PPC Chat Streamcap – Google AdWords Remarketing

Hello Again PPCChatters!

This week, our host Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) was unable to attend our regular chat. Instead we had a special guest host, Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem), who lead us through another great set of questions. This chat’s topic focused on “Google AdWords Remarketing”. The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat.

Q1: How do you determine that remarketing is right for a client?

  • Remarketing is nearly right for any client; it’s a matter of how it is used and who to target. All comes back to goals. – Andy Groller (@Andy Groller)
  • There is no “right,” there is only “test!” – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea) +++++
  • I think its right for pretty much everyone as long as the budget is available. Multi-conversion type companies especially. – Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem)
  • When their conversion rate is less than 100%. – Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie) +++
  • Type of conversion, goals, volume to site, budget! – Crystal Anderson (@CrystalA)
  • Seriously though, for someone who does PPC full-time. I hate seeing other company’s Remarketing ads directed towards me. – Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
    • I somewhat disagree. Sometimes they remind me of nice stuff and help me learn new approaches. – Sergey Smirnov (@Smirnovi4)
      • Ha, new approaches I can get on board with. But I don’t forget about anything nice. – Neil Sorenson
  • Depends on budget, also if they have a long conversion path is can be a great way to get those who fall off the conversion path. – Justin Freid (@Justin_Freid)
  • If there is a long period from initial contact to conversion then remarketing is more likely to be right for the client. – Harris Neifield (@HarrisNeifield)
  • Really useful for online transactions like lead gen or ecommerce. Esp, long sales cycles. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • Unless, they are targeting a terribly wrong audience in the first place, remarketing is probably good to test. – Amy Hoffman (@Hoffman8)
  • Along w/previous items, priority of opp. You can make a case to test (almost) anything-important to look @ the upside of each! – Crystal Anderson
  • Remarketing is useful for finding new placements. Shows you other sites your customers visit, so you can target similar people. – David Kyle (@DavidKyle) +
  • Caveat: Re-marketing could be wrong if site gets a ton of irrelevant traffic. No need to spend $ on junk. – Aaron Levy
  • How much stake should we place in a view-through conversion generated from Remarketing? Sometimes the #s look too optimistic IMO. – Neil Sorenson
    • Take view-throughs with a grain of salt. You can assign SOME value, but not the same as a direct Click-to-conv. – Aaron Levy
    • Use a discount rule – IE: how many other channels do they advertise on, and discount view-throughs accordingly. – Crystal Anderson
  • Re-marketing might not work so well for sites with small conversion values. What’s the cheapest re-marketing click? – David Pedersen (@SeaPPC) +
    • I’m seeing around $1. Great point. – Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
  • It’s not always the right strategy if there is a privacy sensitivity. – Chris Kostecki (@chriskos)
    • Can you please give any examples of Privacy sensitivity? – Sergey Smirnov
      • A niche store that dealt w outdoor independent folks, a lot of offline marketing, & did not want “follow” those who left their site. – Chris Kostecki

Q1 Summary: Remarketing might be a good option for just about any business marketing online. The one niche that this might not be a “best” solution for would be Small Businesses where there are budget constraints or for products and services with lower profit margins that could not produce a positive ROI.

Ok, so as a follow up, what % of your clients have remarketing campaigns?

  • Most, unless budget is a concern. – Andy Groller +
  • 100% – Sergey Smirnov
  • All of the accounts I work on have remarketing. Its the best performing display network campaign in all of them. – Michelle Morgan
  • ~50% have RM running, rest are in the “future test” bucket. Advice – install codes now & build audience for later! – Aaron Levy
  • Maybe 50%. My small budget clients do not have it. – Luke Alley
  • I’d say 75% of my clients use remarketing. – Justin Freid

Follow-up Summary: We should see remarketing become as common for AdWords advertisers as it becomes more popular and PPC marketers run, learn and blog about successful campaigns;)

By completely coincidental happenstance, Joe Kerschbaum (@JoeKerschbaum) wrote a recent post for Search Engine Watch titled: 3 Awesome Remarketing Ad Strategies.

Q2: Do you still run other display network campaigns while running a remarketing campaign? Why?

  • Yes. To reach all the people who haven’t visited my site yet. – Luke Alley
  • Yes, different targets, different creatives, different processes. – Chris Kostecki +
    • How is your creative different? – Luke Alley
      • My disp creatives are to be noticed and bring people in, my remarketing are more subtle, reminders that they were there. – Chris Kostecki +
        • I think this is a HUGE point. Do you say something like “Thx for visiting already! I’m following you. Come back!” ??? – Luke Alley +
          • Tailor messages based on what they’ve seen and how they have (or have NOT) interacted w/your site. – Crystal Anderson +
          • No, but you can focus on diff value props, diff sales tactics and diff CTA’s. – Aaron Levy +
            • w RM i try to use site color pallet, & pics they would’ve seen, on disp, i try to grab attn away frm others. – Chris Kostecki +
    • If a user’s been to your site, you can tailor copy/images based on what they’ve seen already. – Aaron Levy +
  • You betcha. We have to get the audience to the site first before we can re-market them! – Aaron Levy
  • Absolutely! Display = new marketings; remarketing = current targets. – Andy Groller +
  • Yes. Different Goals. – James Svoboda
  • Yes – plenty of people to target in GDN who haven’t been to your website before. – Harris Neifield
  • I think the rest of the content network is too big to ignore. Especially when targeted correctly. – Michelle Morgan +
  • Definitely – the display network is bringing new clients and helping build your brand. – Justin Freid
  • Definitely. Bigger bucket to remarket to of those who’ve seen but not converted, etc. – Crystal Anderson
  • Generally my remarketing ads acknowledge to the viewer that they are a customer or have visited the site. Regular ads don’t. – David Kyle
  • Definitely! There are so many targeting options with the content network: topics, keywords, text/image ads, etc. – Amy Hoffman
  • I run additional display network campaigns in order to feed my re-marketing campaigns, only if I would do it w/o Re-marketing. – David Pedersen
  • Remarketing is for conversions. content can be conversions or brand building, overlap depends on the goal of the content campaign. Harris Neifield
  • I mainly use remarketing to close carts or to bring people back when it’s time to replace what they bought the first time. – Jordan Glasner (@glasner) ++
    • Excellent idea, closing carts is a great idea for re-marketing, tag them on checkout. – David Pedersen
      • Exactly. I tag them through the site to know where they were browsing, then each point in checkout to see where they left. – Jordan Glasner
        • The delay of targeting question is definitely important. – Michelle Morgan
  • Display/content very useful if phone conversions are a primary goal. – Andy Groller
  • We use remarketing for people that looked but didn’t buy and also to market to people that already bought, to retain loyalty. Using different campaigns, that is. – Amy Hoffman
    • So basically everyone! – James Svoboda
      • Exactly! The key is, different campaigns for different audiences so you can have diff ads, diff landing pages, etc. – Amy Hoffman
        • Or different ad groups. – Chris Kostecki

Q2 Summary: I think Andy Groller summed it up the best with “Display = new marketings; remarketing = current targets”. In essence, running a campaign on Google’s Display Network is for generating clicks and exposure to a mostly new audience and Google AdWords Remarketing is a continuation of marketing to an audience that has already been exposed to the brand. Both of these ad vehicles will have a different outlook, budget, conversion rates and goals, and should be treated as unique campaigns.

Follow up, different goals with content and remarketing if you run both? Lead gen, the other brand building? Or do they overlap?

  • Some overlap in goals; but display is more branding than lead gen in “most” cases. – Andy Groller +
  • I tend to overlap them. Users in both audiences can convert in many different ways. I test to see which works better : ) – Michelle Morgan
  • They may overlap. I do multiple campaigns. Maybe 1 remarketing for branding & 1 for lead gen, etc. Same w/ Content. – Amy Hoffman
  • Usually similar goals – at the end of the day I still need to see convs. to justify the $ – Crystal Anderson
  • They overlap – in the end its all about cost per lead and # of conversions. So the money follows the lead gen capabilities. – Justin Freid

Q3: What is your thought process when creating a remarketing list?

  • Not being too general. Don’t want to target users who did not have any intent on converting ever. Users should at least get to a shopping cart, contact form, etc. Not just the home page! – Andy Groller +
    • Right, homepage audiences only work for branding. – Chris Kostecki
  • I tag relevant part of the site w/ diff tags so I can test lists. Usually go by site “depth.” higher in the funnel = softer sell. – Aaron Levy
  • What steps in my site need to be improved upon, where is comp heaviest, what prods have more browsers than buyers. – Chris Kostecki
  • I usually try to target as specific as I can without going below the 500 user threshold. Allows me to target ad copy better. – Michelle Morgan
  • Use GA to find volume pages, bounces/exits, high time on site, Nav paths, etc. – Crystal Anderson ++++
  • Make many unique lists based on the sales process, parts of the site visited. This way you can make message relevant. – David Kyle
  • Tailor the list to each client’s business and conversion path. Look at where users drop off, what content is being viewed. – Justin Freid
  • Most important pages visited, then build ads which answer whatever logical questions/point weren’t addressed on that page. – Harris Neifield
  • Can it be easily implemented onsite? Do I want to delay targeting them? Should they be excluded from other lists? – Richard Fergie
  • I like having different ad copy depending on what page of the site they visited. – Michelle Morgan ++
    • Exactly! That was the next thing – use that GA data to build specific audiences for tailored messaging. – Crystal Anderson
    • I tend to use image ads, have you (or anyone else) seen success with text ads. – Chris Kostecki +
      • Text ads get impression volume, but usually see very little response/good traffic. – Andy Groller
      • Yes-Text has done very well, If not better at times! Run both to cover all options on avail. sites! – Crystal Anderson
      • I’ve had success in the travel industry with text ads. Though I notice image ads more. – Luke Alley
      • I usually have better success with lead gen on text, but image ads are good for brand building. – Michelle Morgan
  • Tip (learned the hard way) if you are using very specific audiences apply negative audiences! – Chris Kostecki ++
  • Yeah, I tend to separate campaigns for looking at data and so expansion is less messy but either works. – Amy Hoffman
  • All depends what I am Selling, How many segments I’m willing to test, what triggers disable remarketing (purchase, signup). – David Pedersen
  • Simply put: what am I trying to achieve? To do that, who do I want to see it, who do I NOT want to see this. – Amy Hoffman

Q3 Summary: It is important to identify unique engagement segments (lists) for your campaigns that align with pages and sections of the site that hint at deeper engaged visits and can be themed for ads.

For instance, possible remarketing lists for Amazon.com could be visitors whom added children’s books and/or wooden toys to their shopping cart, which would likely be a different audience from visitors who added power tools, an XBox 360, or Craig Danuloff’s new book Quality Score in High Resolution to their cart.

Or, if you are like me, all of these types of items have been added to your Amazon cart at one time or another, even if the electronic stuff was a lifetime ago:)

Q4: Can remarketing work when only using text ads or are image and video ads necessary to see positive results?

  • Use both and test! Display usually gets more clicks, but text gets the conversions. – Michelle Morgan +
  • Image/video ads grab attention, text ads are “just there” but they still need to be tested every time. – Andy Groller
  • Text does very well, If not better! Run both to cover all options on available sites! – Aaron Levy
  • Remarketing can definitely work with just text. – Harris Neifield
  • Image ads are crucial. For every niche I create a banner in every size to see which gets the most impressions. – Jordan Glasner ++
    • I find it’s pretty much always 300×250 160×600, and 728×90 that get the most. – David Kyle ++
  • Again, use it all. don’t forget about youtube invideo ads too, esp. if youtube converts well for you in remarketing! – Crystal Anderson +
  • I’ve had great conversion rates with both image & text ads but, if lead gen, track and see who ACTUALLY becomes a customer. I tend to think images are better for jogging people’s memory. – Amy Hoffman ++
  • I haven’t used image ads much for RM. How does everyone build their image ads? Custom? Display ad builder? – Luke Alley
    • Our design guy is really good at responding to my emails and getting them to me. – Michelle Morgan +
    • Combination of both for ad building; depends on budget and availability too. – Andy Groller
    • Photoshop – David Kyle
    • Microsoft paint, graffiti brush only. – Aaron Levy +
      • I would love to see a RM ad like that! – Luke Alley
    • Custom, usually. Not a fan of the display ad builder. Rep told us to use it to persuade our clients to hire a designer. – Amy Hoffman +
      • Never used the ad builder before. Difficult to use? Or just a poor tool? – Michelle Morgan
        • Easy to use but most templates aren’t too appealing. – Andy Groller
        • Easy to use, crappy choices. – Amy Hoffman +
        • Ad builder is not very effective (like broad match terms and asking a question in the headline of your ad). – Chris Kostecki +
  • If you do all image sizes AND text ads, you can make sure you are capable of filling ANY ad slot in your target placements. – Amy Hoffman
  • I often create a variety of optimized ad’s in different sizes, but i let impressions and conversions determine, which to keep. – Jordan McCann (@Solancer) +
  • Not all sites have image ads, a mix of ads is good, have used dynamic text/graphic ads through a 3rd Party adserver in AdWords. – David Pedersen
  • I always go with all image sizes, and if making ads isn’t your thing, the Ad Builder isn’t too bad. – Roger Sikes (@rogersikes)
  • Does anyone have experience with dynamically generated RM display ads. i.e. The image changes based on page visited? – Stu Draper (@GetFoundFirst)
    • At SMX advanced there was a company there called ciboost that helped generate those types of display ads I mentioned, btw. – Stu Draper

Q4 Summary: Test. Test. Test. Different formats and sizes, whether Image, Text or Video, can produce positive results for remarketing campaigns. Some formats and sizes will receive more impressions and clicks and this will depend on the size and formats available on the sites that your audience visits. Impression volume will especially be impacted by sites that they visit frequently.

Side Question… Any one try website screen captures for a remarketing campaign? – James Svoboda

  • No, but I like the idea. – Michelle Morgan
  • Interesting. And just turn them into the correct image ad size? – Luke Alley
  • Yes, always have to shrink though! – John Lavin (@Johnnyjetfan)

Side Question Follow-up: Text, Logo based and visually creative image ads tend to be the norm for remarketing campaigns. I have yet to run across a remarketing ad from a site that I visited that was a screen capture of the site itself. Running an ad with a (partial or full) screen capture of the site could be effective and have an impact on branding. Especially if you have a unique site design. It might be best to align the screen capture used in the ad with a visual representation of the ad’s landing page so as to not confuse visitors.

Q5: What forms of messaging have you used in remarketing ads to not only get customers back to your site, but also to convert?

  • Reminding them of upcoming holiday i.e. Fathers Day. – David Kyle
  • Test between Branded Ads & Special Offers. – Amy Hoffman
  • “Finish your order & save… “Choose brand today” etc. – Chris Kostecki
  • Same as with search, set the right expectations for conversion in ad copy. I just tailor the copy to the remarketing list. – Michelle Morgan +
  • Ad mentions specific product or service they were looking at (“product X now on sale”, “come check out our 1 BR apts”, etc) – Andy Groller
  • Sales/discounts for e-comm, reminder of other value props for lead gen. – Aaron Levy
  • Urgency, special offers, sale dates, reminder of UVPs. – Crystal Anderson
    • Especially on sales/promotions like free shipping. – Andy Groller
  • Definitely key to remember your audience & goals when writing ads, if you can’t write an ad that encompasses both, restructure! – Amy Hoffman
  • Ads are about a specific viewed product or a category that the customer needs, e.g. they bought a grill & need charcoal. – Jordan Glasner
    • Good call. Following up with complimentary products is always a good idea. – Michelle Morgan
  • Side note… how annoying is it that you can’t permanently delete a RM list from the overall list? – Andy Groller
    • Yep. They pile up! – Luke Alley
    • Side note – wish I could delete myself from specific remarketing campaigns like FB does. – James Svoboda
      • Can always exclude IP. – Andy Groller
      • I wish FB would listen when I dislike an ad too! – Luke Alley
  • For people who have converted I also send them to our social media communities via remarketing. – Michelle Morgan
  • RM Wish – that we can choose the order they see the pages, or a specific path, not just seeing the page. – Chris Kostecki

Q5 Summary: Good old fashion Sales, Timely Promotions and Special Offers are popular forms of messaging for remarketing ads. These work well since the visitor will not be new to the site and you should already know what they are interested in via your lists.

Q6: Especially for clients striving toward lead generation, do you utilize different landing pages in your remarketing campaigns?

  • Yes, LP should match ad. Same philosophy as search. – Andy Groller +
  • Testing now. If tag a landing page, don’t want to keep showing the same thing. Change messaging & aesthetic! – Aaron Levy ++
    • So even if the goal is the same, you would change the page aesthetically to seem unique? – Michelle Morgan
      • Largely depends on resources. If you can change both, that’d be ideal IMO. Test results will (hopefully) confirm! – Aaron Levy +
  • Not at this time, send them back to the same form they should have reached last time! – Chris Kostecki
  • Depends on the original landing page but not always. – Amy Hoffman
    • So would you send them back to the same page they saw in search? – Michelle Morgan
      • At times – it really depends on what I am doing in the ads, etc. I’d always suggest testing which works best. – Amy Hoffman
  • RM compared to a normal campaign no. Don’t have the budget to create unique RM pages. – Luke Alley
    • Must have been poor promotional offer. – Andy Groller
  • Depends. We may use a different LP with different benefits. See if this grabs folks. – Joe Kerschbaum (@JoeKerschbaum)
  • Remarketing & online privacy will come to a head at some point, need to make sure we set the standards before they are set for us! – Chris Kostecki +
  • If original LP didn’t get them to convert right away, probably a lower % of conversion the 2nd time. – Andy Groller +
  • If LP didn’t work 1st time, what makes you think it will a 2nd or 3rd time? – James Svoboda +
  • I think it is important to consider the placement and the message of the RM ad. – Stu Draper
    • In relation to the landing page? Or in general? – Michelle Morgan
      • In relation to the landing page. The RM ad may have a diff msg than the search ad. LP must be consistent. – Stu Draper
  • We also mix our conversion actions: send ecommerce visitors to a lead gen page. Get customer service to help w/ sale. – Joe Kerschbaum +
  • Is audience really reading that much into ads, looking at 2 or 3, and comparing, i see it as a reminder and netting loose fish. – Chris Kostecki

Q6 Summary: You might generate higher conversion rates for remarketing visitors if you create a different experience for them for their 2nd visit. For instance, you can make small but significant changes to your lead generation LP’s by removing, replacing or adding different images, videos, testimonials, copy and even the forms themselves. This is another one of those areas that you will have to test for your specific campaign.

If you are using remarketing for an ecommerce campaign, your ecom. platform might not have the flexibility to create unique remarketing landing pages that another lead gen. CMS platforms might allow. In these cases you’ll have to creatively work with what you have.

Q7: Aside from conversion and revenue figures, what metrics do you pay attention to while remarketing?

  • I believe that CPC is critical, because now you have to look at multiple clicks to get your lead. – Stu Draper
  • As mentioned earlier, VTC are most effective, but value is the inverse of any other promo efforts (no ad besides RM, 90+%) doing ppc & rm, 70%~ doing ppc, rm, sm, & disp, 40%~ etc, then rev = % of AOV – Chris Kostecki
  • I’m looking forward to using the new “relative click thru rate” – John Lavin ++++
    • What are your first impressions of it? – Michelle Morgan
      • I think it has a good chance of becoming one of my favorite metrics. – John Lavin
  • My first metrics are impressions and CPC. Try to get impressions up without overpaying. – Luke Alley
  • View throughs, impressions for diff. ad types, CTR, CPC, reach reports (for freq. caps). – Crystal Anderson
  • Not really a metric, but where your ads are showing. Find fun spots your audience goes to test for placements. – Aaron Levy
  • For optimizing my ads I always fallback to profit per impression. – Jordan Glasner
  • What percentage of budget would you say is ideal for RM ads? 10%? 20%? – Stu Draper
    • Depends… results should help drive the allocation. – Crystal Anderson
      • What about for getting started? – Stu Draper
        • Depends on how much traffic you have initially, to retarget & of course, whether it works or not. – Amy Hoffman
    • Depends on its effectiveness I would say. Right now I have about 6% of total cost in RM. – Michelle Morgan
    • RM tends to spend less than expected. Don’t know there’s an ideal level. Whatever gets most convs for least $ – Aaron Levy
    • Depends on how poor ur converting on the onset, it is circling the wagons around audience who already discovered you. – Chris Kostecki

Q7 Summary: Impressions, Click-Through-Rate (CTR), and Cost-Per-Click (CPC) are non-conversion & non-revenue related metrics that are of primary interest. These metrics should be different for your Image, Text and Video ad campaigns so you might want to consider gauging them separately.

Sidenote – Holidays and Special Events

Off topic, but if Christmas Holidays are important to the biz, Remarketing WILL extend that buying season. – David Kyle

Sidenote Summary: David brings up a good point in regards to holidays, events and promotions. You can extend the marketing cycle for these special events, either before or after, through remarketing by creating and adjusting current ads and campaigns.

As one example, if you sell flowers, you can run a pre-valentines day promotion to your audience to capture early sales for the typical husband who may put it off until the last minute. You can then run a last minute sale or promo after the event for those who might not have been as proactive as most. The same scenario would apply to an outdoor ecommerce site that wants campers to start getting ready early and then have a late season closeout sale.

PPC Tip of the Week

This week’s pay per click tip came to us from Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea), Self-proclaimed PPC King at SEER Interactive in Philadelphia:

Advice – install codes now & build audience for later! – Aaron Levy

Aaron’s advice is great for every website that is not currently running a remarketing campaign. Since it takes time to build an audience list, or lists, based on the engagement segments that you want to target, implementing the codes early will allow gear up for the campaign launch, whether that is going to be in a week, month or even later.

Additional Resources

  • 3 Awesome Remarketing Ad Strategies – by Joe Kerschbaum (@JoeKerschbaum) on Search Engine Watch
  • Google Display Network introduces new performance bundle with Relative CTR – Inside AdWords blog
  • What is relative CTR? – Google AdWords Help
  • Relative Click-Through-Rate (CTR) – by Ken Pendergast
  • More PPCChats

    Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


    Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

    About Our Host – Michelle Morgan

    Michelle is a pay per click manager at VA Mortgage Center.com, Twitter personality @michellemsem and sufferer of OCD and addictions to coffee and learning. Lover of data, graphs, and all things paid search.

    About the Author

    James Svoboda provides PPC Consulting at WebRankingThis is a guest post by James Svoboda, managing partner at WebRanking, a Portland internet marketing agency, infrequent blogger, Sphinn Editor, SEM content hound, and Co-Founder of the Minnesota Search Engine Marketing Association.

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