Time and time again we observe local businesses enjoying great success with Google Search. So it is natural for business owners to start looking at Google’s extensive Display Advert network. We value highly the display network because it can be less competitive, enhance brand awareness and pull in new audiences.
Whilst these elements are appealing, we do not currently recommend the Display Network for local businesses. The reason is that, although there is a geographical targeting option, for technical reasons it works much less perfectly than the Search network. So there is little point in your lovely, crafted display advert serving people at the other end of the country if your business can only serve customers within a 20 mile radius.
Remarketing Has The Answer For Display Marketing
All is not lost, however, for local businesses. The answer comes in the form of Remarketing. Remarketing (sometimes called Retargeting) has been around for a few years, but it’s use has accelerated significantly over the last year or so. And it’s part of a new trend in online advertising that relies less on keywords and more on customer behaviour and interests.
In reality, even if your business has an amazing website with great offerings, even the best customers may not purchase on their first visit; or even leave their contact information. They may be short of time, become distracted, or want to make a comparison with your competitors. Or more simply, they might not be at the buying stage of their search process. Remarketing works by reminding these potential leads about your business on another day, when they are browsing other websites.
The great thing about Google Adwords Remarketing is that pay per click charging is still an option. So not only is it a good way of getting good prospective customers back to your site, it’s also a cost-effective way of increasing your brand exposure to an audience that you know is already interested in your business (and probably in the right location).
Google Adwords Remarketing can be used in different sorts of ways – depending on why customers leave your website, which page they depart from, and their general behaviour on your website.
Events/Time Of Year. For example, a local retailer could remarket a Valentines offer to customers who visited the Mothers Day Promotion page during the previous year.
By Product Type. A photography studio might retarget with a discounted baby session for browsers who visited the baby gallery.
Reason For Leaving. Some customers who exited the website during the checkout process may be tempted back with an advert offering free shipping.
Website Behaviour. For a more cost-effective remarketing campaigns, it might be sensible to build lists only consisting of browers who originally spent more than 60 seconds on your website.
Reinforcement. Some site visitors may have been driven to a website through offline efforts. The complementary remarketing online adverts could be consistent with the colours and messaging of the original offline marketing.
Setting Up An Adwords Remarketing Campaign
If your Adwords account is linked to Google Analytics you have a choice for building your remarketing lists. Analytics has an intuitive interface and offers very powerful segmentation (including device type and time spent on the website). This can be accessed through Admin>Property>Remarketing (and this has recently been made available to Universal Analytics).
Setting up Remarketing in Adwords is fairly straightforward. You first need to add a snippet of code to every page of your website. Once done correctly, you can start setting up your remarketing Audiences (lists) in the Shared Library. Adwords will automatically set up a list based on all website visitors. Then it is fairly intuitive to set up other lists using Adword’s rules, conditions and list combinations (eg customer who have visited the site in the last 30 days but not converted; customers who have visited a particular page and not converted).
Once the lists have been set up, they will grow automatically and when they have reach a 100, they are ready to be used in a Remarketing campaign. These are the key settings that we would recommend:
Use a separate Campaign for Remarketing (Display Network Only – Remarketing); Set a frequency cap so as not to annoy your prospective customers (3-10 impressions per day); Try to upload all types of ad format (300×250 is the most commonly accepted by websites). Ensure that the branding and messaging on your adevrts is consistent with your website. Exclude website categories that you do not wish your brand to be associated with and keep an eye on the automatic placements.
Monitoring and Evaluation
To some extent, you can monitor impressions, clicks and conversions in the normal way in your Adwords account (and if the Analytics account is linked, website behaviour metrics such as bounce rate and time spent on the website). Evaluation can be a little more complicated though with remarketing because it is not always the last attributed source for a conversion. So a very useful Adwords metric is ‘Through View Conversions’ which is where a customer views the advert (without any action) but later converted on the website. This is a particularly important metric for remarketing campaigns geared more heavily towards brand awareness than direct clicks.
In the Tools and Analyis>Conversions>Search Funnels section, there are also metrics on path length and time lag (these are indicators of the remarketing campaign, but not direct measures). Path length tells you the number of impressions or clicks it took before a visitor made a purchase (or conversion). This can be a an eye-opener for many businesses as these statistic usually underline the idea that many customers don’t part with their money until a fair amount of repeated brand exposure and website interaction over time. Similarly, the time lag metrics will highlight to you why remarketing is so important.
If you have Google Analytics, there are even more detailed search funnels to evaluate. Examining the proportion of returning visitors (under Audience>Behaviour) before and after a remarketing campaign can also be very insightful (you would obviously be looking for the proportion to increase sigificantly) And finally, you would expect a successful marketing campaign to increase the volume of direct traffic.
Like all Adwords campaigns, Remarketing requires ongoing optimisation to make it as cost-effective as possible, particularly during the initial stages. Here are the basic ones we could recommend:
Review the Placement report to check that the display ads are not appearing on any websites that might compromise your brand (they can be easily excluded); Monitor the CTR and number of impressions across different adverts in the same group; and remove the under-performing ones; Always look for opportunities to fine-tune your lists for each AdGroup so that your adverts can more relevant and targeted. Monitor Lost Impression Share Due to Rank to check that you are bidding enough and if your Quality Score is deficient. Using the Dimensions Tab you can test different level of frequency capping to see which cap level brings the best results. We also recommend tailoring the landing pages for each strategy and continually split- testing them.
Other Forms of Remarketing
For local businesses, we recommend Remarketing via the Google display network because it’s a way of extending online advertising in a way that is still targeted and cost-effective. But there are other forms of Remarketing that you may want to look at.
You can use the same Remarketing lists for Google’s regular search network. The big caveat here is that the minimum list size needs to be 1000, but the same principles apply: it’s all about tailoring bids and adverts to the highest value prospects. The search network offers more oportunity for continual metric testing and optimisation because it is relative easy to keep changing and testing text adverts. Here are some potential opportunities for Remarketing using the Search network.
You can tailor the message/offering for certain groups that you might not wish to extend to the general public (eg free shipping); You can risk broader keyword strategies knowing that you are much less likely to be wasting money on uninterested browsers. Conversely you could use remarketing lists to ensure that a campaign is only aimed at new traffic.
Outside of Google, there are Remarketing specialists suitable for smaller businesses. For example, Ad Rolls has an easy interface, and does not require a minimum spend or contract. A benefit of these Remarketing companies is that their reach is often more extensive than Google’s partner network. Many will serve adverts on Facebook and other social media platforms too.
If you would like help setting up or managing a Remarketing campaign – or would like to learn more about our services – please get in touch.