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Remarketing 101

By Snap Agency June 15, 2015

This post can be summed up with one ludicrous statement: Remarketing is the Mark Ruffalo of advertising tools. Let that sink in. Need I explain more?

In 13 Going On 30, *SPOILERS* Jenna has a best friend who desperately wants to be more, but her focus is on the future. She is magically whisked away to being 30, where she realizes her best friend Matt turns into Mark Ruffalo. Your AdWords account may show promise, but never quite lives up to the expectations you have; all the bid management and A/B Testing in the world don’t quite seem to get you to the future you so desperately crave. And just like Mark Ruffalo, I’m here to tell you that your goofy, misunderstood best friend “Remarketing” is who you’ve been waiting all your life for.

This blog will not provide step-by-step instructions on creating a remarketing campaign but will do the following.

  • Explain what remarketing is
  • Discuss basic steps involved with creating a campaign
  • Introduce more advanced remarketing ideas and tools
  • Evaluate the purpose of remarketing

What Is Remarketing?

Your current search ads show when a user search query triggers an active keyword in your account, clicking on the ad brings the user to your destination page. Remarketing campaigns will either show text or display ads to a user who has already been to your site, or is a member of an affinity audience similar to an audience of visitors you have. The ad will run within the Google Display Network, meaning you can reconnect with a searcher who left your site without buying earlier and may need a gentle reminder of your existence. Affinity audiences are groupings of users based on interests, such as marathon runners. Google allows you to build Remarketing Audiences and apply them to a remarketing campaign in your Adwords Account, the ultimate goal being to encourage a second visit to your site (and hopefully a conversion). There are a few types of remarketing campaigns that can be run: standard remarketing ads show pre-created display or text ads, dynamic remarketing will show an ad based on the user’s visit to your site, or reach people who have used your app or viewed YouTube videos. Your goal should be to reach targeted users further along in the decision making process in comparison to where they were in their original search. The settings and execution of a remarketing campaign can make this a reality.

Creating Your Remarketing Campaign

There are several key decisions you will be faced with when creating a remarketing campaign: What type of ad to run, what audience to target, and ad frequency limitations are chief among them.

With regards to choosing ad type, this will largely come down to your comfortability with digital creative and your target audience. Do you want to create a display ad from pre-made packages that will use your image and text on all available image sizes? Will a simple text ad be more effective with your message and your users? If you are more tech-savvy (or have help) you may feel comfortable getting into dynamic remarketing ads. Beyond this decision, the choice you make regarding ad frequency is incredibly important. The concept of tedium, which will be delved into during the Integrated Remarketing white paper, is informative here. Simply put, the more a user sees the same advertisement, the faster they will become tired of seeing it. You can leave ad frequency uncapped, ensuring your ads will be shown at every opportunity, or you can set frequency limits. The purpose of setting a limit would be to hopefully preserve interest in your message for as long as possible (theoretically increasing chances for conversions), suggested frequencies would be 3-10 per day.

Audience targeting can be done several ways, unfortunately there may be no one-size solution for this. Audiences can be created in AdWords or imported from Analytics; when importing from Analytics this can easily be done from the Audiences tab. The default audience in Analytics will be “All Sessions”, change this to an audience for your website with high traffic/lower conversions. For example, lets change this standard audience to Paid Search. Right click the arrow in the top right side of the audience box, select Build Audience. Once in the audience building tool you should see CPC as the selected medium, now to target non-converters select the Conditions tab. In the Goal Conversions drop-down select your conversion goal and target sessions with 0 conversions. This will give us a remarketing audience targeting Paid Search Non-Converters. Interestingly, remarketing can also target affinity audiences, such as the aforementioned Marathon Runners, and audiences similar to ones that have visited our site.

Once a remarketing campaign is created and your audience is selected, the audience list will begin to fill as clicks happen. Once the remarketing audience reaches 100 users ads will begin to show, and you will begin to see data fill into the remarketing campaign to judge results. Management and optimization should occur frequently, treat your remarketing campaign like a typical search endeavor. If the results are sub-par, change the ad type, change the copy, maybe use a different audience if necessary. Be patient, but be ruthless in your execution.

Why Use Remarketing?

As discussed in the previous section we can use remarketing campaigns to target a variety of user segments that have shown a previous interest (or may be interested, in the case of targeting similar audiences to your users) in your company. Consider the process of remarketing in the context of another traditional marketing medium, TV. When creating an ad for television, the intent is never to show the ad once and wait for business to come pouring in. Repetition is the primary benefit, to ignore this is a crucial mistake. We will touch on the impact of repetition in remarketing in the follow up post, Integrated Remarketing. You have made an investment into search advertising, each click is the result of planning and money. Much like with traditional advertising, your goal should be to make expanded use of this potential lead, and this should be done with remarketing. The first remarketing campaign you create may not change the world of advertising as we know it, but it will be a step in the right direction. The process will start to make sense, and feel simpler with each test campaign you make so don’t let initial failures stop you from future attempts. As always if you have questions, need more help,  or want us to do this for you, just let us know!