I have been quite amazed over the past few years chatting with friends, co-workers, clients and acquaintances over the topic of Remarketing. Everyone notices it, everyone finds it slightly creepy, yet everyone either wants to do it or is very impressed by it. Remarketing gives advertisers an opportunity to target visitors who came to their site, went through the process of exploring multiple sections of the site, maybe even added an item to the cart, but then for some reason they continued to browse the internet elsewhere. Most often, a Remarketing campaign is implemented to attract those visitors who did not complete an action on back to your site that you had intended them to.
What is Remarketing?
Remarketing as a practice has certainly evolved in terms of the technology behind it. Google Adwords standard Remarketing program is built by placing their tracking script on every page of your site, and from there you define rules to build lists which they call “Audiences”. Using these lists, marketers can craft very broad, or very targeted display and text ads across Display Networks on the web in order to attract visitors back to the site. Very standard set up, but now we are seeing platforms such as AdRoll who market across more display networks and help optimize campaigns. As Facebook continues to build their ad exchange, more ad platforms are starting to integrate their systems into Facebook and retargeting visitors on the news feed. Oh yes, creepy stuff, but very effective if implemented correctly. Which brings me to to the latest innovation in Remarketing.
Introducing Search Remarketing from Google Adwords
The premise of search remarketing is to give advertisers the ability to use their audience lists in search text ad campaigns. This is great! your telling me that one of the main hubs of information internet users default to when beginning to research products and services has rolled out a channel of distribution that can help bring traffic back to your site without following them across the web via display networks? Thank you Google!
It is well known that prior to any purchase made online, internet users will take the time to research the various options available across the web. People will hit that dreaded back button, or go right back to search engines to continue their search. If they keep looking, why not keep telling? While this feature in Adwords has been rolled out since June 2013, I wanted to talk a bit more in depth about the benefits of search remarketing instead of account and campaign set up.
Benefits of Search Remarketing in Google Adwords
Target and Bid
Bidding and targeting options are available to match the objectives of the advertisers. Simply put, like all remarketing campaigns, you can specify how narrow you want your targeting focus to be. Target and Bid will show ads only to those who are associated to your lists.
Broad keyword targeting
Most search marketing professionals I have either exchanged notes with, or read their blogs and guides will always emphasize the importance of keyword research and targeting. Standard best practice is to of course draw up lists of keyword queries with multiple modifiers that best represent what the message in the ad language is, as well as reflect the page you are directing traffic to in order to give the user the best experience possible. These methods can help increase CTR, lower CPC, improve Quality score, etc. While you drive traffic, you are building your remarketing lists (at least I hope you are).
Not all visitors are going to convert, obviously the metric that proves this theory is your conversion rate. After the users leaves, what are they looking for? Possibly other sources to provide a bit more information. Since your list size for search will only be so big, you now have the ability to open up your keyword lists to broad match keywords because you are specifically attracting visitors who have engaged your site in the past. This keeps you relevant in the back of the users mind, and gives you another opportunity to showcase your wonderful site offerings.
More efficient use of lists
There are many forms of lists in your Adwords Audiences that you can define. These are Rule Based, Custom Combinations, as well as auto generated lists such as Similar Audiences, or lists that are associated with Custom eComm parameters for dynamic ad campaigns. Search remarketing uses Google’s lists for Search that are defined by the rules you set per list. Generally, these lists are smaller than what is available for the Display Network, learn more at Adwords Help Center
I truly can only speak from personal experiences with these types of campaigns which may leave this last point up in the air for those of you who have made it this far. What I can say is that because you are specifically targeting a group of people who have engaged with your site before, you are limiting the number of impressions (depending on your list size), but you are increasing your chances to re-engagement. I will go back to the point about the benefit of broad keyword targeting. Your standard ad text campaign already includes a massive list of keywords that are optimized in “phrase match”, [exact match] or broad match formats. Opening up the broad match method in a search remarketing campaign will help capture those previous visitors next steps as they continue their search, but keep your site relevant in the sales cycle. This will also help open up new keyword options, see my previous post on uncovering keyword data.
The final statement I would like to make is these campaigns are optimizing search behaviour that attracts visitors when they are specifically looking for something. What already makes SEM a powerful marketing channel is the ability to implement a strategy that is intended for the user and their intentions on the web. Carefully crafted campaigns and constant optimization is required for success in SEM. Search Remarketing is a great way to optimize for qualified traffic to drive leads and sales that may have slipped through the cracks first time around.