Remarketing, or retargeting, offers a powerful way to reach previous website visitors using Google AdWords.
By tagging site visitors who view selected website pages during their visit, we can reach out to them whilst they browse other sites – such as the Daily Mail, Guardian, YouTube and so on. We can then display Image Ads to this defined audience and encourage them to return to the site.
There are many reasons why this PPC strategy is perfect for many campaigns:
- Re-engage visitors with your brand
- Encourage them to view a new product range
- Offer an extra incentive to convert
- Present fresh content
- Launch a new season sale
- Cross-sell to similar products or services
- Raise awareness of a promotion
Google is continually developing their functionality for remarketing and their system evolves virtually every week. Here’s a few of my favourite best practices for remarketing in AdWords.
Best Practice #1: Use all Display Banner Ad Sizes
Because your remarketing image ads have the potential to show on a wide range of websites, you need to ensure your campaign is flexible. Certain sites in Google’s Display Network might use skyscraper Ads, others will use leaderboards. Some will use large Images, some small. So, create the full list of sizes. Here’s the current full list for your reference.
- Banner: 468 x 60
- Leaderboard: 728 x 90
- Square: 250 x 250
- Small square: 200 x 200
- Large rectangle: 336 x 280
- Inline rectangle: 300 x 250
- Skyscraper: 120 x 600
- Wide skyscraper: 160 x 600
- Half-page: 300 x 600
Best Practice #2: Test Static, Animated & Flash Remarketing Ads
Much like the range of banner sizes, you can develop both ‘Static’ and ‘Animated’ images, as well as Flash. Google have also just released Mobile Ads too. Often we find static images convey your message well – however animated can work just a well depending on the campaign. No one likes an OTT animation though, so take it easy!
Best Practice #3: Use Text Ads
Don’t rely solely on Image Ads. Remarketing campaigns can also use Text Ads. Again, these will be compatible with more sites and will perform differently – very often reaching a significantly larger audience!
Best Practice #4: Remarketing in AdWords vs. Analytics
You can now create and define audience lists from either the AdWords, or from Analytics.
Within AdWords you can add specific remarketing scripts to specific website pages. This will then ‘tag’ visitors who browse these key pages.
Remarketing via Google Analytics offers further flexibility as it utilises the modified analytics script likely already placed on every page in your site. For example, in Analytics we are able to set audience lists targeting:
- Specific visitor segments. These report on visitor data across sessions. For example, you could target a visitor segment containing visitors who have spent over 10 minutes on-site, have abandoned their shopping cart and have not transacted in the past 7 days.
- All visitors who have completed a conversion goal. This can be used to target visitors who downloaded media such as a whitepaper or pricing PDF, or simply completed an enquiry form.
Best Practice #5: Create Custom Combinations
Remarketing in AdWords allows us to create complex combinations, ensuring a tight set of visitors are retargeted. This means you can reach people who perhaps viewed page X but NOT page Y.
For example I’d like to remarket to everyone who added a product to their basket but did NOT complete the checkout process. We might like to give these people a special discount code to incentivise them to return and complete their purchase.
Custom combinations also help us cross sell. Perhaps, for example, a previous visitor bought a printer. Four weeks later we could display Ads to advertise our range of printer cartridges and hopefully create a sale out of very little!
Best Practice #6: Segment by Time Duration & List Membership
You’ll want to experiment with differing periods of time since the visitor last used your site. This is important to ensure your Ads remain relevant. Depending on the criteria or campaign a short duration since their last visit might be suitable – perhaps even as short as a few days.
The maximum is 540 days, which might be useful for a Christmas promotions, or for services with a long sales cycle.
Remember if a visitor comes back, the clock is reset and the visitor remains on the list.
Best Practice #7: Adjust Bids According to Response
Don’t bid the same for every campaign. You need to optimise depending on your list, the custom combination, the size of audiences and the overall duration. With so many variables it’s important to optimise the remarketing campaigns accordingly.
Best Practice #8: Be Specific
You should have nicely segmented audiences by now, so let’s display relevant Ads to fit that audience. If someone was looking at the beds on your site, it’d be good to show them your latest top-selling product. They might be less responsive to a message concerning an entirely different product range.
Best Practice #9: Refine Where Your Ads Appear
Given than you have tagged a specific person and added them to your remarketing list, your Ads will appear by default to them across a huge range of sites within Google’s display network. Thus, you may like to refine this and prevent Ads from being shown in certain sites.
You’ll always reach the right people of course, but refining where your ads are displayed can help performance. Raising or lowering bids for different locations can be just one example.
Best Practice #10: Create a Strong Call to Action
The idea is to reengage previous visitors with your brand, so ensure you create a strong – but also fresh – call to action. Really we need to be giving some new, something they haven’t already seen on their last visit to the site, such as a new service or USP, a fresh offer, a new product. These are likely to be the most attractive and therefore the most likely to convert. Of course, you still need to mirror the same look and feel of the site in order to trigger brand recognition, so don’t deviate too much!
That’s 10 ideas – Should be plenty to think about and keep you busy!
Just one more? Okay, here comes number 11 >
Best Practice #11: Frequency Caps
No one likes to be harassed or stalked around the interweb. So quickly and easily cap the number of times you show an Ad to someone each day.