Segmented Google Analytics Audiences: Your Pandora’s Box to Remarketing

What are your customers doing on your website the first time they visit? Are they looking at specific pages? Putting items into a cart, but not following through with the purchase? Maybe they’re reading your Contact page, but not getting in touch.

That’s ok. Most website visitors don’t become customers right out of the ‘Pandora’s Box,’ so to speak. To convert their interest into a sale, they will need to return to your site.

Remarketing is a very effective and inexpensive way to remind them to return to your site through Google Adwords. But targeting every visitor who lands on any page on your site may not be the most effective way to increase sales.

A better use of your advertising dollars is to set up Segmented Audiences. By targeting only visitors who meet a certain criteria, you are increasing the chances they’ll return and ultimately become a customer.

The more you segment your audiences in Google Analytics, the more targeted your advertising can be. When it comes to remarketing, Google Analytics provides plenty of audience creation options.

Audiences are created using the Audience Builder in your Google Analytics. Navigate from Admin (lower left side navigation panel) > Property > Audience Definitions.

The first audience is always ‘All Users.’ If your All User audience is not set up, follow these instructions.  

Once you have your ‘All Users’ audience, go to the ‘Audiences’ home page.

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Opening Pandora’s Box of Remarketing

There are multiple combinations of audiences you can choose from. The more targeted your audience, the more precise your remarketing campaign will be.

Google Analytics’ ‘Audience Builder’ lets you go deep with segmentation. Let’s take a look at some remarketing audiences you can choose from:

Custom Audience Targeting

If you don’t like any of the standard choices below, you can always just build a custom audience to suit your needs by using the ‘Conditions’ on the Audience Builder home page. You will be amazed at the options available.

I have built many custom audiences to remarket to visitors who:

  • Abandoned their shopping cart;
  • Abandoned the Contact Us page without completing the form; or
  • Visited a group of product or service pages.
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This is a powerful audience option because it’s based on what people actually did on your website.

You can target website visitors by:

  • Number of sessions – Visitors coming to your site a lot are likely considering a purchase, but something is ‘holding them back.’ This is the perfect time to give them an offer they can’t refuse.
  • Session Duration (per user or per session) — An indication of website engagement. The longer they are on your site, the more engaged they are with your brand.
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Date of First Session

This targets people who visited your website during a specific time period (holiday period, special promotion period, etc.).  Simply select your desired start and end dates.

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Traffic Sources

Traffic sources are based on Campaign, Medium, Source or Keyword (taken from UTM Parameters) from previous marketing programs.

Using these traffic sources allows you to retarget people who have visited your website from other campaigns run in the past.

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Technology-Based Audiences

This is a great option if you need to reach website visitors who have visited your website with specific technology types. As you can see, it gets quite detailed, from operating systems to browsers (even browser versions), screen resolutions, mobile device brand, and a lot more.

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Demographic Audience Targeting

Despite being, well… boring, demographics are a staple in many advertising programs. This audience builder lets you pick through your standard demographic criteria:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Location (city, province / state, city)

The remaining criteria pull their designations for Google AdWords.

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Just Remember: Minimum Audience Size for Google Remarketing

Google likes big audiences. It takes a minimum of 100 users over 30 days to make presenting ads economical for you and them. So as you set up your remarketing audiences, check to see how many of your website users meet your criteria).  If it’s too small, don’t bother.

Keyword Strategies for Attracting Buyers at Different Buying Stages

Keyword Strategies for Attracting Buyers at Different Buying Stages

With all the options and information available online nowadays, few people purchase a product or service immediately after finding it. Instead, they will go through several Buying Stages: Information Search, Evaluation of Alternatives, and Ready to Buy.

Each of these buying stages results in a different ‘Moment of Search,’ which is the moment when someone Googles their problem.

Obviously, showing up in these searches gives you a better chance of turning a visitor into a customer, but targeting them at the right buying stage increases your chances of getting the sale that much more.

Google searches are driven by keywords, but what keywords are used will change depending on where the buyer is in the buying cycle. A buyer just starting out, who has little knowledge of the product or service they need, will use general keywords to describe their problem. A more educated buyer will use more specific keywords that match their needs or desired features.

Where your website gets listed on Google is driven by your keyword strategy. Understanding buyer stages and keyword use will not only make it easier for your website to get found, but can help determine at which buying stage your website is listed in the search results:

  • Beginning: Information Search — How big is this problem? Do I really need to buy something?
  • Middle: Evaluation of Alternatives — Yes, I need to buy something, but what? What’s the right service/product for my needs?
  • End: Ready to buy — A purchase will be made, but need to determine the best deal for my needs.

A keyword strategy focused on at least one of these buyer stages is vital to being found on Google during the ‘Moment of Search.’  After all, your keyword strategy determines who and when will see your website in the Google listings.

What’s the best stage for your business to attract buyers?

Attract them too early, at the start of their buying process, and they may forget about you by the time they’re ready to make a purchase. Attract them too late, when they are anxious to make their purchase, and they may not engage with your website.

It’s important to build your keyword and Google AdWords campaigns around buying stages so you attract buyers at the right time for both of you.

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Information-seeking buyers are usually at the beginning of their buying process. They are trying to learn more about their specific problem, what products or services are available, and determine whether or not they need to make a purchase. Their Google searches will use more general keywords.

In this first Buying Stage, keywords focus on the problem’s symptoms, rather than the products or services specifically.

For example, the buyer may Google “how to fix a leaky pipe” instead of looking for a plumber, or “what kind of flooring is best for basements” instead of looking for ceramic tile or vinyl flooring.

A good blog can help you educate these buyers and build your reputation as a credible supplier, which can help convert their visit into a sale. However, because these are early-stage buyers, your business needs mechanisms to coax them to return to your website as they move closer to making a purchase. For example:

  • Content marketing: This includes regular blogging, active social media
  • Email marketing list: A great way to distribute your content
  • Remarketing: Keeps you in front of the buyer while they’re on other websites and social media

It would be a shame to have invested in buyer education, only for someone else to scoop up the sale because you didn’t have the content or commitment to follow the buyer to the end of the buying cycle.

If your business has the content marketing volume and systems in place to distribute that content throughout the buying cycle, you will benefit from keywords that focus on educating buyers. Otherwise, it may be wise to use a keyword strategy that attracts buyers further down the sales funnel.

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Buyers who are evaluating alternatives have made a decision to purchase a service/product to fix their problem. They are examining what is available from you and your competitors. They are doing a feature benefit comparison.

This is one of the most ideal times to be attracting attention to your website, because:

  • You can still influence the buyer with education
  • Purchase decision is likely coming
  • You will not need a content intensive marketing strategy because the decision is imminent

These buyers will use more specific keywords in their Google searches than buyers seeking information. At this stage in the Buying Cycle, buyers are using keywords that are more descriptive of the product/service they need, and what specific benefits or features they would like.

It’s great when your website shows up in these searches because the buyer is more likely to make a purchase than an ‘information seeking’ buyer because they’ve already done their research.

On the other hand, since these buyers have done their research by visiting many other websites, they probably have higher expectations, including that your website match or better the experience of competitive websites. If they like what they see on your site, you can expect a store visit, phone call or email.

Feature/benefit keywords will be attractive to these buyers, so focusing on those will help pull your website up the search rankings.

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This buyer is in the final Buying Stage and is ready to make a purchase. If they’ve been contemplating this purchase for a while, or it’s been difficult to filter through information and come to a decision, they will likely be impatient to close the deal.

At this stage, the buyer’s Google searches will reflect a high level of knowledge and a desire to find the best possible supplier.

These buyers are looking for the best deal — price, features, delivery and service reputation.

For your website to show up at this very late buying stage, your keyword strategy needs to emphasise the reasons to buy from you and not from someone else. Focus what makes you better and different: Discounts, sales, free delivery, service, etc. Those are the things these buyers are looking for.

Google AdWords is one of the best vehicles to advertise and promote your business’s features and benefits at the top of the search page. Your ad and website need to be compelling enough to get you a chance to interact with this impatient buyer.

A Fine Balance: Google’s Remarketing Rules

A Fine Balance: Google’s Remarketing Rules

Remarketing can be a powerful incentive to get web users to return to your website or Facebook page after they have visited. Often times, a return visit results in a sale or contact. It’s pretty exciting tool.

But at the risk of being a ‘killjoy’, Google has certain governing rules that need to be followed, or your ads may not show at all. Being aware of these rules before you embark on your remarketing campaign can save you time and money.

Remarketing Governing Rules for All Businesses

There are two main rules governing AdWords: Audience Size and Protecting Privacy:

Audience Size

When you create an audience in Google Analytics, <link to Audience Creation> it must have a minimum of 100 active users in the last 30 days. When you create your audience, Analytics will tell you your audience size.

If you are making a Remarketing List Search Ad (RLSA) campaign, you must have a minimum of 1,000 active users in the last 30 days.

Learn more about audience lists, size, membership, etc.

Your Policy on Audience Privacy

Remarketing ‘follows’ people around the web, and that raises obvious privacy issues that Google takes seriously. If you don’t have a privacy policy, it’s a good idea to create one. Web users are more apt to trust sites that are clear about their data use.

In terms of setting your remarketing privacy policy, yours should basically inform people you are using cookies for Google’s (and other platforms) marketing. Some of the details about this can be found on the ‘Policy requirements for Google Analytics Advertising Features’ page.

Check Before You Build

If you want to avoid having Google stop showing your ads and start sending you warning letters, review the governing rules before you begin your remarketing campaign.

A Case Study in Google’s Remarketing Rules—Personally Identifiable Information

Here’s a policy I wish I had understood before I created the campaign for a client: is an ecommerce business selling incontinence products (diapers, pads, etc.) across Canada. We set up a remarketing audience to get people back on the website after their initial visit, just like I had done for other clients.

However, when MyLiberty’s ads were not being seen by anyone (we had zero impressions), I knew Google was not showing the ads at all and investigated why.

Personally Identifiable Information is a No–No!

It turns out, Google placed MyLiberty Life’s products in the health category, and clicks on remarketing ads may reveal personally identifiable information, or PII (incontinence, special needs children, etc.) about the person clicking. Essentially, ‘when using certain personalized advertising features, additional requirements apply.’

There are several product categories that Google considers revealing PII, including alcohol, gambling, restricted drugs, health, and more. While remarketing is a no-no with these products, you can still actively advertise them on Google.

Look before you create

If you think your product falls into Google’s PII category, check before your start creating remarketing campaigns.

The Hidden Social Media Hero

The Hidden Social Media Hero

It’s always fun to get a nice surprise. For one of my customers, their social media initiatives focused only on Twitter and Linked-In, as that’s what the staff knew. Then, they hired Natalie to work their reception desk. Natalie also happened to be a passionate (some might say addicted) Facebook user, so she started working the business’ Facebook feed.

Very soon, Facebook start showing up on the dashboard as a high value source of website traffic and sales leads. During one of our dashboard reviews, the owner said, “I thought we weren’t focused on Facebook?” The manager’s response was, “We’re not. Natalie’s been squeezing Facebook posting in and doing when she can.”

More than fifty leads, later the company made Facebook posting one of Natalie’s priority responsibilities, and traffic and leads flourished.

Eventually, the company added Facebook advertising to their marketing strategy, and it too blossomed into a valuable lead generation tool.

Key Indicators from the Dashboard

Sales Leads by Channel

Lesson(s) Learned

Social media brings traffic to your website, but does it bring sales? Answer that question honestly.

Getting Started with Google Remarketing Audiences

Getting Started with Google Remarketing Audiences

Buyers rarely make a purchase the first time they visit a website, so getting them to return to yours is crucial to making the sale. Remarketing is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to do this.

To get started with your remarketing campaign , you will need:

  • Google Analytics, to identify who will see your ads; and
  • A Google AdWords account.

Some Rules / Caveats of Google Remarketing (Check these Before you Start)

  • Google requires an audience of at least 100 users over a 30-day period.
  • Your Google Analytics and Google AdWords accounts must be linked together so Analytics can pass the audience members to AdWords.

Now, let’s begin by setting up your first Google Analytics remarketing audience.

Google Analytics Remarketing Audience Setup

By default, Google will display your audience to be ‘all users’ who visit your website. However, you do not have to enable this audience.

All Users Audience

  1. Log into your Google Analytics account.
  2. On the ‘Home’ page, follow the left navigation panel to the bottom and select ‘Admin’ (it will have a gear wheel icon next to it).
  3. In the middle column (Property), select ‘Audience Definitions.’
  4. From the Audience Definition drop down, select ‘Audiences.’
  5. Create your first audience’ screen will open. By default, Google will create your first audience and name it ‘All Users.’ It’s an audience that captures every user that lands on any page of your website.
  6. Open the dropdown menu under ‘Audience Destinations.’ If your Google AdWords account is linked to your Google Analytics account, you will see your AdWords account listed. Select it, and click ‘Enable.’

To ensure your audience was successfully created, select ‘Audience’ on the Admin main page.

Now you’re ready to set up your remarketing campaign in your Google AdWords account.

Remarketing Ads: More than just a pretty ‘Facebook’

Remarketing Ads: More than just a pretty ‘Facebook’

Remarketing is an effective way to get people back to your website for a second look and make the sale. While Google’s Display Network offers two million plus websites to show your ads, Facebook offers access to just over 2 billion (you read that correctly, billion) users.

The Value of Facebook Remarketing

The fact is, people don’t just hang out on Google and Google advertising sites. Facebook (more…)