Remarketing: History of a new form of targeting | Publications

Three years ago, remarketing was an unknown term by many marketeers. But now, who could think about a Display campaign without using remarketing? From a very basic approach at the beginning: retarget users that have been on your website when they are surfing on the web, we have moved to a much more complex form of targeting.

Let’s have a look at the way Google introduced remarketing & developed it to better understand the potential of this new form of targeting:

March 2010: Remarketing launched in AdWords

You had to implement a new code on the pages of your website where you wanted to gather users cookies to be able to retarget them. So let’s take the example of an ecommerce: if your remarketing code was implemented on your thank you page after a sale was made, then you could retarget users that have bought on your website.

2011: Use Remarketing list in negative

Google introduced the ability to add your users list in “negative” at campaign level for your Display campaigns. If we take again the example of an e-commerce, we could then set up a branding campaign and exclude all users that have previously bought on my website or been on my homepage (if the remarketing tag was placed there). It then allows us to only touch new users and have a different message & strategy for my existing customers.

June 2012: Simplify the AdWords remarketing tag

A new remarketing tag was announced by Google to place on all the pages of your website instead of the page level. Then, within the interface, you can choose to retarget visitors that have seen a particular page or a combination of different pages. This simplifies a lot the implementation of remarketing and give you a lot of list combination opportunities.

For instance, you could retarget all the customers that have seen your internet abonnement offer but not the internet + tv + telephony offer, underlining the current promotion your have for your package product.

July 2012: Remarketing is linked with Google Analytics

If you use Google Analytic to measure the traffic on your website, this simplifies again the remarketing implementation & offers a lot of opportunities. Indeed, with one Google Analytics code slightly modified (add one line of code) implemented on all pages of your website, you can track your websites activities and also retarget your customers/visitors.

Moreover, all the metrics & dimensions available in Google Analytics can be used to create remarketing list in AdWords! This offers a lot of opportunities for advertisers. Few example of what kind of audiences we put in place for our clients at Semetis:

  • Promotion of a mobile site: Retarget all visitors from the past 60 days that have visited the website with a mobile phone and have a very high bounce rate.
  • Promotion of a new service: Retarget very qualitative visitors: more than 5 pages per visit & that have visited more than twice in the past 2 weeks.
  • Promotion of a new product: Retarget the clients of a connected product (ex: they have bought a photo album online) in the last 60 days to propose them our new product with a special discount (ex: our new postcard online service).

February 2013: YouTube & Remarketing

If you do a pre-roll or promoted video campaign, you might be interested to retarget all the users that have watched/commented/shared your video. This is now possible if you link your AdWords account with your Youtube account! To facilitate you the task, Google AdWords offers you a lot of predefined remarketing lists, that includes all possible ways to interact with your videos. This is very powerful if you want to develop a special relationship with an audience actively engaged with your brand!

March 2013: Reach Similar Audiences

Sometimes, you can be a bit disappointed by the performances of your remarketing campaign. As you are targeting only your sites visitors, the reach is quite limited, so the clicks are also limited. In this case, you can show your ad to users that have a similar browsers behaviour than your site visitors via similar audiences. Indeed, we suppose those visitors have more chance to click on your ads as they seem to have the same interests and preferences than your visitors. Be careful with this option if you have a limited budget for remarketing because this can increase your volume a lot.

June 2013: Dynamic Remarketing for retail advertisers

This allows advertisers to do what Criteo was doing from the beginning: show to visitors that have seen a particular product but not bought it, a Display ad with this product included.

Different targeting can be implemented, for instance : target users that have put the product into the basket but did not buy it. This is a very efficient form of targeting in terms of sales.

However, it was sometimes negatively perceived by customers that had the feeling to be tracked & harassed by this ad on every site thy visit on the web. It has to be used carefully, that is why we strongly recommend to have a capping of impressions per user (one ad per day per user for instance).

July 2013 Launch of Remarketing for Search

Very recently, Google opens remarketing to search as well. It means you can use the audiences you have created for your Display campaign for your search campaigns.

This allows you to adopt interesting bidding strategies such as bidding more on generic expansive terms only for users that have been on your site previously but did not buy. Indeed, you are then targeting a very qualitative audience, that will be more eager to click on your ads than a completely new visitors. Thus, your CPA on generic terms should decrease.

You can also use remarketing list to avoid showing ads on particular terms for a particular audience. Let’s say you do not want to show your brand campaign to existing customers. Moreover, remarketing for search is a great way to address a more specific message for a certain audience. You could for instance propose a discount for the users searching for your products on Google, that have been on your website before.

It seems that we have explored all possible ways to retarget customers using Google AdWords... But who knows what Google will introduce next? As we can see, remarketing targeting becomes more and more complex and technical - that is why we believe at Semetis that it is important to let real experts managing it for you!

written byCécile Quinon

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