When you browse the Internet, have you ever noticed that certain companies seem to be following you around? You visit one website, and then all the sudden, you start seeing ads for them on Facebook, and start seeing suggestions to like their page in your feed? As creepy as it may be, it’s intentional, and that’s just part of marketing these days.
Also known as retargeting, remarketing refers to that very process I just described. If you visit one site, and then go on to the next one, you may start seeing ads for that first website on the second one. What goes on behind the scenes to make it work is a bit complex, but you can start making it work for your business, too.
How Remarketing Works
Before you can start remarketing on your website, you have to install a piece of code on your website. It’s small, and won’t affect the way your website runs – and users won’t have a clue it’s there.
After that code is there, every time you get a new visitor, a cookie will be dropped on their computer. At that point, each cookied visitor will continue to see ads for your site via your retargeting service provider, whenever they go on about their day browsing other websites.
How Remarketing is Different from Standard Banner Ads
The main difference between traditional banner ads and remarketing is that remarketing is personalized based on your previous browsing history. Standard banner ads are served as a guess based on your profile – including your age, gender, and interests.
(Want a peek at who Google thinks you are? Check out Ad Preferences in your Google account. When you turn on ad personalization, you can add the topics you’re most interested in and see the profile Google has for you. If you’ve gotta look at ads on the Internet, you may as well make them better suited to you, right?)
So if I visit a website, I’ll see some kind of generic ad because I fit the profile, but I’m not necessarily interested in whatever it is the ad is promoting. With retargeting, I only see ads after I’ve visited a website, and thus shown some kind of interest in what they have to offer.
Why You Need Remarketing
Like any other investment you make in marketing and advertising, the main purpose is to make money. While there’s a small percentage of people who find the principles of remarketing creepy, the rest of them actually respond to them.
Why Remarketing Works
Remarketing works for a number of reasons:
- Constant exposure to brand ads helps increase brand awareness and recognition
- Ads drive repeat traffic to your website; sales are generally made on the first visit to a website. ⅔ of website visitors who visit a site again and don’t make a purchase on the first visit end up making a purchase.
- Improves ROI since there are more user touchpoints
In today’s world, it pays to be persistent. As humans, our attention spans are getting shorter, and it seems there’s always something new, different, or better, to draw our attention away from what we’re focused on. That’s why it’s important to send your prospects and customers little reminders that you’re still there – and remarketing accomplishes just that.
Types of Remarketing
- Site remarketing: This is likely the most popular form of remarketing because it is so easy. Site remarketing displays and add after a visitor leaves your site.
- Search remarketing: Search remarketing targets users who are searching certain keywords and phrases. These people are showing interests in your industry and are likely looking for more information or a solution to a problem.
- Social media remarketing: Social media remarketing displays remarketing ads on your social network. If you visit a website and then immediately see their ads on Facebook, the company is using social media remarketing.
- Email remarketing: If you use Gmail, you’ll notice contextual ads typically based on what’s in your email content. But you can also remarket on that platform.
Segmentations of Remarketing
Within each type of remarketing, there a segmentation options you can use to increase customization and improve conversion rate.
- General visitors: That’s anyone who visits your website.
- Specific product visitors: These are visitors who’ve dug a bit deeper in your website and visited a specific product page.
- Abandoned shopping cart visitors: These are people who’ve visited your site and gone “shopping”. They’ve added at least one item to their shopping cart, but for some reason or another never finished the checkout process. When someone takes the time to put things in their cart, that’s a strong indicator of interest, so using this technique can generally get someone to convert on a later visit.
- Previous customers: These are people who’ve made a purchase on your site at some point. It’s easier to sell to someone who’s already made a purchase than it is to sell to a new customer, so it’s essential to target them.
Measuring Remarketing Success
It’s important to measure your results with retargeting, just like you’d measure it with any other kind of digital ad spend. Key metrics to look for and track include:
- Click-through rate (CTR): The number of times an ad was clicked, divided by the number of impressions served.
- Cost per click (CPC): The total budget for the campaign divided by the total number of clicks. For example, if you spent $100 and got 2,000 clicks, then have a CPC of 5 cents.
- Effective cost per thousand impressions (eCPM): Take a look at how much the campaign earned you, and then divide it by the total number of impressions. Multiply that number by 1,000.
- Effective cost per acquisition (eCPA): Take a look at how much you spent on the campaign. Divide it by the impressions served. Then multiply it by the click through rate, and then the conversion rate. Though complex, this number should give you an idea of what you paid for ads on a cost per action basis.
- Return on investment (ROI): This is the most important metric you need to watch. How much money did you make from your investment? Subtract the cost of your investment from that number, and then divide it by the cost of your investment. If you made $1,000, and invested $100, your formula would be ($1000-$100)/$100 or 9. That means you’re making 9x what you invest, making it one heck of a ROI.
Where You Can Use Remarketing
There are a lot of remarketing companies on the net today, but here are a few options to get you started.
- Google: Of course you can create remarketing campaigns with the largest online advertiser. Create and manage your remarketing campaign through your Google AdWords account.
- Facebook: Once you install a conversion pixel on your website (that’s another small piece of code like the one you need for remarketing in general), you can create ads based on audiences of people who’ve already visited your website in the past.
- AdRoll: This is a great option because it allows you to work with multiple advertising platforms at once, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo. With it, you can reach almost everyone on the Internet.
- Perfect Audience: This is a great option for small businesses because it’s incredibly simple. You don’t need a large budget to get started, and the platform works with a number of popular eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, and WordPress.
Remarketing Tips and Tricks
If you’ve decided it’s time to work remarketing into your strategy, I’ll leave you with some tips and tricks to improve your results. First, always include a strong call to action. Keep your ads consistent with your brand standards and identity – use the same colors and logo you would elsewhere. Use an ad that works well across multiple ad sizes, to maintain a consistent message while maximizing your placement options. It’s important to consider that not all sites will support all ad formats. Plus, use multiple ad formats. If you decide to make your main ad animated, you should also include an image and text version in the ad group, so you still get visibility on sites that don’t show animated or image ads. And, of course, split test your ads, and adjust according to the results.