What is re-targeting / re-marketing?

You know how you’re shopping on [some big site – Canadian Tire, Walmart etc.], you leave the site, and suddenly there are ads following you around the internet asking you to come back and buy that shirt. That’s remarketing.

Remarketing is a great way of re-engaging visitors who have visited your website previously. Let’s say you do an ad campaign and send a ton of visits to your website. In the past, if you didn’t convert the site visitor right away then you were out of luck. With remarketing you have the ability to target that site visitor AFTER they have left your site.

How does it work?

Remarketing works by installing a piece of code on each page of your website. Every time a unique visitor lands on a page they are added to a “remarketing list”. These lists can be broad (so you can re-target every visitor with the same ads) or you can segment your lists based on different factors such as location (ie different cities), interest in specific products or services.

Why should a business owner or marketing manager consider re-targeting or re-marketing as part of their strategy?

Re-marketing should be part of most digital ad campaigns. There are many benefits including:

  • Extremely cost-effective. Generally, the cost-per-click doesn’t cost more than $2-3. This helps to keep costs down so you can get more conversions.
  • You only pay when someone clicks. This means that every time someone sees your ad you aren’t actually paying anything until they click. This is great for visibility – impressions are free!

Does it only work well for retail businesses or those that are selling things online? Or can re-marketing work for any kind of business?

Remarketing can work for any business! We’ve set up campaigns for e-commerce retailers, but also for any business that sells products, services or needs to generate leads. In fact, even if you just want to promote your brand it’s still a great option.

What options / platforms can you use for re-marketing?

There are many different ad exchanges that offer remarketing. My two favourite platforms are:

  • Google AdWords – their network is GIGANTIC (over 2 million sites) and they have many different ad formats available for remarketing including:
    • Standard remarketing (ie banner ads on Google Network sites)
    • Remarketing lists for search ads (show your ads on Google Search)
    • Video remarketing (on YouTube)
    • E-mail List Remarketing (upload a list and show ads to users based on their IP address)
  • AdRoll – very easy to use, you can setup:
    • Standard remarketing
    • Social remarketing (ie on Facebook)
    • E-mail List remarketing

How much is a reasonable budget, or a minimum spend?

A minimum budget for remarketing would be in the $150-$200 per month range. I wouldn’t recommend any lower than that. That should generally get you at least 120-150 clicks to your website, along with 75,000-100,000 impressions.

What are some important things to keep in mind?

  • – You can use text-only ads, but the image ads are much higher converting and a great opportunity to reinforce your branding!
  • – Setup frequency capping. This will allow you to set a maximum amount of times a user would see your ad in a given time period. For example, you can limit 15 impressions per week per user. This can help avoid harassing someone with your ad over and over.
  • – Your audience (or list) will need to hit 100 members before your ads will show. This can take a little bit of time depending on the traffic you get to your website. If you notice your ads aren’t active after 2 weeks or so make sure all the settings are correct and the tag is installed properly on your site.
  • – Keep an eye on the campaign stats. Check back every few days and see how it’s performing. Is it getting any clicks/impressions OR is it hitting the max budget. Make adjustments as needed.

How can you measure your results and learn from the campaigns?

– Set up conversion tracking. This will allow you to measure the actual sales or leads you have received from remarketing. This is critical to measuring ROI and determining whether to keep the campaign going, lowering or boosting the budget.

– Integrate with Google Analytics to easily measure your progress and automate reporting.

  • If you find you aren’t getting great results, try changing the ads. That can play a big role as if your click through rate is low (ie not many people clicking but lots are seeing the ad) then Google will be less likely to show your ad.

Can you share any stories/case studies of people using re-marketing really well? Really poorly?

I’ve been using remarketing for upwards of 2 years. I currently run them for a large majority of our clients. We’ve had awesome results which is why keep recommending it.

ConversionXL did a list of retargeting case studies on their site which had some great info. Many of the results were higher conversions, higher value sales, and a higher engagement rate. Each case study highlighted had great results.

I think most travel websites do an amazing job at remarketing. I’m sure we’ve all experienced it – you’re searching online for a vacation down south and next thing you know you’re seeing a 10% off promo while you browse through Facebook or while reading a news article online. I’m sure those are quite effective.

On the other hand, it can also ruin the surprise of gift-giving. I’ve been shopping for gifts for my wife online and next thing you know – there is the exact product I was looking at staring at me on a different site! It’s an interesting problem and not sure if there is a solution to that problem specifically.