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Remarketing and retargeting: Six ways to drive more sales

30th Oct 2015
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Whether you're running an ecommerce business making sales online, or a service-based company seeking lead generation or brand awareness, remarketing and retargeting are techniques that can help.

Relating specifically to paid advertising, usually through Google AdWords or social media, these techniques are about getting more out of your existing website visitors by drawing them back to your site after they’ve left.

Remarketing is about marketing your brand or product again to someone who has yet to convert and retargeting is the process of marketing to those who have previously converted.

Ever been on a website looking at a particular product and then left without leaving? You’ve likely seen an advert elsewhere on the web for that specific product. Coincidence? Nope, that’s remarketing. Previously bought a product and later seen an advert for a related product on another website? That’s not a coincidence either.

Here, I’ll share my tips to help you make more of your existing website traffic - to increase your return on marketing investment (ROMI) and get more sales/conversions per visitor through remarketing and retargeting.

1. Configure your tracking

To even start thinking about making more of your existing website traffic, you’ll need to ensure you’re tracking those visitors. A great way to do that is using Google Tag Manager.

Google Tag Manager, or GTM, is a free tool from Google which enables you to add tracking information into your site without having to go in and change the code. It’s easy to set up, simply ask your web developer to add the GTM code into every page of your website and then you can then add things such as Google Analytics and Facebook’s tracking pixels yourself.

Through Google Tag Manager, you can track visitors to your site, customers or those that wanted to find out a little more through the likes of Google Analytics and Facebook to start building custom audiences.

Too often we see clients with misconfigured analytics, so this is definitely always top of our list.

2. Segment your audience

With tracking all set up, you can collect data on your website visitors and then use this to start segmenting that audience further.

You can then build custom audiences in your various platforms, Google Analytics, Facebook etc., depending on what tracking codes you’ve implemented.

A custom audience is a group of visitors that you create based on metrics you set. Some common ‘custom audiences’ you might create include:

  • Engaged users. Collect the cookie information of users who have viewed four or more pages on your website, let’s say, or those who’ve spent three minutes or more there.
  • Viewed, but not converted. Collect the information of users who have viewed a product/service page but not converted, whether that means they haven’t then purchased the product or they haven’t filled in a contact form or clicked to call (mobile).
  • Previous converters. Collect the information of users who have previously converted on your site, ie. they’ve previously bought something for you or submitted information through a form.

It’s important to build up audiences like these in order to target them using your remarketing and retargeting campaigns. Think about which users are most likely to respond positively to seeing your ad on an external site and create custom audiences of those users.

3. Learn from previous converting traffic

As well as creating audiences through tracking, you can also set-up audiences to target from scratch.

It’s a really good idea to try to learn from your previous converting visitors when trying to create an audience of people who are likely to convert in the future. Consider demographical information; is there a particular gender, age group or location that tends to convert more frequently than others? You can then craft remarketing and retargeting campaigns to suit these people and target them specifically within your campaign settings.

Use past data to influence your content strategy as well as your advertising strategy. Let’s say a particular offer you put together or blog post you shared had more traction than you’d expect on average, you can use this information to inform the content or offers you produce in future! By creating more of what’s worked before, you can learn from your past converters and thus appeal to more of your existing website traffic.

You can also use past data to see what days or times of day have higher conversion rates than others, and structure your remarketing and retargeting to focus on those days or times.

4. Have a clear upsell/cross-sell strategy

Businesses that have a clear upsell or cross-sell strategy can get more out of their existing website traffic by encouraging people to buy more or buy again.

Consider how you can best upsell or cross-sell your website visitors within your website and outside of it.

For example, you may have shopped with Amazon before; have you ever noticed how, on your return, products are ‘recommended for you’ based on your previous selections? No coincidence here either; this is designed to encourage you to buy more based on your previous shopping behaviours.

Your product or service pages can be a great place to cross or upsell - where cross-selling relates to selling something similar and up selling is about selling something additional or more expensive. Consider adding your own ‘recommended for you’, which can be generated by that specific user’s behaviour or on general trends, e.g. when someone buys a toaster from you they often buy a toast rack also.

This strategy also feeds into your remarketing and retargeting campaigns. By identifying the products or services which best compliment those the user has viewed or purchased before, you can serve up highly targeted ads to them which promote that upsell or cross-sell and thus encourage more conversions.

5. Retarget basket abandonments

If your site is set up in such a way that users can add products to a cart, you have another opportunity to retarget those who navigate away without completing a purchase.

There is also an element of CRO (conversion rate optimisation) here - look at why people are abandoning their carts and consider things like shipping costs being offputting, forms being too complicated or any other reason they didn’t buy, and how you can improve that user’s journey.

Providing the user has gone far enough through the checkout process that they have submitted their email address, you can re-engage them a few hours or days later (depending on the types of products you retail) to entice them back with an offer, for example, letting them know an item in their cart is now on offer or prompting them to complete the purchase by suggesting their transaction was incomplete.

You can also retarget people through other platforms such as Facebook, where the email addresses can be used to present targeted advertisements to those users.

6. Be smart with your retargeting messages

It’s important that your retargeting messages are used to entice people back to relevant pages and that the techniques you use add value to their customer journey, as opposed to putting them off by appearing to ‘hassle’ them.

A common mistake we see is the use of just one retargeting ad which goes to a high level or category page. This is a weak approach because it is not well targeted. Instead, focus on segmenting your audience and serving them ads which focus on the product or product group they have navigated away from.

This can be achieved over time with AdWords Dynamic Retargeting, which shows ads focused on product, category or brand. Have multiple ads at each level to craft a message, which will appeal to more people.

Always show a reason to purchase from your brand as opposed to your competitors, too. It’s likely the user is shopping around so you need to sell on your brand values or a unique customer value proposition - e.g. no shipping fees or added value items.

In summary...

Remarketing and retargeting can be extremely powerful tools for businesses who want to make more of their existing website traffic. They are techniques which can be quite challenging to manage, purely because there are so many technical elements to them, so employing a Google Partner agency such as ourselves to manage it on your behalf will ensure you get the best return on your investment.

It’s also important that remarketing and retargeting are a part of your strategy, not a bolt on or something you rely on independent of other tools and channels you might be using. Craft an integrated strategy which incorporates remarketing and retargeting for the greatest chances of success.

Aaron Dicks is founder and managing director at digital marketing agency Impression.

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