Wednesday, May 12, 2010

5 Questions to ask before starting a Retargeting Campaign

Retargeting or Remarketing is way to put your ad in front of the people who have been to your site before and are likely to respond to you ads and offers.

Retargeting via Google Adwords

Retargeting is not new, I have been writing about it since 2006 and working in this area since 2003. Recently, Google Remarketing, via adwords, has brought retargeting to the masses. Though, in my opinion, Google has not done a good job in educating advertiser on how to effectively engage in retargeting. To start with, Google says, you should retarget every visitor who came to your site. That is a wrong approach and I highly discourage it. As you read through this post , you will know my reasoning behind it. You have to understand remarketing to effectively use it. I am listing 5 questions that you should ask before you put that JavaScript code to start remarketing.

5 questions to ask before starting a Retargeting Campaign
  1. What is the purpose of this retargeting campaign?
    This is first question you should always ask. Also ask, Why are we doing this? What is the purpose of retargeting? As you answer this question, you will automatically start to answer some of the questions listed below.
  2. Who are your target customers?
    Remarketing to all of you visitors, in most cases, not a good idea. If you are a portal, news site, have daily updates then it might (maybe) make sense to remarket anybody and everybody who visited your site. For most of the sites it doesn’t make sense to retarget everybody. Think about this, why would you want to target me with an ad to sell TV when I recently bought a TV from your site?


    Trying to sell ice to the Eskimo?  Try it. You'll be sorry. To be effective, you should segment your visitor base and understand their needs. For example, by targeting the shopping card abandoner you have a better chance of conversion. By targeting those who have already downloaded a whitepaper, you have better chance of selling your free trial. The message (ad) you will put in front of these visitors will speak to their needs and hence will be more attractive than a generic message. Which leads to our third question.
  3. What will be your message?
    If you know the purpose and audience segment for the campaign then it is much easier to write your message (ad copy). Your ad copy has to be effective to drive people to take action. Make it right. Say you want to target all the people who downloaded a whitepaper on A/B Testing but did not sign up for free trial then your message can be “You know A/B Testing leads to higher conversions. Get started with a Free trial of xyz tool”. Alternatively, if you are trying to remarket to all the visitors who came to your site, reviewed few page and left without downloading the whitepaper then your message should drive them to download the whitepaper. Remember, one message does not fit all. Message has to resonate with the segment that you are targeting.
  4. Where will the visitors land?
    You have identified why you want to engage in remarketing and who you are targeting, now you have to make you sure that when customers arrive on your site they get the relevant information and clear call to action on the page they land. Sending visitors to an appropriate landing page is critical for the success of remarketing .
  5. How will you know you are successful in remarketing?
    You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Define your KPIs so that you can measure the effectiveness of remarketing. Properly defined success measures will also allow you to take necessary actions (test and fine tune ad copy, message or even the segments) to ensure you achieve your goals.
Google Remarketing Gone Wild.

Recently I came across two examples of remarketing where, in my opinion, the thought was given to the first 2 questions. I have an example to share with you. A while ago I visited Lyris newsletter template download page via a newsletter link. I gave my email address and downloaded the templates. Since I am done downloading, I don’t have a need to download them again.

However, the remarketing campaign keeps remarketing to me with a message inviting me to download the whitepaper (see below). If they have something new to offer then I might go back. If they have to offer the next logical step in moving me towards the sales, I might pay attention to it but I am not going to go back again to download the same templates that I downloaded few days ago. Seriously! Do not waste your impressions on me. If increasing brand awareness is the goal of this campaign then they should have a different message in the ad copy.





(Note: Currently there is a limitation in Google Adword retargeting which makes it harder to segment and target that segment only. If you are interested in segmenting and targeting then send me an email and I will provide you a solution that will help you target efficiently.) 

Sidebar: Below are some of the ways you can use remarketing
  • Cart Abandonment – Target visitors who have abandoned the shopping cart to bring them back to the site and complete the purchase. This is the most widely used and talked about use of remarketing.
  • Next Steps towards Conversion - Target visitors who took some prelim steps but did not complete the next steps towards purchase. E.g. Target the visitors who downloaded a whitepaper but have not come back to sign up for free trial.
  • Cross Sell/New Products – Target past customer with an up sell or cross sell. If a visitor bought a shirt recently maybe it is time to show them an ad for a tie that will go well with that shirt.
  • Brand Awareness – Remarket to people who have visited your site in past. Remarketing can put your brand right in front of them to further build brand awareness. Though this one is difficult to measure.

Thoughts/ Comments? Are you doing remarketing?




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