Pay-per-click advertising drives much of the web's ecommerce. Google's AdWords platform is arguably the best known, driving 31% of the global digital advertising market. But many paid clicks never result in a sale, since users are just browsing for answers.
Google says that 97% of visitors don't convert when they first visit your website, and once those people leave, they may forget they ever visited at all. Remarketing is a pay-per-click 'bolt-on' that gives you a second shot. Once a user has clicked on your ad, remarketing shows them additional ads later, keeping your brand fresh in their mind.
Setting it Up
Most of the world's largest pay-per-click networks offer remarketing tools. The best known are arguably AdWords, Facebook, Yahoo and DoubleClick. Google has developed an excellent remarketing set-up guide on the AdWords Help website, which shows the principles involved in setting up a campaign.
Looking specifically at Google, it serves remarketed ads through its Display Network. To complete set-up, you'll need to create static or dynamic banner adverts that tie in with your campaign strategy. It's essential that you allow yourself time to create high quality ads, since they will be key in attracting attention.
Like AdWords, remarketing is very flexible. That leaves huge scope for waste. For SMEs, marketing budgets are always capped. Unless you're a self-made millionaire, a poorly-planned remarketing campaign could cause a serious dip in profits.
Using defined and proven tactics, you can greatly improve your chances of success. You need to have a laser focus on conversion, without freaking out your customer by 'following' them.
1. Use geo-targeting. Remarketing lets you segment your audience in many different ways. For bricks and mortar stores, geo-targeting is key. It lets you pick out hits from local customers only, so your chances of conversion are higher.
2. Boost your brand. You can build traffic in a general way with a 30-minute investment in campaign set-up.
3. Provide information to convert. Someone who goes to your contact page, then backs off, could be a customer in waiting. Remarket to that person and encourage them to try again.
4. People have habits, so think long term. If someone bough a valentine's bouquet from you in February, that person will probably (well, hopefully) look for another one the following year. Make sure you are fresh in the mind of a repeat purchaser, no matter how long it takes for them to return. Here's an excellent article on seasonal trends.
5. Focus on specific items or services if you can. If a customer wants a pair of brown formal shoes, those shoes need to be the focus of the campaign. The image provides the image and catches the eye. General ads for sneakers are far less likely to convert. The trade-off is the time you'll need to create images for every product.
6. Remarket to blog readers. If you have a very popular post with high organic search hits and a low conversion rate, think about ways to bring those people back to your site with a different value proposition. This could help you monetize a popular, yet unprofitable, blog post.
7. Encourage repeat orders. Capture customers who have confirmed an order, then remarket a different item to them later. Simply place the remarketing code on the order confirmation page to capture them at the end of checkout.
8. Redisplay personalized information, like quotes. If someone has taken the time to look for a quote on your website, reinforcing the result can offer a timely reminder that they need to buy. Check out this excellent example of Confused.com's remarketing.
9. Care for existing customers. Boost loyalty by placing a cookie when someone logs in to a members' area, then remarket to that segment to encourage future spend. Vouchers, discounts and coupon codes work well.
10. Optimize, optimize, optimize. Just because you are remarketing, don't give up on converting through the first click. Your landing pages should still be A/B tested and tweaked so that you always have the best shot at success.
11. Pick up abandoned carts. If someone got very close to purchasing, but backed out, capture them with remarketing and remind them to complete the purchase.
12. Convert free users to paid. Someone on a free account can be converted to a paying customer using remarketing. Be sure to emphasise the value of the paid option in your ads.
13. Don't follow people forever. Many people researching products will convert, but they may not become your customer. They may convert offline, with an in-store purchase. Don't harass people by following them indefinitely. Try to strike quickly; if you aren't successful, move on. The exception here is in seasonal purchases, where you can display an ad at a relevant date in the future.
14. Don't remarket once converted. Smart marketers don't try to sell one person the same thing twice. Remarket a related item.
Are You Top of Mind?
As you build a remarketing strategy, focus on two key areas: awareness and loyalty. Remarketing buys you a second chance for conversion. Like any kind of advertising, it can be expensive if poorly targeted. Work through our tips before you dive in.