There is little doubt that online remarketing can be an effective way of building stronger campaigns within platforms such as Google AdWords. But with a little thought, there are creative ways to leverage up their power even further.
First – let’s just recap on how remarketing works. Someone visits your site. A cookie is placed on their computer which essentially links them (in Google’s mind) to your website.
Later when they are visiting other – possibly unrelated – pages, Google targets them through this cookie and serves your ads. These are “the ads that follow you around”- you visit a website and then ads for that website start appearing all over the place… it’s not coincidence, it’s remarketing.
Most advertisers run remarketing campaigns to all their previous visitors – everyone and anyone who visited their site. Google also allows you to segment the visitor lists by the pages they visited on your page. Let’s say you sell both blue and red widgets. You can build a list of those people that looked at red widgets and another for those who looked at blue widgets. Then you can serve ads for red widgets to the red widget list and ads for blue widgets to the blue widget list.
So far so good.
But you can go further.
Make another list of those people who completed a purchase (or a sign up, a form completion, a newsletter subscription – whatever you class as having captured the client). Now you can combine your lists. You new combination list is for all those people who looked at the red widget pages and who didn’t complete a purchase. After all, why advertise to someone who has already bought from you. There are so many other, more cost effective ways to get repeat business from them once you have their contact details.
But there is another element which is often overlooked. This is the duration of the lists. The default value is for 30 days – if you set up a new remarketing list in your AdWords account, this is the duration it will have. Thus a visitor can be remarketed to for 30 days after their initial visit – then they drop off the list. but the cookie duration can be set to anything up to 18 months!
Using duplicate lists with different cookie durations, and then combining them, we can create “windows of opportunity” for remarketing activities.
Consider this scenario….
You have a hairdressing salon. A visitor comes to your site – but doesn’t make an appointment. They do, however, get added to your remarketing lists. If they are looking for a hairdresser, they are going to find one… they want to get their hair done. It’s not something they are going to spend weeks, or even days deciding about – they’re not buying a new car!
So if you don’t catch them in the couple of days after their first visit, the likelihood is that they decided to go somewhere else. Rats!
But wait…. going to the hairdresser is something that people do every four or five weeks or so. So there’s a good chance that this person will be “in the market” for a new hair appointment in four weeks time.
If we set up one remarketing list with a four week duration and one with a five week duration, we can then combine the two and get a list that only contains people who visited our site between four and five weeks ago. Remarketing to them will be so much more effective than remarketing to someone who had their hair done a week ago.
These windows of opportunity will vary between industries. Insurance policies last a year… so we know that a visitor who was looking at insurance last week will be renewing their policy a year from now. Someone looking for ideas for an anniversary present – the same thing. Golfers looking at boxes of 24 balls will lose those and need to buy more (it might take little longer to figure out the ideal window in this case, but it will exist), an office buying coffee supplies, etc, etc.
In fact almost anything that is a repeat behaviour lends itself to this approach, especially where the repetition is dictated more by the nature of the business itself (as in the case of insurance) than the customer.