Remarketing 101 – Implementing an effective strategy

Dec 8th, 2016

There is a famous saying that: “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” In essence, the message in marketing and eCommerce is exactly the same. You can lead a potential customer to your website and show them the individual products or services you have, but that doesn’t mean they’ll buy

What is remarketing?

With the advances in technology and the level of competition in the online sector on the rise, remarketing is fast becoming one of the most important parts of an effective paid search strategy.

As consumers browse the internet they often find themselves being followed by adverts. This is nothing new and indeed the practice has been around for many years, the difference now is that these ads are directly linked to your web browsing history or to previous clicks and purchases.

It’s fair to say that almost all internet users experience remarketing every time they are online, many just don’t know it. The advancement in technology and the algorithms that run in the background are more advanced and the data they capture and release gives a tailored experience for the customer whilst ensuring the correct audience is targeted.

According to Google: “Remarketing helps you to reach people who have visited your website or used your app. Previous visitors or users can see your ads as they browse websites that are part of the Google Display Network, or as they search for terms related to your products or services on Google.”

When someone visits your site, a line of code on your site drops a cookie into their browser. Then, when this person visits other websites, the cookie notifies ad networks hosted by your retargeting provider to serve them your ad. This strategy allows your ad to be placed into a far-reaching ad network.

Remarketing, as a process then, is the use of cookies to track a consumer’s progress through your site with the intention of using this data to inform how you advertise to this specific consumer in the future.


Why is it important?

In essence, remarketing gives you another bite of the cherry.

Remarketing often gives the buyer a chance to finish what they started, especially when you factor in the possible reasons for cart abandonment. Time constraints, connectivity problems and payment issues can lead to a sale not being completed, the customer may then leave your page and a remarketing ad gives you an opportunity to reengage them.

Some research shows that there is a correlation between remarketing and an increase in conversion rates. This, being one of the main aims of any business therefore weighs heavily towards the importance of remarketing.

According to searchenginewatch, click-through-rates decline over time, and they will eventually lose some traction but those who choose to click on one of your ads – especially those who have seen it several times – are more likely to convert.

In reality the more that a user sees your brand, the more they gain trust in your business and the more willing they are to do business with you.

One of the biggest fears that many people have about remarketing is ad fatigue. This is something of an falsehood as remarketing ads generally hold a user’s interest for twice as long as traditional display ads because you are showing something that they have previously shown interest in.

The main benefits of remarketing are:

  • Increased access to people when they’re most likely to buy: You have the option to reach people after they’ve interacted with your business. This could be when they’re searching for your product, visiting other websites and using other mobile apps.
  • Large-scale reach: You can reach people on your remarketing lists across their devices as they browse over 2 million websites and mobile apps.
  • Efficient pricing: You can create high-performance remarketing campaigns with automated bid strategies such as target CPA and ROAS. Realtime bidding calculates the optimum bid for the person viewing your ad, helping you win the ad auction with the best possible price.
  • Easy ad creation: Produce multiple text, image and video ads for free with Ad gallery. With dynamic remarketing campaigns you can create dynamic ads which pair your feed with Ad gallery layouts, scaling beautiful ads across your entire set of products or services.
  • Insights into your campaign: You’ll have reports of how your campaigns are performing, where your ads are being shown and what price you’re paying.
  • Reach your customers when they’re searching for you: Show ads to previous visitors who are actively looking for your business on Google Search.

Types of visitor

Aside from the aforementioned problems that cause abandonment, there are also a variety of behavioral reasons that those who visit your site decide whether or not to convert. These visitors can often be placed in three categories.

There are those who follow a navigational path, where the aim of a search is to find a particular site already known to them. This could be a search for a business, for example, Tesco. Yes they will be tagged by cookies and targeted, but they may not be worth the CPC as they are already customers.

The second category of buyer is informational. This type of visitor is simply searching for research purposes; they are looking for suppliers of a product or service and may be looking for information on that item, such as price.

These first two groups are those that have fallen from the buyers circle and can be remarketed at in order to progress them further towards a purchase.

The final group are those in the transactional phase. These are the visitors whose intent is to perform as web-based activity such as downloading a document, receiving a quote or make a purchase.

When in the final stage of this cycle, the purchaser’s information can be stored and put to one side as an active buyer/lead. These are people who have actively engaged with your brand at the final stage of the buyer’s cycle. Although assumptions cannot be made easily, there is a high chance that should these people be retargeted they will convert again.

Targeting ‘hot’ leads

When it comes to remarketing there is something to be said for dividing your customers or potential customers into groups. The first group will often contain all of the ‘quick wins’, these are the customers who have shopped with you before, who are aware of the brand and the services or products that you offer.

When it comes to these customers the most important fact is that they have actually interacted and visited your website. Over 95% of all website visits do not end with a transaction so by targeting these people for a second time you are increasing you chances of a conversion. By retargeting them with a banner ad that contains your brand and a clear call-to-action (CTA) you are getting in front of them whenever they search.

According to Google there are many benefits to implementing a good remarketing strategy and indeed this should be a major component of your overall advertising plan.

Regardless of your immediate business aims, whether you’re looking to drive sales activity, increase registrations or promote awareness of your brand, remarketing can drive return on investment (ROI) for all types of advertisers.


Understand the buyer’s cycle

One of the main reasons that a customer decides not to buy is because they are at the wrong stage of the buying cycle. For businesses you have to evaluate this and quantify what sort of lead you are getting from the customer. Remarketing acts as a stabiliser almost. It allows you to view those who have come off the buying cycle and get them back on by displaying your products again. So what does the buyer’s cycle look like?

There are five stages to the buyer’s cycle and the most important thing for you to understand is where people are currently in the cycle, or where they left. The five stages are:

  1. Idea: The customer is aware that they need or want something.
  2. Insight: The customer considers the various places to obtain this product or service
  3. Indecision: The customer evaluates the best and safest decision for their particular needs and situation.
  4. Initial Purchase: The customer makes the decision to act on this decision and make a purchase.
  5. Ingrain: The customer likes the experience, and decides to do it again sometimes it is ingrained in both their sub-conscious and their browser.

Use the GDN and social media

When looking to remarket your ads and garner more traffic and conversions it is important that you choose the correct location for your ads. Currently the best places to run your ads are the Google Display Network (GDN) which according to the latest research, reaches 90% of Internet users worldwide, 65% of them, every single day and Facebook. The GDN boasts over a trillion impressions and serves over 1 billion users every month and Facebook ads offer a similarly impressive set of stats. Currently, Facebook has more than 1.7 billion users, over a billion of whom log in daily.

Build your brand

Businesses are constantly trying to stand out from the  competition and regardless of the size of your company the one thing you cant ignore is branding.

Brand building has long been considered a vital part of establishing your online presence, but this process can be difficult with smaller text ads. Implementing a remarketing strategy will not only give you a better chance at conversion and put your brand in front of a customer again, but it will do so in a new, more creative way.

Paid search will always be an important part of digital marketing, but the average individual is not going to learn much about your company from a dozen words. Display remarketing will allow you to build your brand awareness in a steady and consistent manner as more people are exposed to the ads you want them to see.

If there is one area where remarketing truly trumps other online marketing strategies, that would be brand building. The lack of support for visual elements in organic search and paid search ads can make it a challenge to build your brand.

With remarketing, you can get more creative and put out ads that your customers can remember you by.

Forget the funnel

The fundamentals of a traditional search marketing model tend to be step-by-step, where the buyer or the visitor is guides through a cycle or down a funnel until they convert. The aim for many businesses is to get them to the end of this process quickly and count the money. The danger with this is that you can offer a poor user experience and there are no further opportunities to convert.

Essentially, many customers fall off the chain if any step in the process does not appeal to them. A lot of online marketers therefore came to realise that the marketing funnel is outdated. Instead of operating in a linear fashion, the way CRO works  today means that customers can jump into your funnel at almost any stage.

Use AdWords

Google AdWords is a must for those looking to run successful remarketing campaigns and they offer a whole host of options including the ones mentioned below. Make sure that you choose the correct format for your audience and your objectives. AdWords currently offer:

  • Standard remarketing: Show ads to your past visitors as they browse Display Network websites and use Display Network apps.
  • Dynamic remarketing: Boost your results with dynamic remarketing, which takes remarketing to the next level with ads that include products or services that people viewed on your website.
  • Remarketing for mobile apps: Show ads to people who have used your mobile app or mobile website as they use other mobile apps or browse other mobile websites.
  • Remarketing lists for search ads: Show ads to your past visitors as they carry out follow-up searches for what they need on Google, after leaving your website.
  • Video remarketing: Show ads to people who have interacted with your videos or YouTube channel as they use YouTube and browse Display Network videos, websites and apps.
  •  Email-list remarketing: With Customer Match, upload a list of email addresses that your customers have given you. When those people are signed in to Google Search, YouTube or Gmail, you can show them ads.

Create lists

Lists tailored to your advertising goals are a must if you are to implement an effective strategy. It allows you the chance to further break down your audience and to achieve specific advertising goals.

One example of this could be that, you can create a “Shopping basket abandoners” list to show ads to the people who added something to their shopping basket but didn’t complete a transaction. This breakdown relates to the above point and allows you to group visitors who are at different stages of the cycle. You can create different ads for these groups and give yourself a better chance at converting.

Click Consult Remarketing 101

In terms of the customised ads that are now being displayed, many of them appear natural like  the recommendations below.

Click Consult - Remarketing 101

This image is based on a shopping search for a book. The customer has found their item and may now continue to purchase. The ad appears in the form of a ‘you have previously viewed’ or ‘you might also like’ image. This image links to the buying page of that particular product and sales can effectively ‘piggyback’ on the other products.

Other examples could be a ‘frequently bought together’ recommendation like the one below.

Remarketing 101 - Click Consult


The results from implementing an effective remarketing strategy can be hugely rewarding and the things that you should notice if you are doing it right are as follows.

The higher your click-through-rate the lower the cost-per-click – Both Google Display Network and Facebook place a quality rating on every link. In the past, unattractive ads were developed specifically to get free impressions without paying the cost-per-click. Unfortunately, this decreased the ad’s relevancy as well as reduced its click-through rates. Attractive remarketing ads with a high click-through rate will actually lower your CPC over time.

Retargeting can provide your business with an air of importance to visitors, since your ads will be displayed on some very popular sites. These ads can be anything from banner ads on standard sites to video ads on streaming sites. If you use retargeting as part of a diverse advertising campaign, it can be an unbelievably effective tool. It will allow you to consistently attract the attention of consumers who have already expressed interest in your business by visiting your site. If done correctly, retargeting can convert a sizable number of these consumers into leads and paying customers.

If you are in a competitive industry, then you have no doubt seen just how expensive search ads can be.

On average, a search ad will set you back by a few pounds. But in more competitive industries, those figures can run up to as much as £50 per click. These initial clicks can eat up budget fast. Remarketing allows a more targeted audience and more receptive audience to be reached and the value behind these clicks means that conversions should be higher.

In summary, if you’re not considering remarketing as a critical element for your AdWords campaigns you’re really missing out.

Click Consult is proud of its ethical approach to search and believes that pushing the boundaries of best practice forward is an important part of what makes it an award winning search marketing agency. To find out what Click Consult can do for your brand, contact us today; or for actionable industry insights, check our blog or resource pages.

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