It’s that time of year again for marketers. The holiday season is quickly approaching, and digital marketers are developing their final strategies for targeting holiday shoppers. But, based on my conversations with companies over the past few months, I know there is one tactic marketers are overlooking, or are scared of implementing. Remarketing in AdWords.
If you’re not familiar with Remarketing, it enables you to target people across Google’s Display Network that you know already visited your website. The Display Network consists of any website that has partnered with Google to provide AdWords ads, and it includes Google properties like YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, etc. The Display Network reaches approximately 70% of internet users globally. Remarketing gives you an important second chance to get in front of prospective customers as they browse the web.
For example, if I visited your website looking for LED TV’s, but never converted, you could provide targeted ads to me as I browse the web. In addition, since you know I was already looking at LED TV’s, your ad could provide very specific offers, based on that information. For example, you might choose to show me a 15% off discount for certain LED TV brands. Sounds smart, doesn’t it? Well, you can implement campaigns like this too, and I think you should this holiday season.
Remarketing often makes a lot of sense, especially during the holiday season. Think about how many prospective customers you’ll be driving to your site leading up to the holidays via email, paid search, organic search, Facebook, Twitter, etc. And with the average conversion rate for ecommerce websites at 1.5-2%, that means a lot of people will be leaving your site without buying. Remarketing to these prospective customers could increase transactions, revenue, your customer base, etc.
Common Remarketing Concerns – Too Confusing and Too Creepy
Since remarketing first launched, I’ve heard several concerns about running campaigns, including that it’s confusing to set up, too hard to launch, etc. Also, there are privacy concerns, with the risk of creeping people out as you follow them around the web.
I’ll address the setup first. I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t be afraid of setting up remarketing campaigns. Last year I wrote a thorough, step by step tutorial for setting up a remarketing campaign that can help you get up and running quickly. As for privacy concerns, you should craft your remarketing strategy wisely, and make sure you don’t go too far with your messaging. I covered this in my tutorial as well, so I won’t go in-depth here. The core point is that just because you know people were on your site doesn’t mean you should focus on that in your ads. That’s the easiest way to make prospective customers feel uncomfortable about your brand. For example, “We know you like LED TV’s from Samsung, come back now!”
A Note About Custom Combinations
When brainstorming your own remarketing campaigns, you’ll inevitably come across the “already converted issue”. For example, if you want to remarket to people that visited your site, what happens if someone already converted? You surely don’t want to embarrass your company by providing ads with special offers, when those visitors already completed a transaction. That’s a common concern I hear from marketers across companies.
For this situation, you can use custom combinations to exclude a certain “audience”, which would include people who already completed a transaction. I recently published a second tutorial covering how to set up custom combinations in case you need help while building your own campaigns. The tutorial covers how to exclude visitors that converted, since that’s a common scenario for ecommerce marketers. Between both tutorials, my hope is that you can get up and running quickly.
Three Ways to Use Remarketing This Holiday Season
With an introduction to remarketing out of the way, let’s focus on what you can do this holiday season to drive prospective customers back to your site to buy.
1- Remarket to Visitors of Key Categories
Every ecommerce website has its star categories. These categories often receive a lot of traffic via multiple channels, and are very important to the company at hand. But let’s face it, not everyone is in buying mode during their first visit. In order to reach visitors that don’t convert after they leave your website, you can set up remarketing campaigns by category, to get them back to your site.
For example, if you were selling electronics, you could set up remarketing campaigns for TV’s, DVD Players, Laptops, Digital Cameras, etc. Then, if someone visits the TV section of your site and leaves before converting, you can provide targeted ads to them as they browse the web (via Google’s Display Network). The benefit of setting this up by category is that your ads could be focused on the category at hand, including special offers for each category. Also, you can drive visitors to specific campaign landing pages, knowing they visited a certain section of your site.
Again, just make sure you set up custom combinations to exclude visitors that already converted. You definitely don’t want to provide ads to this “audience”, since they already completed a transaction. You could end up looking foolish with your messaging, or worse, providing special offers to people that can’t take advantage of them since they already completed a transaction.
2 -Remarketing In Conjunction with Holiday Email Marketing
Many ecommerce retailers have built up strong, in-house email lists. In my opinion, a robust and scrubbed in-house email list is worth its weight in gold. And that’s especially the case leading up the holidays. But, as you drive many visitors to your website, landing pages, or category pages via email, not everyone will buy during their initial visit. Using remarketing in conjunction with email marketing is a smart way to get back in front of those visitors as they browse the web. In addition, you’ll have access to important information about the audience, which I’ll cover in more detail below.
Let’s say you have a new product line that’s launching this holiday season. If you drive visitors to a landing page for the new product line, you could use remarketing to present ads to them as they browse the web (again, the ones that haven’t converted). You’ll know a few key things about this audience that you can utilize in your remarketing campaign. First, they subscribe to your email newsletter, which means they already know of your company and/or brand. Second, they were on your site checking out your new product line. Third, they might have been exposed to a special offer already (if your email marketing presented a special offer). Using these three pieces of information, you could craft a remarketing strategy to get them back to your site to buy. The three pieces of information could influence the offer, the ad, and the landing page you drive them to. Just remember to not go too far with your messaging. It’s a slippery slope.
3- Checkout Abandoners
Visitors abandon the checkout process more than ecommerce marketers would like to see (and more than most people think). For marketers, that’s money left on the table. Using remarketing, you could create an audience that contains visitors that added products to their carts, started the checkout process, but never completed the transaction. Using this approach, you can get back in front of these prospective customers with targeted messaging, special offers, discounts, etc.
Again, you would definitely want to use custom combinations for this scenario, since you’ll be tagging all visitors that start the checkout process. Using custom combinations, you can make sure that visitors who converted will not be part of your remarketing campaign. If you leave this step out, you can mistakenly provide ads to all visitors that started the checkout process. This can be an embarrassing situation, and one that’s easily avoidable.
Remarketing – A New Weapon in Your Holiday Marketing Arsenal
I hope after going through this blog post, you are starting to brainstorm various ways to use remarketing during the holiday season. I recommend going through the tutorials I listed in this post in order to get familiar with the setup process. Once you do, you can develop custom remarketing strategies for reaching visitors that left your website without converting. So gather your team and get started today!