Getting Smart with AdWords Re-Marketing

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This post is a little lighter than I originally planned but should hopefully make you both consider how you could use Google AdWords remarketing for your campaigns and how you can use it smarter to reach a larger audience instead of using a third party platform. I think Google Remarketing code is fairly cool because it allows SMEs, Agencies and Consultants the ability to replicate what larger more expensive advertising platforms have been doing for years with nothing more than just a little extra campaign planning and some testing…

I need to make it clear that Google AdWords remarketing is not a silver bullet because it only works on their content placement network, but it is very powerful when used effectively. I admit that it would be great if it could be used to influence some of the variations of broad match in the search results. Google also have referred to it as interest based advertising on their help guide which can be found here, but I also reviewed the success of 2 of my campaigns below that had been using remarketing.

My 2 Remarketing campaigns reviewed

I took a quick comparison of 2 different campaigns the first was a business brand and the second was a consumer brand so each had a significantly different outcome and objective. I found that typically CTR on the remarketing ads are lower and their CPC rates are higher which may upset your standard campaign metrics but you need to evaluate remarketing on its benefit of re-targeting visitors once they have left your site. They didn’t convert but think of it as both a branding exercise and a 2nd chance to get that lead/sale you missed the first time.

Remarketing Stats for a Business Brand

  • CTR is 38% lower
  • CPC is 21% higher
  • Impressions are 14% higher

Remarketing Stats for a Consumer Brand

  • CTR is 22% lower
  • CPC is 6% higher
  • Impressions are 4345% lower
  • Conversion rate is 84% lower
  • Cost per Conversion is 49% higher

I found that the consumer brand conversion rates are a little concerning compared to the other content placement campaigns, but I made sure I didn’t skew my content placement stats by creating a new separate campaign for my remarketing tests. While the remarketing stats are not as warm and fuzzy you can examine and review the quality of the remarketing leads/sales compared to your standard content placement. It’s important to always think more openly and constantly measure your remarketing efforts differently and look for the golden lining. New technologies like AdWords remarketing require you to be positive and remember it’s important that you test your messages displayed more with remarketing campaigns as you want to entice the visitors back.

Campaign Remarketing Audience Buckets

I found that even with much larger Business remarketing audience there were a far lower number of impressions compared to the Consumer brand so a larger bucket size does not guarantee significant increase in exposure on the content placement network. While the consumer brand did have a larger AdWords budget it was still surprising to see such a large variance with the far smaller remarketing audience. The business brand’s audience remarketing bucket was 92% larger than the consumer brand which I expected would generate more impressions overall but was incorrectly assumed.

Remarketing helps brand exposure

But I discovered that while each member of the business remarketing audience was exposed to around 12.7 ad impressions which were far higher than the consumer campaign which only showed 7.8 impressions on average to each audience member. So the engagement was far lower in the business which indicates that remarketing is more suitable for consumer facing businesses but is a great way to businesses to use in a branding campaign, there are a number of companies using it as a very cost effective way to build their brand.

Remarketing harder with business audiences

It can be assumed that much of the issue lies in that most all of the conversions on business campaigns are during business hours so out of hours but it’s impossible to currently to gauge how many of your campaign remarketing cookies are set outside business hours or on another PC. The other issue that remarketing doesn’t solve is the multiple devices that people use to research wether it’s their personal computer or a secure office computer that doesn’t accept cookies. Remarketing campaigns with businesses seem to struggle when standard metrics are used to measure success, it can be slower to build the lists minimum 500 user audience, more expensive and can be more time consuming to optimise.

How to build a larger Audience Remarketing Bucket?

One of the reasons that the Ad platforms are able to offer such a great product is because of their audience reach and ability to segment the total audience to find suitable niche users. You can use remarketing by following some of their methods by using Google Trends for Websites where you can find out what similar websites your audience is visiting and reach out to ask if they can add your remarketing code to a single page or multiple parts of their website. You can see how strategy also works for competitors so if you were to want to expand Search Engine Journal’s audience you can see what other sites their users visited that you should try and get your remarketing code on. How much you might have to offer for the placement of the code is dependent on relationships and your negotiation ability with the various sites and blogs. But you will find that if you both have a similar audience and both running a content placement campaign you might even consider placing each other’s remarketing code on the others site for free.

Remarketing Safe Guards

Google AdWords is a little difficult to use as it allows you to quickly flood your visitors with your banner on every site they visit that displays Google Adsense. It’s important to both from a privacy and a budget perspective to examine what is the average time to conversion from your standard Google content placement campaign and use your Google Analytics goal data to define the life of the remarketing cookie. You have to be careful that your branding campaign doesn’t turn into a creepy stalking campaign so you also need to ensure once the user has purchased or contacted your business they are no longer remarketed to.

So there you have it now go out and play with it and see if you can get that message right to reach those consumers who arrived at the final step of your shopping cart but decided not to purchase right away. Use remarketing to try something fresh like a 5% discount if they come back and purchase within 2 days, also try banners remind them that all payments or shipments are guaranteed when you buy direct/online.

David Iwanow

David Iwanow

Director of Strategy at BlueGlass
David has joined BlueGlass London as Director of Strategy having spent the last 3 years in Amsterdam, Netherlands working with the ebay classifieds group as... Read Full Bio
David Iwanow
David Iwanow
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  • Pranav Baghel

    Really i appreciate the effort you made to share the knowledge.The topic here i found was really effective to the topic which i was researching for a long time.

  • Green Card Lottery

    Thank you for sharing useful information. Now a days prefer getting organic traffic compared to paid one. What is your opinion about it?

    • David Iwanow

      it can depend on the industry, but optimisation conversation rates is much easier with paid traffic but nothing is stopping you from building a retargeting campaign to focus on organic visitors.

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  • Robert Moore

    Am I right in saying that if you have a remarketing campaign it only works on sites in your display network. What I mean is that I am targeting a few websites in managed placements. So I take it that only visitors to those websites will see the ad again. If so then for B2B advertising remarketing is not that effective

    • David Iwanow

      Robert it only works in the Adsense boxes so it should also work in managed placements but use you are correct that it will only work in those websites you are managing placements.

      But the point is that using the Google Trends for Websites or Google Ad Planner you can find other similar/relevant sites you can start testing you remarketing with. You create it with its own campaign so it doesn’t skew your stats for your current campaigns and you should be fine.

    • David Iwanow

      Robert it only works in the Adsense boxes so it should also work in managed placements but use you are correct that it will only work in those websites you are managing placements.

      But the point is that using the Google Trends for Websites or Google Ad Planner you can find other similar/relevant sites you can start testing you remarketing with. You create it with its own campaign so it doesn’t skew your stats for your current campaigns and you should be fine.

  • Lucas

    Hi David
    Do you now if there is some third company who offers a service of optimization fo Display Campaigns? not with remarketing targeting, but with contextual Keywors targeting.
    I´m looking for one service that optimize by placement, something like the domain A doesn´t get conversion so this domain will receive a lower CPC o wll be put as a ngative placemente, and with the domain B who get a lot of conversions increase the CPC.