand your product or its value. Thus, you can leverage remarketing ads to promote content that introduces them to your value proposition.
On the other hand, someone who abandoned their shopping cart has already done their product research and understands its value. Now your remarketing message is all about getting them to convert. Offering a special discount or free trial in your remarketing ad is a great way to do this.
You can also adapt your campaign duration and remarketing frequency based on your customers’ point in the sales funnel. If you’re working on brand awareness with top-of-the-funnel leads, then it makes sense to extend your campaign duration. At the same time if you’re trying to convert a bottom-of-the-funnel lead before they decide on a competing product, then increasing your remarketing frequency cap gives you more opportunities to convince them to convert.
5. Alleviate fears and concerns with your ad copy
Most PPC and display ads are aimed at introducing people to a company and encouraging them to enter the sales funnel. Remarketing audiences are different. These people are already familiar with your company and its primary value proposition, so there’s no need to target them with generalized ads that reiterate these same points.
Instead you should create ad copy that’s much more targeted at driving conversions than educating audiences. The reason? Many of the leads you’re targeting with remarketing navigated away from your site because they’re not ready to make a purchase decision. They’re unsure if your business is the right fit for them, or if your products are a good use of their money. To create more targeted and relevant remarketing ads, alleviating these fears and concerns should be the primary focus of your ad copy.
Here’s an example of a remarketing display ad that does this well:
In this particular ad, personal injury lawyers were able to infer the kind of injury the lead had suffered through site behavior and/or form fills. They used this information prominently in the ad headline to attract attention, then followed up with the subheadline “100% FREE Case Evaluation” which alleviates fear by showing their audience they’re not required to make a financial investment for them to learn more about a potential case.
The net-net? Sit down with your sales teams to brainstorm what kind of fears and concerns prevent your audience from converting on-site. Then address these directly in targeted remarketing ads to compel more conversions.
6. Target previous customers
Most marketers that use remarketing ads only focus on driving initial conversions. But they’re missing out on a huge opportunity to upsell and cross-sell to their existing customers through remarketing.
People who have already bought something from your business are much more likely to purchase again than people who have never converted into customers. As such, targeting your previous customers is often low hanging fruit that can bring big wins for your remarketing campaigns.
Since you’re targeting previous customers, you can use the additional information you have about them to create more relevant, personalized ads — in fact, you can take it as an opportunity to remind them what you know they already like about your business. Target previous customers by:
- Promoting sales on products similar to their previous purchases
- Announcing new inventory arrivals
- Reminding them to schedule future appointments (for service-based businesses)
You can even create special campaigns that target your most valuable customers. Create special rewards and promotions that you only share with people who already spent a certain amount of money with your business. Then you can increase their customer lifetime value even more with remarketing ads.
7. Bid based on audience behavior
When you begin your remarketing efforts, you’ll want to focus on creating remarketing campaigns for the site pages that are most relevant to your main marketing goals. As remarketing proves its ROI over time, you can expand your strategy to tag a wide variety of site pages. But you can still strategically allocate your remarketing budget to ensure you’re maximizing its impact on your bottom line — and the best way to do this is bidding based on audience behavior.
When your audience visits your website, their on-site behavior is a good indication of how close they are to converting. Compare someone who made it all the way to the checkout page vs. someone who visited your home page for five minutes. Which of these two leads would be more likely to convert through remarketing?
That’s not to say you shouldn’t remarket to the person who only visited your homepage — just reduce your bid accordingly knowing that this lead is much less likely to convert. Focus the majority of your remarketing budget on targeting leads at the bottom of your sales funnel, which will likely elicit a lot of quick sales.
Also remember that not every site visitor is worth the remarketing investment. An important metric to consider is time on page. Most site visitors stick around for less than 15 seconds. That’s not enough time to develop an interest in your product or service, let alone understand what it is. Save your remarketing budget for leads who have illustrated genuine interest in your business by reading your content, clicking through to other pages and filling out lead forms.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, remarketing is about taking a second look at your audience, re-adjusting, and taking another approach. Remarketing ads are a huge opportunity to nurture leads, drive conversions, and maximize the lifetime value of existing customers — all you need to get started with remarketing is a little budget allocation and time to optimize your first campaign. Start with the low hanging fruit then expand as you learn more about how your audience responds to remarketing content. Make incremental adjustments — broaden keyword lists, segment audiences, create new ad copy. And remember, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel — that’s already been done. You just have to refine it to make it work even better for you.
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