Strategic planning for remarketing campaigns – Part 1

With average cost per clicks (CPCs) rising steadily, as saturation in the paid search listings increases, advertisers are looking for new, innovative and cheaper methods of driving traffic, and increasing conversion rates.

In my opinion the absolute best way of doing this is via a “remarketing” or “retargeting” campaign.  I am not alone in this view.  According to NMA’s 20th January edition, All Saints, Game, Karen Miller & New Look are amongst retail brands investing in ad retargeting and seeing significant returns.  Ad retargeting is set to be a key drive in display advertising’s resurgence in 2011.

So, why I am talking about display advertising when I manage paid search campaigns?  Well, Google AdWords now offers remarketing functionality on its Display Network.

For those that are new to remarketing, it is a tool that allows you to serve adverts across Google’s Display Network to users who have previously visited your site.  Here is a great short video by Google which explains the ins and outs of remarketing.  The beauty of the Google AdWords remarketing functionality is that it can be really simple or vastly complicated depending on the rules you set.

Over the last couple of months some fantastic posts have been written about remarketing. On the whole these posts give a lot of information on actual implementation and optimisation.  In this post I would like to delve into the importance of the initial planning stages, and how spending time at this point will ultimately lead to far more successful campaigns.

Before you begin your remarketing campaign you must firstly consider what your objectives are, for example…

a.    Do you want to increase conversion rates?
b.    Do you want to increase repeat orders?

You must then decide which segment of visitors you are going to target and how you are going to ‘remarket’ to them.  It is largely acknowledged that you should use some form of incentive in remarketing adverts to maximise click through rates (CTRs).  Most companies use a ‘% off’ offer.  Be cautious with incentives, as they will be counted as marketing ‘costs’, and will ultimately impact ROI.  Therefore, try to think of innovative, ‘cheap’ incentives, which will be relevant to your chosen demographic, whilst maintaining a healthy profit margin.

Which audience to target?

If you are new to remarketing my first recommendation would be to start slowly.  Do not try and create bespoke remarketing lists for every product on your site.  There will be so many rules that you will not be able to control and optimise the campaign. Any success you have will likely be more luck than judgement.

The usual “rule” for campaigns of this nature is to serve adverts to visitors that have not generated a sale on their first visit to your website.

To identify which audience to target, I would recommend looking at your Analytics data.  Based on the ‘start small’ methodology, identify pages and/or products which have high checkout abandonment rates (visitors to your site have added a product to their online basket, but not bought it).  This will ensure that you are advertising to visitors with the highest conversion-intent.

Further down the line when you feel more confident with remarketing & potentially have more budget available, you can widen the net in terms of the number of products you remarket to customers.

How to remarket?

When was the first time you noticed a remarketing ad “following” you around the internet?  Most people feel that remarketing is a little big-brother-like, and this feeling of anxiety will in no way help increase to conversion rates.

For this reason it is important to test at what level your ads remarket to visitors.

You have three main choices of advertising:

a)    At the product level
b)    At the ‘product-you-might-like’ these level
c)    At the category level

What does this mean? Well, if a visitor looks at pair of blue suede boots on the Office website, for example…

a) a product level strategy would serve an ad featuring those exact blue suede boots

b) a ‘product-you-might-like’ strategy would serve an ad featuring the exact boots that the visitor was looking at, together with a number of other similar boots that may be of interest

c) a category level strategy would serve an ad featuring an offer on all suede boots

To see which level works best with your customers, you should test each.

Product level remarketing ads can work very well, but can also cause anxiety in visitors.  In order to minimise this anxiety you should place a frequency cap on the remarketing ads, which limits the serving of ads.  Our Google rep recommend that we capped the frequency to 5 impressions per month per ad group.  Again, it is best to test these settings to find what works best for your audience.

Next week I’ll explore, remarketing campaigns tasked with increasing repeat orders.

Leave a reply

What do you think? Please leave a comment below

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *