Remarketing, also known as retargeting, is a very common form of digital marketing that involves serving ads to users who have already visited your website, blog or a specific web page and have not performed the particular conversion – or action – you wanted them to perform, such as a purchase or registration, for example. So remarketing is an effective way to target users who have already shown some interest in your company or brand.
As you can see, this marketing strategy is called “remarketing” because you are targeting people who have already visited your web pages or existing customers, and it should be considered as a second chance to convert, sell or retain your customers through online advertising campaigns. You can do remarketing in different ways and with different advertising platforms, such as Outbrain, Google Ads or Facebook Ads.
No matter how you use it, remarketing is a must-have tactic for your digital marketing strategy.
In this article, we will focus on remarketing with Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords).
So how does remarketing work on the advertising network of the world’s largest search engine?
Remarketing in Google Ads consists of static images, animated images, videos, responsive ads and text ads that are placed on the Google Display and Google Search networks. What differentiates remarketing from standard Display and Search advertising is the targeting. Remarketing involves using a special tracking code to place cookies on the browsers of people visiting your website, and then serving perfectly targeted ads to users who have that cookie. This can be a very powerful element of a PPC campaign, and its implementation will improve the performance of your marketing efforts.
To do this, you will need to find users who have shown enough interest in your products or services to visit your website. These people are more likely to convert than those who have not yet visited your website.
A remarketing strategy on Google Ads can be broken down as follows:
Choice of remarketing type: Search, Display, video, dynamic, etc.
How to establish your segments? That is, how to segment your website visitors into distinct and homogeneous audiences
How to optimize your remarketing campaigns.
The remarketing options with Google Ads
Here are the 6 possibilities offered by Google Ads for your remarketing strategy:
Standard remarketing: this Google Ads feature allows you to serve ads to your former visitors when they browse websites and applications in the Display Network.
Dynamic Remarketing: this Google Ads feature allows you to serve ads to former visitors who have viewed your products or services on your website.
Remarketing for mobile applications: If users have used your mobile application or mobile website, Google Ads allows you to show them ads when they use other mobile applications or mobile websites.
Remarketing lists for Search Ads: This feature allows you to target past visitors on the Search Network. You can customize your Search Ads specifically for these past visitors while they are searching on Google and partner sites.
Video Remarketing: Google Ads allows you to serve ads to people who have interacted with your YouTube channel. So you can serve them remarketing ads on YouTube or via videos on the Display Network.
Remarketing by email list: if you have email lists of your prospects and customers, you can upload them to Google Ads. This feature allows you to serve them ads if they are connected to a Google account (Gmail, YouTube, Google search, etc.).
How to select your audiences
The very first step in remarketing is to analyze your data and develop an appropriate strategy. You’ll need to decide which visitors you want to target with ads, separating those you want to target from those you don’t want to target at all. There are an infinite number of ways to target your audiences, based on different criteria:
The product page visited
Visiting a certain page in your checkout process
Not having visited a certain page (confirmation page, thank you page, etc.)
The time spent on the website
Number of pages visited
There are also custom combinations that allow you to target people who have visited a specific page without visiting another. For example, this would allow you to target users who visited the first page of your checkout process without reaching the thank you page. With this remarketing strategy, you will be able to target users in your overall traffic who are interested enough in your product to add an item to their cart, but for some reason did not complete the purchase process.
You can also target any audience based on URLs. If you have a thank you page that pops up after people leave their email address to sign up for your newsletter or get a special offer, you can use the URL of that thank you page and that contact information to create a remarketing list.
Here are some steps you can use to start creating your audience segments:
Think of all the URLs you want to target on your site and make a list in an Excel file, making sure to note the audience name and URL.
Include any ideas you can think of to create custom combinations of audiences.
If you have goal funnels set up on Google Analytics, use the data collected to find relevant touchpoints in the conversion funnel for your remarketing campaign.
If you have a Google Analytics account, you don’t need to update the code. Simply change a setting in the Administrator section of GA.
Go to Admin > Tracking Information > Data Collection, and finally enable the “Remarketing” button.
With this remarketing code on Analytics, you will be able to set up remarketing lists based on goals rather than just page views.
Here is how to create remarketing lists with Google Analytics.
Create remarketing lists with Google Analytics
If you want to use Google Analytics for your remarketing, here’s how it works.
Once you are in your Google Analytics account, click on the “admin” section.
Then click on the link called “audience definitions”. Then click on “audiences” and “new audience”.
You will be able to give your list a name, choose an Analytics profile and a Google Ads account to use with your list, select the type of remarketing you want to do and keep the option to change the duration of your campaign.
If you don’t use Google Analytics for your remarketing, it is of course possible to create your lists directly on Google Ads.
Create remarketing lists directly on Google Ads
To do this, you will need to access the “Shared Library” in your Google Ads account. Then click on “Audience Manager”.
In the “Audience Lists” section, look for the “Remarketing” tab.
Then click on the “+” button and choose “Website visitors”.
Next, here’s how to choose the “Membership Duration”.
Membership is the length of time you want to store a cookie in a visitor’s browser. There are many different strategies for selecting this membership duration, depending on your business goals and the remarketing strategy you have in place. It can be extended up to 540 days in any case.
If you run an e-commerce site where people only buy a product on average once every three months, you could extend your membership duration to 90 days.
In the same vein as the membership duration, Google Ads also offers you to limit the frequency of exposure to remarketing ads (Frequency Capping). You will find this feature in the settings of each specific campaign.
It will allow you to limit how often a user can see your ad during a given period. Keep in mind that if you show your ad too often to users, they will most likely get bored. If you don’t want this to happen with your remarketing campaigns, choose a frequency limit that seems appropriate for your business goals.
How to optimize your remarketing campaigns
Remarketing optimization can be done in different ways:
- Test your ads
Optimize your remarketing ads in the same way you would for your traditional ad campaigns, but you need to keep your audience characteristics in mind. These users already know your brand, so you may need to go a little further to win them back. Try different offers, calls to action, visuals, etc.
- Test your landing pages
The user you are bringing back to your site basically already knows your brand and products. Therefore, you should try to send them to the same pages on your site they’ve visited before, as well as new pages, to find out what type of content works best, and optimize your landing pages based on that information.