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Reach your visitors through remarketing

By abandoning the shopping cart in an e-shop, the story does not end, but rather begins a new chapter. Where the capacity of traditional PPC campaigns seems to end, the door of a remarketing campaign opens. It can be used to target advertising to your existing users based on what you know of their behavior.

Remarketing is a way of targeted PPC advertising, by which you can display advertising messages to users who have visited your site. There are more possible applications of this targeting method than it seems at first glance.
I introduce remarketing in connection with Web integration as an area which is usually covered by the integration mix of digital agencies. In our experience, the importance of this technology goes beyond the performance marketing and its use should be considered in a broader context.

Talk to people you know

Remarketing is characterized by its significantly higher relevance and effectiveness compared to other ways of targeting ads on the content network because it focuses on your past visitors. They must have learnt about your site somehow (they might have seen your ads, someone told them about it ...) and then visited it. It is a great indicator of their interest in the given topic and, from an advertising point of view, proof of relevance. This obviously does not always apply, as irrelevant users are also visiting your website. Remarketing, however, counts on this and has a solution for it.

In other words, remarketing is the domain of the content network, which is one of the two essential ingredients of PPC systems, Google AdWords and Sklik, which are relevant in the Czech Republic. The second component is search, which can barely be compared with remarketing in efficiency. From the perspective of remarketing, I'll only talk about the content network. It includes a large network of sites on which the ads appear within the advertising system.

Remarketing also has a relatively small application in search, to which we shall return to later.
In addition to the above mentioned advertising systems, Facebook Ads provides remarketing as well and adds a few interesting options to it which can´t be found in other systems. Remarketing is not only a component of PPC systems, you can come across to it as well in RTB advertising (real-time bidding, auction ads in real time), and in general it can be described as an approach applicable not only in the online environment, where you address a known user based on his behavior in the past. Its most important application comes with cross-selling, sales promotion and increasing retention.

Majority of data you use on Facebook

Starting with remarketing from the perspective of an advertiser is simple. The advertising system generates the javascript code which should be inserted into all pages of the site. For the novice advertiser, it may be surprising that it only has one code for a single advertising account, especially when they need to distinguish between the visitors coming from various sections (for instance the e-shop and the product). This is sorted by the URL filters, where you create the individual remarketing lists to target your ads. Individual remarketing lists can be either grouped or mutually exclusive, which gives you the opportunity to build very interesting and detailed marketing combinations.

In case of Sklik (Seznam.cz) you only have the basic filtering options, Google AdWords can also work with its own parameters. Facebook can target the ads by their own lists of e-mail addresses and phone numbers, which are paired with the user accounts on Facebook, however, it can´t handle the parameters used in AdWords. The most advanced remarketing options, from a technical point of view, are in Google AdWords, and the largest possibility of using their own data, is on Facebook.

On top of specific parameters from outside the scope of the URL, Google offers dynamic remarketing. It saves huge amounts of time for the e-shop operators which they would have to invest in preparing a specific creative for each product and deploying the ads in the system together with their management. It allows creating a template into which the information (including images) are automatically inserted from the feed within so-called Google Merchant Center service. The ads are then automatically displayed in the content network within the dedicated budget. Remarketing data can be also collected into AdWords through Google Analytics and based on them you can target different devices, in accordance with chosen web metrics, such as the visit length, or the users who provided a specified sequence of actions.

Use detailed marketing combinations

The second dimension is the durability of remarketing data. The maximum durability of each service is different. An expiration date is set for each remarketing list separately and it ensures that items older than a specified time are automatically removed from the list. Thus, if there is a remarketing list with a durability of 60 days, the site visitor is saved in this list. If the user is not included in the list within 60 days after the visit again, he gets removed from the list.

An example of this may be an e-shop offering printers. If a user purchases a laser printer, in three months he will need to buy a new ink cartridge. In this case, you have created a list that will contain all users who bought a laser printer in the last 180 days. Next, you create a list of users who have purchased the laser printer in the last 90 days. When targeting the ads you then select a list of 180 days and exclude lists of 90 days. Your ads will be displayed to users who bought a laser printer only in the last 3-6 months, which is, based on your knowledge of the field, theperiod when they will most likely be looking for a new cartridge. Likewise, you can create a lists especially for cartridges, and regularly remind the users to buy new ones.

Be careful with the terms of use

Remarketing obviously has its limits and those are given by addressing to the individual users. You can´t use it (in the above mentioned PPC systems) to target one particular user. Meaning that, personalized ads saying "Hi Dominic, we have just created a special offer for you!" can't be displayed to any user. The advertising systems determines the minimum size of the list which should be used for targeted advertising. For Facebook, the limit is 20 users, with Google it starts at 100 users. The personalization option for the individual users is not possible due to the limitations and therefore it continues to remain the domain of e-mail marketing.

In addition to this technical limitation, it is necessary to take into account the relatively extensive rules on how remarketing can be used. The rules claim that by remarketing it is not permitted to collect any sensitive information that could lead to identification of any unique user. On top of that they define a range of remarketing usage which is forbidden. An example (as mentioned by Google) may be the end customers who visited the site with information about diabetes. It is forbidden to display ads that could indicate their state of health to such users.

Use remarketing in search engine

Using remarketing is usually offered in the later stages of the buying cycle, especially in the phases of the purchase and retention. However, it can be also used in the moment when a potential customer is researching information for making a decision on the purchase. The key is to make the user visit your website during their research. Based on this visit, you can keep offering him the product until the moment he purchases it. I usually describe this approach to our clients as "haunting holiday syndrome".   At this stage, remarketing can especially be used well in search engines (till now it was only the content network). Here you can display your ads to users who are in your remarketing list and also entered the specific keywords that you have in your campaign.   Keep in mind, remarketing is completely unusable for getting new traffic to your website as it only focuses on previously known users.

Increase retention of your customers

Utilization of remarketing in online remarketing campaigns strongly supports the retention of existing customers and allows working with undecided shoppers. This fact, when more and more companies are realizing that a small increase in retention may contribute to the business many times greater than increase in the number of customers, plays a very important role.

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