Google Remarketing allows you to deliver targeted ads to users who failed to convert on their first visit to your site while they are browsing AdSense-enabled domains. As a result, your ads show up for users who are aware of your brand, and at the same time, you never waste impressions on users who have not visited your site, saving you money.
Who Should Use Remarketing?
Remarketing is recommended for every client who uses Pay Per Click or Pay Per Impression targeting on Google’s Display Ad network. Clients who are serious about retaining customers often find that remarketing provides one of the best opportunities to accomplish this.
There are, however, a few types of businesses that can benefit on a much greater scale with remarketing, like:
- Retailers with shopping carts
- Businesses with very high sale or lead value
- Service providers with a monthly fee
The key variable we have isolated to determine why these clients do far better with remarketing than other businesses is the lifetime value of their customers. In short: Businesses who have higher LTV customers will be far better served with remarketing than customers with lower LTVs.
Setting Up Google Remarketing For The First Time
To use Google Remarketing, you need a Google AdWords account, a website (with traffic), and a landing page for your ad campaign. There are two ways you can opt to target users. First, you could target all visitors who see your site. This can quickly become expensive, so we recommend the second type: targeting users who visit specific pages. In either case, you will upload a Google Remarketing tracking code to the pages you want to track (you can find this code inside the Google AdWords Platform, under Remarketing), which will create a cookie on the user’s computer to help the Google Network identify them in the future and deliver your targeted advertisements to them.
Places To Add Your Tracking Code
One common way to use remarketing is to add the tracking code to the “Shopping Cart” page, then add a separate tracking code to the “Order Complete” page. Users who have viewed their shopping cart but have not completed their order can be reached through advertisements offering free shipping or additional discounts on products. Users who have completed their order can be classified as potential repeat business and removed from the “Shopping Cart” list. You can reach these users by offering discounts on future purchases.
One example of a store that does this well is clothing retailer Express, who frequently sends out 33% off coupons to both users who have abandoned their shopping cart and repeat customers. Alternatively, you could use your repeat customer remarketing list to up-sell or cross-sell other products.
You might also consider using remarketing with segmented lists based on the page the user visits first, as this can tell you a great deal about the individual’s psychology. For instance, a user who clicks your “pricing” page first could be cookied and shown creative that focus on users who are shopping for value or very concerned with costs. A user who clicks your “features” page first might convert better with creative that highlights new features or changes to your product.
With this type of remarketing, you’ll be reaching out to a far larger number of individuals than other remarketing efforts (roughly 50% of your website traffic will visit another page, and receive a cookie), which can cause the cost to grow out of control quickly. If you already have an AdWords budget, you could consider replacing part of that budget with more targeted remarketing advertisements which would help you convert the traffic you’re already receiving, rather than drive new traffic to the site.
Defining Cookie Duration
Now that you’ve decided which pages you’d like to use to grow your remarketing lists, and you’ve got the tracking code installed, it’s time to decide how long to cookie users for. Typically, 60 days is the average length of time to set a cookie. For time-sensitive ads, like shopping carts, a shorter duration, like 15 or 30 days, is more appropriate. For an ad by a service provider, where the service could remain relevant to the user for month or years afterwards, you could set the cookie for 90 days or longer.
Setting Up a Budget
Finally, you’ll have to set a budget for your campaign, but this should be relatively easy to do for anyone with any existing advertisements and analytics. For CPM advertisements, simply calculate the number of hits you get on a cookied page and multiply it by the number of times you expect the user to see your ad in a day (between 3 and 5, on average). This will tell you how many ad views you should expect to see. Since ads are priced in cost per thousand views, define what budget you have to spend on this campaign and then decide how much you can afford to pay per thousand views. For CPC advertisements, you can use your existing ad budget to determine what you should pay per click in your industry and niche.
After submitting the ad, you can treat it just like your existing Pay Per Click advertising, creating A/B split tests to determine which ad unit performs best, changing your budget (both daily and per thousand views), or improving your landing page. You might also discover that some of your remarketing campaigns are far exceeding ROI expectations. If you’ve set up your budget and remarketing segments accurately, after a month or two it’s always worth reviewing all of your campaigns and determining whether or not you could divert some of the lower ROI campaign budget to the higher ROI campaigns.
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I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!