What is Google Remarketing and Why You Should Care More Now Than Ever

by Adam Kreitman

Imagine you run a bakery and a customer walks by your front window and stops and stares longingly at the goodies you have on display.

You watch them closely and can see the internal debate raging inside them about whether or not to walk in the door and buy something. After a minute, through a great display of willpower, they decide to move on without making a purchase.

But when they leave, you have a secret advertising weapon up your sleeve. You have special technology that flashes an image of that Bavarian Crème Pie they were drooling over on every billboard and bus stop poster they pass.

Gonna be hard for them to get that pie out of their mind, right?

Well, so far as I know, no technology like that exists in the “real world”. But online, you can accomplish the same effect through remarketing.

A remarketing campaign is run through Google AdWords.

Here’s How It Works…

When someone visits your website, they get a remarketing cookie placed on their computer. Then, when they leave your site, you can show ads to them that promote your products and services when they visit other sites around the web that display Google ads.

(Google has what’s known as the Display Network that allows websites from the New York Times down to someone’s small personal blog to display Google ads on them. These ads reach about 80% of internet users. Remarketing ads are displayed through this network and can be text ads, image ads or video ads.)

Remarketing eliminates one of the big challenges with online marketing…mainly that most people will visit your website and leave without ever taking action.

Before remarketing, these visitors were lost and gone forever but with remarketing, you can create a campaign that keeps your company name and message in front of them to subtly (or not so subtly) remind them you’re still around.

And one of the coolest things about remarketing is you can target people who visit your site no matter what traffic source they come from. It could be from a PPC campaign, organic traffic, social media, or TV ads.

Doesn’t matter.

If they land on your site, you can reach them with remarketing.

Running Highly Targeted Remarketing Ads

And you can get pretty strategic about how you structure your remarketing campaigns.

Say you run a digital camera store. You can have a remarketing campaign that specifically targets people who visit Canon DSLR related pages on your site. The ads this group sees through remarketing could be for a coupon or special offer good toward the purchase of a Canon camera.

And you can have a separate remarketing campaign that does the same for those who visit Nikon DSLR related pages on your site, only offering a coupon for a Nikon camera.

You can also prevent certain groups of visitors from seeing your remarketing ads. Using the digital camera store example, you don’t want customers to see that coupon for a Canon DSLR after they’ve made a purchase. Remarketing lets you exclude those who have made a purchase so they won’t see your ads.

(Or, you could get really clever and start running ads promoting Canon lenses to people who bought a Canon camera from you.)

Until recently, remarketing required multiple codes (depending on your strategy) that you had to manually install on one or more pages of your site.

And It Just Got Even Better…

However, you can now run remarketing through your Google Analytics account. Doing it this way provides some intriguing advantages.

First, you just have to install one Google Analytics code on your site that can be used to control all your remarketing campaigns.

Second, and even cooler, is you can now use data from Google Analytics to get even more strategic about your remarketing campaigns.

For example, you can now decide to only show ads to people who visit certain pages on your site AND stay on those pages for more than 1 minute (indicating a higher level of interest compared to those who only spend a few seconds on your site).

In a recent article I wrote for the Daily Egg, How Remarketing Just Got Even More Remarkable, I outlined a number of different ways the Analytics–remarketing link can be used to help a website run a highly targeted remarketing campaign.

You want to make the most of the traffic you get to your website. And as PPC ads get more expensive, as the game is changing for SEO and other changes take hold over the online marketing landscape, that’s truer now than ever.

With remarketing, there’s no reason to let people who come to your site (indicating at least some level of interest in what you offer) to slip away without ever hearing from you again.

A Relatively Inexpensive Way to Boost Conversions

Because Display Network clicks tend to be relatively inexpensive and the traffic from remarketing ads is from “warm” prospects, I’ve found remarketing to be a very cost effective way to boost conversions for many of our clients. If you’re interested in giving remarketing a try or finding out more about it, contact us today.

Image courtesy of Mundoo

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