What is remarketing?
Search Engine Marketing | August 6th, 2020
Contributor Dallen Clark. Copywriter & Marketing
Remarketing is marketing to people who have already shown an interest in your products or services, such as people who have been on your website but didn’t buy anything. It’s one of the best ways to reach people who are interested in what you have to offer, yet something that many businesses don’t do; or even know about. There are some pros and cons to remarketing, but when done right, it can be good for you and your customers.
How does remarketing work?
The most common way that remarketing is done is through browser cookies. These are small bits of data that track whether or not you’ve visited a site. These help you get ads related to sites you’ve visited instead of getting something completely random you may or may not have any interest in. The idea is that the ads will be more relevant to you. And more relevant ads mean you’ll be more likely to interact with them.
So does remarketing work? According to Marketo, about 96% of visitors that come to your site aren’t ready to buy. They might be doing research like comparing what you have to a competitor. Or maybe they just want more information. Even if you’re extremely thorough and try to cover everything about your topics, you could be missing the information they need. They might need to visit a few other sites first and learn a little more from each.
Remarketing can be effective in these cases because it works as a reminder that your site was one of them that they were looking at before. Once they move on to the later stages of The Buyer’s Journey, they might be looking to do comparisons between different companies, and your remarketing ad could add you to that list or maybe even make you the one they choose.
What kinds of remarketing are there?
One of the most common forms of remarketing is abandoned cart remarketing. Have you ever looked at an online store, added a few useful things to your cart, and then completely forgot about them? If you’re like a lot of people and log out or close your browser window when you’re done interneting for the day, those items might get lost in the web. Abandoned cart remarketing sends you a reminder that you left things in your cart. If you have an email account, it might be through email. Or it might appear when you go back to the site next time. Most people find these helpful, because it’s a reminder of something they want–or no longer want and can quickly X out.
Google Ads, the most popular kind of remarketing, uses browser cookies. If you’ve ever searched for something–say, looking for a flight to Melbourne for an upcoming Holiday–you might notice that ads for that flight suddenly appear on random sites. Ads like these can be really useful. Since ads are going to be shown on a site regardless, wouldn’t it be better if they were for something you might actually use? That’s Google’s philosophy; useful ads are better for everyone.
Even though Google Ads remarketing is done primarily through image ads, those images still have keywords attached to them. This means they can show up when those keywords are searched for. But they can also show up after visiting a site. That Melbourne flight could come up with a picture of a $60 discount while you’re searching for a definition, stalking your rivals, or searching for things to do at work that’s anything but work. And if you were planning on going anyway, that’s a couple of extra Bogan Burgers for your trip!
Facebook also does remarketing (they call it retargeting though) with Facebook ads. By adding a little piece of code–called a Facebook Pixel–to your website, Facebook can connect your website and your business page together. This means people who came looked at something on your site can get an ad for it later on Facebook. Facebook is very into ad targeting. Targeting also helps you, because you can show ads only to the people that want to see it, like people who viewed one of your pages.
E-commerce sites can get even more out of retargeting by connecting a product catalogue to their Facebook account. Say you visited a site and added a few things to the cart. Then you got a text about some awesome monkey wearing a top hat and playing horseshoes and left the page. You might forget all about that after watching through the monkey’s entire video catalogue; even though you did want what was in your cart. With Facebook retargeting, later when you’re on Facebook, you can see an ad for the items in your cart. And it can remind you that you forgot to actually finish checkout. So you click it and finish buying it. Pretty nifty, right?
Facebook goes to the next level and does Dynamic ads too. This means that you don’t have to create an ad for every product in your catalogue. Instead, if you connect the catalogue and say you want to target people who added to their cart, the Facebook Pixel will show that same product the person left in the cart automatically. Easy peasy!
Done wrong, remarketing is creepy
When done right, remarketing serves as a gentle reminder. You might’ve forgotten to finish the checkout process. Or had too many tabs open. Seeing the ad or a reminder email helps you finish getting something you already wanted.
Other times, it’s plain creepy.
Have you ever talked about something you’ve never searched for, then had it appear as an ad minutes later? While major corporations deny that your devices are listening to you, they may be stretching the truth. Many people have experienced this strange phenomenon, and it may be due to software embedded into apps and programs. And you may be giving permission without knowing it by accepting all permissions that apps request.
Some of these companies are alleged to activate your phone’s microphone and record what’s being said and then use that information to choose what ads to show you. So if you talked about getting a cat and that you’d need to buy some kind of cat food, you might suddenly see an ad for cat food, even if you hadn’t started searching yet. To reduce the chance of something like this happening, be aware of the permissions you give apps. If an app doesn’t need a permission to function, don’t give it!
How do I make sure my remarketing is effective without being stalkerish?
If you don’t want to come off as a creepy stalker, doing specific, targeted remarketing is the way to go. There are some things you can do to make it so your ads are only going to the right people.
First, don’t use sneaky, black-hat apps that activate microphones and sell people’s info. Just, don’t.
Second, be specific in targeting. Typically, remarketing is done based on page visits to a specific URL. So if someone visits a page for a product or the page to start checkout, they could get an ad for that product or service later. But what about accidental clicks? Or people that already decide what you have isn’t for them? They aren’t going to click an ad later for something they already decided was a no-go. Instead, you can use tools like Google Tag Manager to set events or behaviours, so you could show the ad if someone scrolls down to the bottom of the page, spends at least 10 seconds there, starts to enter their payment details, and so on. You’ll tend to get much better ROI with these methods. But they also take time to set up all these extra steps as well as some technical know-how.
Third, put time limits on your remarketing campaigns. If you search for weight loss pills and then get an ad for some a year and a half later when you’ve already lost all the weight (Way to go!) that’d be quite rude! Facebook uses 28 days for product views and 14 days for adding to cart as their standard, but you can adjust that to what makes sense for your target audience. Google defaults to 30 days and maxes out at 540 days, so choose what works best for your target audience.
How can I set up remarketing?
If you’re keen to try remarketing, there are a few ways that you can do it. One is to get a program to do abandoned cart remarketing for you. There are several options for this, each with their own features and fee structure. You can also set up a Google Ads account and create Remarketing ads. The benefit of Google Ads is that the platform is free to use and you only pay for the ads through clicks/views/etc. But it also has a steeper learning curve and takes an investment of time and energy to learn. Fortunately, the team here at Back9 can help. We have a Google Ads certified team that will handle your remarketing and adjust it to make it more effective over time. We’re also experienced in Facebook Ads and can make highly-targeted audiences so you can get the most from your advertising dollar. Get in touch today to set up a meeting and let’s talk about how to make your site better!Back