Become The Little Giant With Remarketing

Google recently introduced remarketing on its Adwords platform. This is great for small businesses, as it provides easy access to a marketing strategy big companies have been using for several years – and that can provide tremendous results.

(Just because this is accessible to small companies does not mean it’s where you should start. There are other online marketing venues you should probably try first).

Remarketing lets you display advertisements to people who have visited your website. The ads appear on sites that Google’s ad network has access to – which reaches 76% of US Internet users, and includes everything from the tiniest sites to YouTube and CNN.

The great thing about remarketing is that it allows you to advertise only to people who have been interested in your business, as your ads are only seen by those that have visited your website, or even a particular page on your website. This allows you to keep your name out in front of those consumers that have already shown real interest, which is particularly great if your product has a longer sales cycle.

A Step-By-Step Guide

First off, you will need a Google Adwords account. This guide is targeted to people who already have some familiarity with the system – if you’ve never advertised on Google, consider looking at their beginner’s guide.

Step 1: Create A New Campaign

Your Adwords remarketing campaign should be tracked separately from any other campaigns you are running, so we’re going to set it up in a separate campaign.

On the main campaigns screen, click New Campaign.

You’ll get the regular campaign creation screen. Start filling out the campaign name, etc. The first thing you’ll want to take special note of is the Networks and Devices section.

Adwords Remarketing Setup - Networks and Devices

You’ll want to setup the Networks section as I did here, de-selecting the search options, and using Relevant pages across the entire network under Content. You could also choose Relevant pages only on the placements and audiences I manage – this setting would allow you to narrow the list of sites on which your ads would appear, but will require additional setup.

You’ll get a warning that your ads won’t show for search – that’s ok, it’s not what we’re looking for. Consider the devices tab – for now I would probably limit the ad display to Desktop and laptop computers.

Next is the budget tab. I would suggest setting a relatively high CPC bid to start, to make sure that your ad gets some impressions, and not to forget the daily budget limit (everyone makes mistakes – start it out at an amount you can afford to lose!). If you would like, you can bid for impressions instead of clicks. Choose Advanced options, then Focus on impressions. This way, you will be setting an amount you would like to pay for every 1000 views of your ad.

The last section you’ll want to look at is the Advanced settings area at the bottom of the page. Click it, and you’ll see this:

Adsense Content Network Frequency Capping

You can choose a maximum number of impressions per day/week/month for the campaign/adgroup/ad. It will take experimentation to find the best number for what you’re doing, but put something here – you probably don’t want one person seeing your ad 1000 times per day.

Step 2: Create an Ad

When you finish your campaign creation, you’ll immediately be asked to create an ad. This is running on the content network, so you can use both text and image ads. The fastest way to get started is going to be to grab an ad you already have in another successful campaign and use that. Don’t forget to go in and add additional ads so you can test to find the best versions.

Remember to keep in mind that you are creating ads for the content network, and for a remarketing campaign. Content ads are different from search – the viewers are not looking for your product at the time, so the best ads tend to be different (usually have to better grab their attention). Despite the similarities with content, it is not the same, as most people seeing the ad should already be familiar with your product/name/website, so test different ads.

Step 3: Creating an Audience

Now for the new part. If it is not already showing, we want to display the Audiences tab. On the screen for your new campaign, look for the spot shown here:

Enabling Adwords Audience Tab

Either there will already be a tab saying Audiences in this place, or else you can click the arrow to show the tab. If neither is displayed, your account probably does not have remarketing enabled yet, although I think it’s supposed to be available to everyone soon.

Once the Audiences tab is showing, click on it and you will see this:

Google Adwords Audiences Tab

To get started, click Add Audience (you can get to the same place by clicking Control Panel & Library, seen in the far bottom left of the screen, and then choosing Audiences). From the Add Audience drop-down, choose Remarketing List, and you’ll see this:

Creating an Adwords Remarketing List

There are a few things to fill out here.

  • Give your list a name, and a description is helpful if you will be creating many lists.
  • Choose a membership duration, which is the number of days after a person visits your site that they will be targeted with remarketing ads (Note that remarketing will not work if you have fewer than 500 people in your list).
  • Finally, you’ll want to Create a new remarketing tag. (If you want to use a page that already has Adwords Conversion Tracking code installed you can choose Select from existing tags, and it will allow you to choose from existing tracking code on your site).

Once finished, click Save. You’ll see the list show up on the audiences screen.

Step 4: Installing the Code

Without moving to another page, look at the list you created. Under the heading Tags/Rules, there should be a link with the name of your list. Click the link, and this screen will appear:

Google Adwords Remarketing Tracking Code

You need to copy all the code in that box, and insert it into your website, much like analytics code. Generally, it should go before the closing body tag. You view Google’s insertion tips for more information. Before placing the code, decide whether you want it to show up on every page of your site, or just particular pages.

You can also create separate remarketing lists for different pages on your site. For instance – perhaps a customer that has entered but abandoned your shopping cart has a higher value than someone who just visited your home page. You could have a list with a longer membership duration or higher bid prices to reflect this greater value.

You’re Finished!

With that, you have a new remarketing list in Adwords. It may take a while for the user number to start updating – in my experience, this is even slower than most of the Adwords stats. Eventually, you’ll start to see users, and once it crosses the 500 mark your ad should start showing.

Once you have some experience with remarketing, you can start to think about all the other possibilities. You can create multiple lists of different durations from the same tracking code, lowering your bid price as visitor’s recency falls off. Consider assigning different code to different places on your site, as I mentioned before. Finally, you can also choose to create Custom combinations, combining several audiences. This makes it possible to advertise specifically to those who have visited several pages, or to eliminate visitors that completed your purchase funnel.

Adwords Remarketing allows you to treat every person who visits your website, no matter the source, almost like a member of an opt-in email list, sending them your message over a period of time. The possibilities for converting a higher percentage of your valuable visitors, and increasing the value of window shoppers are tremendous.

Have any experience with remarketing? Let us know how it went in the comments.

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8 Responses to “Become The Little Giant With Remarketing”

  1. Naveen October 8, 2010 at 8:48 am #

    Hi Chris thanks for the really insightful guide.

    Just a clarification, can we add one tag under different domains? for example if i want to target visitors 3 different sites under one campaign?

    • Chris October 10, 2010 at 2:04 am #

      Yes, I believe that will work fine. You also could set up separate tags for each site, and then target all three audiences when you create your campaign.

  2. Preeti January 2, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    Hi Chris,

    Very useful info. I had a question. I track my conversions using Omniture and so I don’t have conversion tracking installed. Can I still use Remarketing to show ads to ppl who quit the shopping process mid way?

  3. Sophie May 4, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    Thanks for this valuable tips. I want to confirm one thing that the remarketing code need to add in only conversion page or in all pages if i have static website.

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