Remarketing: Don’t Let Online Prospects Escape So Easily


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Robert | Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Filed under: Advanced, Intermediate, PPC Tips & Advice

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INTRODUCTION TO REMARKETING (also referred to as retargeting):
One of the more powerful pay per click (PPC) search engine marketing (SEM) services recently released is also one of the best kept secrets – Google’s Remarketing Service.

Released as a beta product in early 2010 and made available only to select Google advertisers, Google’s Remarketing Service is now available to all.

Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of remarketing, or that it’s now available to you. It was released quietly, and even the Google support reps are still being trained on the product. However, you may have noticed a new tab on the main page of your Adwords account titled “Audiences” (next to the other tabs titled “Campaigns”, “Ad Groups”, “Setting”, “Ads”. “Keywords” and “Networks”).

WHAT IS REMARKETING?:
Remarketing allows you to deliver an ad to a visitor who has been to your website and who did or did not take a certain action, wherever they happen to be on the Google Content Network (GCN), which has an 80% reach.

A simple example of a remarketing strategy (or in other words, a target audience) would be visitors to your website who did not sign up for or buy anything. You can structure a remarketing custom combination to target those people wherever they might be on the GCN.

A more complex example of a remarketing strategy (or target audience) would be visitors to your website who made it through a certain part of your sign up or purchase process, but didn’t complete the process. Again, you can target these people wherever they might be on the GCN with a specific ad to draw them back.

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SETTING UP A REMARKETING CAMPAIGN:
A remarketing campaign is a content network campaign, but without any keywords (i.e., no contextual targeting) and no placements (automatic or managed placements). However, you can, and sometimes should, exclude categories or placements in the event you do not want your ad to be displayed (e.g., you may not want your ads to show on an adult site, so you could exclude that category.)

You setup a remarketing campaign just as you would a content network campaign, but you do not populate it with any keywords or managed placements. I prefer to separate the delivery of image ads from the delivery of text ads. So I suggest you either create one remarketing campaign with two ad groups, one for image ads and one for text ads, or you create two remarketing campaigns, one for image ads and one for text ads, each with only one ad group. The only purpose of the ad group is to hold the ads (remember – no keywords).

AD COPY:
Now populate the ad groups with the ads you want. When creating the ad copy (image or text) Keep the target market in mind (i.e., these are people who have been on your website and did or did not take certain action.)

CREATING TARGET AUDIENCES & CUSTOM COMBINATIONS:
To create your target audience first think of the remarketing strategy you want to use. Let’s use the simple strategy stated earlier – people who visited your website but did not sign up for or buy anything.

Essentially you are going to instruct Google to create two sets of JavaScript tracking code (JSTC) (which Google calls a “Tag”), then you’re going to combine the tags to create the target audience, and then you will link the remarketing tags and custom combinations that describe your target audience to the remarketing ad group(s) you created.

The JSTC, or Tag, will drop a cookie when a visitor hits the page(s) that the Tag is placed on. The cookie’s duration can be set to be active from 1-540 days.

Ok, let’s create these Tags and custom combinations. Click on the “Control Panel & Library” link at the bottom left of the main Adwords page and click on “Audiences”. Then click the pull down titled, “New Audience”, and select “Remarketing List”.

Enter a name of the first Tag (e.g., “All Visitors – except those who signed up for or bought something”), enter a description of the Tag (I use this to remind me what the Tag is and/or the pages it belongs on), and enter a duration you want the cookie to be active (between 1-540 days), and then click “Save”. You’ll now see the first remarketing tag in a table.

To create the second Tag, again click the pull down titled, “New Audience”, and select “Remarketing List”. Enter a name of the second Tag (e.g., “Those who signed up for or bought something”), enter a description of the Tag (again, I use this to remind me what the Tag is and/or the pages it belongs on), and enter a duration you want the cookie to be active (between 1-540 days), and then click “Save”. You’ll now see the first and second remarketing Tags in a table.

Next, define the target audience (i.e., custom combination) by combining these two tags. In this instance, we want to target to visitors who were on your site but did not sign up for or buy anything. So you are going target all of the people with the first Tag, AND none of the people with the second Tag.

Click the pull down titled, “New Audience”, and this time select “Custom Combination”. The Custom Combination is another way of saying “this is the audience I am targeting for this remarketing campaign”). Give the Custom Combination a name and a description. Next, create the Custom Combination by combining the remarketing audiences you just created. In this case, from the first pull down you can select either “all these audiences” or “one or more of these audiences”. Next, from the second pull down select the first Tag you created, click the “add” link, and then “save”. Then click the “Add Anther” link, but this time (using this example), in the first pull down you MUST select “none of these audiences”, and use the second pull down to “add” the second tag and “save”.

Then “save” the entire Custom Combination you just created. You should now see a table that contains the two tags and the custom combination you just created.

Remarketing Custom Combination 07.02.10

ENABLING REMARKETING:
The final step is to enable the remarketing custom combination you just created. In the table mentioned above, there is a column titled “Tags/Rules”. Notice that the remarketing tags in that column are active links. When you click them they will show you the JSTC that needs to be placed on the proper pages. So in our example above, you would place the fist tag (between the body tags of your pages) on all pages EXCEPT your thank you pages, and you would place the second tag (between the body tags of your pages) on ONLY your thank you pages.

This will target visitors to your website who did not sign up for or buy anything.

WHAT’S NEXT?:
Remarketing will begin to deliver ads to your target audience wherever they may be on the GCN only AFTER the custom combination has accumulated 500 targets/people (i.e., remarketing will only begin after you have dropped cookies on 500 people who meet the definition you created in your custom combination.) You can return to the “Control Panel & Library” and “Audiences” section to keep an eye on how quickly this number is growing over time.

FINAL NOTES:
Four final things to keep in mind. First, the example used in this article describes a single, rather simple, but effective remarketing strategy. You can create multiple remarketing strategies, however I suggest each time you do, you create a new ad group or campaign to house each remarketing strategy (i.e., custom combination) so you can easily track and monitor the performance of each.

Second, a remarketing campaign acts like other content network campaigns. Therefore, you have to compete against other advertisers to have you ad shown. So you may have to experiment with you maximum CPC (maxCPC).

Third, consider the duration of your tags. The tags contained within the custom combination should have the same duration. Also, unless there’s a reason to limit the duration of the campaign, make them longer. On the other hand, if you create a remarketing strategy whose campaign duration is limited (e.g., a sale or an event that will end at a certain point in time), then set the duration of the tag to match the duration of the campaign (or sale or event).

Last, in the “Control Panel & Library” and “Audiences” section, there is a column titled “Open/Closed”. Unfortunately, once you create a remarketing tag you cannot delete it, but you can set both the duration to 1 day and set the remarketing tag to “Closed”. This will disable any future cookies from being dropped, and it will help you maintain some order in the remarketing and custom combination table so you can easily tell what is active (i.e., “Open”), and what is inactive (i.e., “Closed).

Good luck in your search engine marketing (SEM) endeavors. If you have questions about anything in this article please let us know. And please feel free to contact us if you would like a free consultation of your PPC SEM efforts.

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