Remarketing has a place in nearly any marketing plan, as it’s both among the lowest funnel and most versatile campaign types out there.
If you’re considering investing in remarketing – or if you’re already investing – make sure that you maximize returns by following the tips below.
1. Avoid Junk-in-Junk Out Syndrome
Ever heard the old saying “junk in, junk out”?
Think about remarketing as the river that feeds off of multiple different streams. If one of those streams becomes polluted, then there’s bound to be trouble downstream.
A remarketing campaign is re-engaging traffic that has already engaged with your content. If the traffic was never relevant in the first place, then re-engaging it probably isn’t going to convert it.
There are several reasons why a remarketing campaign might not be working optimally and one of those reasons is that one of the initial traffic sources may not be sending good traffic.
So how do you get to the root of that?
Was Remarketing Initially Working Well but Then Dropped Off?
If remarketing used to perform well but then started spiraling, take a look at any new campaigns or traffic sources that ramped up around the time that remarketing started sputtering.
You might find a smoking gun. It might not even necessarily be something that the marketing team launched – it could be, for instance, a news story that links to the website.
If Remarketing Hasn’t Ever Worked Well…
Review site analytics to see if anything sticks out. Look for any sources, landing pages, and campaigns that don’t seem to drive quality traffic.
The problem may not be as broad as a channel or a campaign. It could be a handful of keywords that are too broad.
Even more likely, it could be that your audiences need to be segmented further. (More on that in a few paragraphs.)
Be Proactive About Traffic Drivers
This is one of the many good reasons to be really proactive and thoughtful about the types of traffic that you are driving to your site across all channels and how you’re re-engaging that traffic.
Typically, even if the traffic is “free,” quality is better than quantity.
Occasionally, I come across companies that are leveraging content and social strategies that are designed to draw a crowd but not necessarily the right crowd.
Think giveaways of big fancy items that everyone wants – not just your prospects. If your company should decide to run one of those, you might want to consider proactively excluding those from your remarketing campaign, or at least segmenting them out into a separate ad set or ad group.
2. Analyze, Analyze, Analyze & Segment
Many digital media managers don’t have control over every aspect of marketing. It’s downright impossible to control all of the external factors that could result in traffic to your website.
We can control the audiences that we use, though. (Assuming the traffic pool is large enough.)
Arguably the most important piece of remarketing can be boiled down to the audiences in use.
The goal with audiences should be to define varying tiers of intent based upon actions taken and level of engagement.
You can then align those audiences with the purchase funnel to ensure that you’re delivering the right content at the right time.
To determine what those audiences should be, you must analyze your data and then analyze some more.
Here are a few examples of ways that you can use your data to create new audiences:
- Build custom reports to look at things like time on site, average page depth, and average number of sessions per user, to name a few. As you look at these things, you’ll often see a breakpoint where audiences are more likely to convert, which will give you a sense for the parameters you should use to build a high-intent audience.
- Build audiences around the demographics that are most likely to convert.
- Build audiences around your funnel milestones to track the stages of the buying cycle. Use their activity on site to help define what content they should receive next.
- Build separate audiences off of people that visit pages that signal intent – such as pricing pages, or people who added items to their cart.
- Build audiences based on different traffic drivers, content pages, and micro-conversions. Use your targeting methods to your advantage. If you’re driving traffic from LinkedIn geared toward business owners of tech companies, use that knowledge to your advantage when you re-engage them. If you know they were seeking information about adventure vacations based upon the guide that they downloaded, use that when you re-engage them. You don’t want their second experience to be less personalized than the first.
- Build audiences from your CRM to re-engage leads that have fallen through the cracks, or to warm an audience in advance of outreach.
- Segment audiences by recency, if possible. It is almost always the case that someone that visited your site within the last 7 days is going to be more likely to convert than someone that visited your website 29 days ago. A lot of audiences tend to start with past 30 days as a baseline, but more recent audiences often convert better and cheaper.
- Create lookalike audiences from purchasers, especially high-value customers and repeat purchasers.
3. Assess Your Content & How Audiences Engage With It
In Google Analytics, you can set up your audiences to be used as secondary dimensions and custom segments, which then opens up a world of possibility for analyzing performance.
With that, you can dig into how certain audiences engage with content.
For instance, you can look at:
- Which landing pages perform best.
- Which pages are most common exit pages.
- What content pieces they commonly navigate through.
- How they engage with events, what content formats they tend to prefer.
- What site searches they’re performing.
You can then use all of this information to your benefit, in order to make updates to the information and content pieces delivered to each audience to help them find what they are looking for even quicker and to incite conversion.
4. Create Relevance Between the Audience & Your Ads
The great thing about super-segmenting your audiences is that you now have the opportunity to create hyper-relevant ads that speak to that audience.
With text ads, you have the opportunity to use audiences to dynamically change the text in the ad in order to really speak to the prospect.
With image ads, you should create something relevant to the audience and where they are in the purchase funnel.
Generic ads don’t do justice to all of the work that you’ve put into understanding and segmenting your audiences.
5. Choosing Your Offer
Remarketing with an offer can definitely help solicit conversion – but at what cost?
You don’t want to train customers to abandon their carts with the expectation of receiving a coupon code as a result.
However, some audiences are genuinely hesitant and might be compelled if they could receive a discount. So how can you strategically offer discounts?
Here are a few options that you might consider:
- Segment prior purchasers from net-new purchasers and offer discounts only to audiences that have never purchased before.
- Offer product-specific discounts on net new products or product launches to get some traction.
- Offer discounts to prior purchasers only in certain situations, such as when repeat purchasers haven’t purchased after an extended amount of time.
- Offer discounts as an upsell for a limited amount of time, to encourage repeat purchases.
- Use minimum spend thresholds with discount codes.
6. Think Big Picture
Remarketing can play a big cross-channel role and doesn’t have to be confined to only display remarketing.
Think about how remarketing audiences can be used across paid social, paid search, YouTube, shopping and display to drive action and to allow you to bid more aggressively.
Bonus: Remarketing lists are a great way to create cross-channel content paths to ensure that no matter where your prospect sees an ad, they are seeing an ad that corresponds to the next stage in the journey rather than a redundant ad for content that they’ve already downloaded through a different channel.
7. Use Remarketing to Cast a Wider Net
Remarketing lists can be a great way to qualify visitors that otherwise haven’t given enough information to show qualification.
For example, broader, higher-funnel terms with lower intent can be paired with high-intent remarketing lists to capture volume on those terms without driving wildly low-intent traffic.
Likewise, remarketing lists can be layered into DSA campaigns to allow you to capture traffic from qualified prospects on keywords that you don’t have in the account, all while also identifying new terms.
Think of remarketing lists almost like training wheels for the campaigns you’d like to test but that you fear may be too high-funnel.
8. Upsell & Cross-Sell
The most common remarketing set-up includes an exclusion list for all purchasers, but that doesn’t always make sense.
While it is a poor practice to continually show an ad for a product that’s already been purchased, there are still many other use cases.
Instead of blanket excluding all purchasers, think about how they can be re-engaged to buy accessories and other products relevant to their interest.
9. Make Sure You’re Adding Incremental Value
One of the cardinal sins of remarketing is to allow it to cannibalize results from another top performing campaign.
To be proactive, take a look at campaigns and channels that are driving a lot of sales through repeat purchasers and sculpt audiences and timing around those.
For example, if email tends to do a good job of upselling customers within 3 days of making their purchase, you may want to hold off on using ads to upsell until after 3 days.
Another option is to test remarketing but then monitor purchase volume from repeat purchases and ensure that remarketing is driving an incremental volume once it launches. It will likely cannibalize some and that’s usually OK as long as it’s profitable.
If it’s cannibalizing a large volume, especially from a paid channel, then you may want to consider reconfiguring your audiences to increase profitability on the whole.