A guide to launching a remarkable remarketing campaign

Alan Clouder

Paid Media Manager

You know that moment when an ad pops up on your Facebook newsfeed, of the exact product you were just admiring, baiting you to come back to purchase? How many times has it worked?

Remarketing is a powerful tool that places your ads back in front of a qualified audience. The Google Display Network (GDN) reaches 90% of internet users globally and Facebook has over a billion daily users. To get the most out of your remarketing efforts, there are a few best practices that will help you get results in brand lift and ROI from your campaign. Here’s our guide to launching your first remarketing campaign.

Get over the creepy factor

Often, we hear clients say they don’t like remarketing because it is too creepy. Granted, back in the beginning of remarketing it was a bit invasive, however the digital user now understands it, and, to be honest, almost expects it. Some could say they even respect a brand for it, especially if done well. So, don’t fall into the opinion that it is creepy anymore, and instead focus more on how you can use it to your business advantage.

Which platforms are best for remarketing?

We alluded to this above, but we lean on the side of the GDN and Facebook. Reach is ample on these platforms and we find that they are incredibly powerful when used together.

You may look into 3rd party platforms to host your remarketing, such as AdRoll or a DSP as they do have their advantages, however, we recommend using each platform directly when just starting out. You can move to 3rd party platforms once you understand your goals and needs as an organisation.

Frequency caps

One of the most frustrating things to see as a consumer and an advertiser is a brand that inundates their customers with ads after they have visited their site once or twice. Serving 11 ad impressions on one page looks sloppy and can immediately impact the campaign performance. We recommend applying frequency caps to all your remarketing campaigns.

A frequency cap controls how often an individual user can see your ads in any given time period; we suggest limiting impressions to no more than 3 per day. Consider your purchase decision as you make these calls, though, and also take into account the number of campaigns you have running. For instance, your user may be targeted in the GDN and on Facebook, meaning, even if you have set frequency caps on both campaigns, they are still receiving double the impressions.

Being conservative is a good idea unless you have a justified business reason to do more. No one wants to be that person jumping around in front of an audience trying to get noticed.

Don’t forget your converted audience

If you take anything away from this article, let this be the one. Nothing is more irritating than receiving an ad for a product you have already purchased. It’s also a waste of time and money from a business perspective. Make sure you use a burn pixel to untag your users who have made a purchase, so that you aren’t continuing to serve them ads.

Once you have selected a grace period – 1 to 2 weeks or longer – you can begin to serve new ads to those converted users again, to help push them back through your conversion cycle.

Audience segmentation

When you segment your audience for remarketing purposes, chances are you will improve the experience they have with your brand. Segmenting your audience is easy; you can choose an audience based on a URL they have visited on your site or a group of URLs. You can also upload email lists from your newsletter sign ups. Once you have defined your audience segment, you can then tailor your ads to that group of consumers, with the goal to guide them more effectively to a conversion.

A word of warning, don’t over segment your audience. You need to have over 100 visits per month in the GDN and over 1,000 visits per month for remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA). Other volume restrictions can apply on different platforms.

Additional targeting opportunities

Along with segmenting your audience, you can target them based on several sets of variables. These targeting options help to give you more relevancy as well as help to increase ad performance. You can target users based on the following:

  • Demographic information
  • Geographic – countries, cities, hyperlocal
  • Contextual – what the website is all about

Understanding view-through conversions

If you just measure click conversions from remarketing, chances are you will be slightly deflated by the results. Therefore, you need to consider view-through conversions to understand the full scope of how remarketing is contributing towards overall performance.

View-through conversions are used to help an advertiser understand where an ad hasn’t necessarily triggered a buying decision immediately, but has contributed to a conversion later on. View-through conversions assign some credit towards the remarketing campaign for a certain length of time after a user sees the ad – usually if they convert within 1-30 days (depending on if it is a considered conversion or not).

Switching up your creative

As with any display campaign, it is important to refresh your ad creative regularly, we recommend every 3 months at least. Ads that run for a long time can negatively impact performance, specifically CTR. To continue to drive positive results from your campaigns, you need to rotate ads to keep your audience interested.

Search ads convert high, but display is catching up

A few years ago, we would have avoided recommending display to clients with smaller budgets. It was, and, arguably, still is, a top of funnel strategy that drove brand lift but low conversions. Things have changed in recent years with the introduction of remarketing and social ad targeting. Although search ads still tend to have the highest conversion rates, display, and in particular remarketing, is incredibly powerful in driving additional conversions that may not have happened otherwise.

Want to talk remarketing? Get in touch with the team. 

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