Remarketing: Those Ads That Follow You Around The Web

Remarketing: Those Ads That Follow You Around The Web

We’re all used to seeing ads online, but do you ever feel like a particular ad is chasing you? You visit a site, and then it seems everywhere you go online, you’re seeing ads for that site.

Well you are, and it’s because the site owner is using an extremely effective and inexpensive marketing technique called ‘remarketing’.

How Remarketing Works

When you visit a website for a business that uses remarketing, the site will drop a ‘cookie’ (small piece of code) into your browser. As you travel around the web, that code is matched with available ads, and chooses an ad to display based on your recent browsing history.

The browser cookie is usually set to expire after the ads have shown a few times.

How Remarketing Can Work For You

When you set up your remarketing campaign, you will define specific criteria for your target audience to meet, such as visiting a specific page, or a group of pages. When a visitor to your site meets this criteria, the cookie gets dropped into their browser. When this happens, they become members of your remarketing lists (you can have many lists), and your ad will appear for them when they visit other websites that display ads.

The best part is, you only pay if your ad is clicked. If they don’t click on your ad, you don’t pay. The cost for a click is generally quite low, but can vary depending on many factors.

Why Remarketing Works

Remarketing is very effective because 97% of buyers need multiple visits to a website before making a purchase or enquiry. This means only 3% of new visitors become customers on their first visit. Getting even a small percentage of the remaining 97% to return and complete a sale can give any business a nice sales lift. Remarketing offers the ideal strategy to do just that.

Reminds People to Come Back to Your Website – A 2nd Chance

Let’s face it. The internet is full of distractions. A visitor to your site may be very interested in what you offer, but after they leave, they may not remember how they found you in the first place. Without the strong brand recognition strategies larger companies have, small businesses can be easily forgotten. Remarketing reminds them of their visit to your site, and why they may want to return.

Still not convinced? Let’s look at how remarketing worked for one of my customers:

This company’s remarketing list criteria was that anyone who visits four or more pages on their site would be eligible to see their ads. When a visitor views at least four pages, they are expressing a significant interest in your business.

Before they began remarketing, about 2.5% of visitors were making sales enquiries. When we added remarketing, their sales enquiries jumped to 3% of visitors, which my customer estimated was an additional $2k sales per month.

Requirements for Remarketing

Setting up your remarketing strategy requires a few steps:

  1. You will need a Google AdWords account and Google Analytics loaded on your website.
  2. Ensure your AdWords and Analytics accounts are linked together so audience information can be transferred from Analytics to AdWords.
  3. Define your criteria for each remarketing list (viewed specific pages or set pages, viewed a certain number of pages, etc.). You can do this in Google Analytics.
  4. Set up a remarketing campaign in Google AdWords.
  5. Have website traffic of at least 100 users over a 30 day period for Google to show your ads.
  6. Create visual ads with a compelling message.
  7. Send those who click on the ads to a compelling landing page, preferably not one they saw when they previously visited your website.

Don’t be a stalker

Remarketing ads can be set so they only display a certain number of times to an individual. Use this feature. If a person hasn’t click on your ad after seeing it five times in a week, it’s unlikely they will change their mind on the sixth time. Stop showing them your ad, or you will be remembered negatively, as a stalker.

Get your remarketing started

The first step is to define your audience, or the criteria for people to see your ads. Google Analytics makes it easy to set up your audience. Go to:

Admin > Property > Audience Definitions > Audiences

Remarketing on Facebook

If you have a Facebook Business page, you can create a remarketing campaign where your ads appear in people’s Facebook feeds after they have visited your website and met your audience criteria.

There are a few Bird’s Eye customers experiencing great success with Facebook remarketing. It’s an effective way to approach previous site visitors. The difference between this and Google is you need to define your audience using Facebook’s powerful Pixel.

How to Use AdWords Ad Preview Tool

How to Use AdWords Ad Preview Tool

Without Wrecking Your CTR…..

Every time you look at your ads in a Google search you risk damaging your own Google AdWords click through rate (CTR) performance.  CTR is an important ad ranking criteria and a high CTR can your ad a rankings edge.  The previous post, Stop Damaging your AdWords CTR describes why CTR is important and how searching your own ads damages yours.

Here’s how you can see your ad without harming your CTR.

Navigate to the Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool

To preview your ad you have to get to the Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool.  There are two ways to get to there:

  1. Tools menu (in the top navigation) Or,
  2. Bubble in the keyword status

Here are the instructions for using both methods:

Tools Menu in the Top Navigation

From any AdWords screens go to the top navigation and click “Tools”.  From the drop down menu select “Ad Preview and Diagnosis”

Google AdWords Tools Menu to Reach Ad Preview

Bubble In the Keyword Status

This is convenient when you are already in the Keyword or Ads tab.

Choose the campaign you want. This takes you to the Ad Group screen where you will select the Ad Group you are investigating. Make sure you are on the Keywords tab.

Google AdWords Keyword Status Bubble

Find the “Status” column and hover your mouse over the “speech” bubble for any of the keywords.  The bubble opens up and shows your ad status.  At the very bottom of the bubble, click “Ad Preview & Diagnosis”.

AdWords Keyword Bubble to get you to Ad Preview

Using the Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool

Once inside the Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool you will need to do three things to preview your ad:

  1. Insert your target location – Enter the specific location you want to check; a country, state / province, city, etc.
  2. Insert your target keyword you want to be found for. Alternatively, if you came from the keyword tab, your term may already be entered.
  3. Click the blue preview button

Google AdWords Ad Preview Screen - Insert location, and keyword

If your ad is showing it will appear exactly how it looks in a search results page.  If your ad has the top ranking it will be first, if it’s ranked second, it will be second and so on.

Google AdWords Ad Preview when your ad is showing on Google Search Results

If your ad is not showing the screen will have a message that it is currently not showing.  Your ad not showing could be a function of the keyword, the location, etc.  There are links provided how to investigate.

Sample screen of Google AdWords Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool when ad is not showing in search.

Ad Preview Tool Does Not Wreck Your CTR

By using the Ad Preview tool you see exactly how your advertisement looks without having impacting your ad ranking and click through rate.  Let your competitor do keyword searches to see their own ads and drive down their CTR it helps you rank better.

Stop Damaging Your Own AdWords CTR?

Stop Damaging Your Own AdWords CTR?

We pay big bucks to advertise so naturally we want verification the ads are running as expected. For offline ads we pick up the newspaper to see our ad, or listen closely for our ad to play on the radio.

Boy (3-5) looking at cookie jar on kitchen counterThe Online Temptation

With online advertising it is tempting to verify our ads by doing Google searches.  If our ad appears we have the needed verification. Peaking at our own ads with a Google search can skew data and damage AdWords performance.  Here’s why:

Searching Your Ad On Google Is a Big NO NO!

Unlike offline advertising, online advertising there are statistics for everything, including how many times your ad is viewed.  When your ad is viewed it’s called an impression and an impression gets recorded every time your ad is seen, including seen by you.

Click through rate (CTR) is an important metric uses impressions and the number of times an ad is clicked.  The mathematical CTR formula is: Clicks / Impressions, expressed as a percentage.

Here’s an example; 100 people saw your ad and 20 clicked on it you would have a CTR of 20%.  If 30 people clicked on the ad, the CTR would be 30%.

How Click Through Rate (CTR) Impacts Your Ad Rank

Remember, Google only gets paid when ads are clicked, that’s why CTR is an important ad ranking criteria for them.  Google compares your CTR history against competitive advertisers to determine which ads appear at the top or bottom of their pages.  Ads with higher CTRs have a better chance of getting higher ranks and better positons.

Impressions Without Clicks Reduce CTR

When we go looking for our own ads, we have no intention of clicking on them that would cost money.  Our intent is to verify the ad is showing and perhaps how it is ranked.  Every time we seek out our own ad we trigger an impression without a click and that reduces our CTR.  Every time your ad gets an impression without a click, it negatively impacts your CTR.  Here’s an example; let’s suppose during a month your ad had 100 impressions and 20 clicks.  Your CTR is 20%.  However, during the month you peaked at your Google ten times so your CTR could have been 22% (20 clicks divided by 90 impressions) instead of 20%.

I know that 20% versus 22% doesn’t seem like that big a deal, but if your competitors are not searching their own ads, their CTR’s will be lower than yours… so you go down a couple of notches in Google’s ad rank.

Use the Simulator to Check Your Ad

Instead of searching out your ad on a live Google search and negatively impacting your CTR you can see your ad in the AdWords Preview Tool without triggering an impression.  Just follow the instructions on the next post “How to See Your Ads in Google”.