Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) has been like a buzz phrase within the internet marketing community throughout recent years.
Some ad companies like AdRoll and Perfect Audience are promoting the idea that if you use their service they can help by bringing visitors who left your website back again.
I like the idea of bringing back visitors who previously left your website since they are potential prospects, and because they already expressed interest in your website in the first place.
However, I feel that many of us do not see the whole picture, and leverage retargeting for a higher ROI.
After all, retargeting is just a tool for you to bring visitors back to your site.
It is not a magical tool that fixes a poor conversion rate on your website. Simply bringing back the same people who left, and to the same page no less, does not solve the problem and therefore does not help.
Understand How It Works (Here is what you might not know)
I will not be going into any of the super technical things that you might expect.
Instead, I will just let you know one thing I understand.
Retargeting works just like a normal opt-in you would see on many sites. For example you visit a site, it pops up and offers you an ebook in exchange for your email.
Then the autoresponder sends an email to you from time to time. Offering you ebooks, discounts, extra information, and trying to secure an appointment or a phone call with you.
The best part is that retargeting does not have to ask for their email to opt-in, instead the moment they visit your site they are added to your list.
Then you let the retargeting audience list go through the sequence just like how you use an autoresponder.
This is the part that most marketers fail to understand. They keep showing the same ads day after day.
Which is just like the autoresponder, but you would not keep sending the same email day after day right? Right, because it does not get results.
Retargeting Platform That I Use
I am using Google Analytics linked with Google AdWords account plus Facebook Pixel to build the retargeting list.
If you prefer AdRoll and Perfect Audience due to their simplicity then you can use them, but I am not comfortable using these because they do not give me control over my bidding and pricing.
Also, I find that it is slightly harder to create an audience that visits your website when it has a different expiry date through a third party ad platform. This is because you have to email their support staff and let them create it for you.
It is important to me that I create lists with different expiration dates, as it is key to making sure my strategies work.
Thus, creating the lists manually on Google and Facebook is a better choice for me.
For Google Analytics method, you can go to Admin tab > Audience Definitions > Audience. Then click the red coloured button, and fill in the details.
For a Facebook retargeting list you need to install the Facebook tracking code and then create the audience manually.
Now, The Strategies of Using The Retargeting & The Step by Step Guide
I have seen several strategies people are using online, and I have compiled them into this article. Hopefully it will give you some ideas on how to use this tool in a better way.
We applied the same strategies in our service page that sell web design in penang. We are using both platforms to retarget people who’ve visited our site, and they are from Penang.
First you need to set a goal for what you want to achieve and map out the process, as this will give you a better ROI and response.
Here are the few goals that you can do with retargeting.
- Build Trust & Brand Awareness
- Follow Up & Pull People Through The Sales Funnel
- Upsell More Products
- Cross Sell Products & Services
- Target Similar Audience
Get Started With Retargeting
I will get started with a multiple segment list according to the days they visited your website.
By referring to the remarketing list I provide here you can modify according to your audience and website.
This can be done by taking the nature of the sales cycle & time into consideration when you create the list.
If the sales will take a shorter time, then you want to create lists using a lower number of days.
- Audience: All Users – 7 days
- Audience: All Users – 14 days
- Audience: All Users – 21 days
- Audience: All Users – 28 days
- Audience: New Users – 14 days
- Audience: User who Completed a goal / transaction – 180 days
- Audience: Users who visited a category page / a page describing the service you offer – 30 days
- Audience: Similar To All Users
Build Trust & Brand Awareness
Audience list: New Users
Most people will not buy from you if it is the first time they have ever heard of you or from you. For this reason we want to make your company name and what you do sink into their brain first.
This will help to make them both trust you and think of you first.
Create retargeting ads which position your company and tell visitors what it does.
Keep it short and sweet, do not include lots of technical terms unless you are selling to ‘geeks’ or technical people.
Also, do not include your company mission or vision. Most people will find these things very boring.
People want to hear how your solution can solve their problem and how you can help them, so they do not care about your company’s boring statement.
For example: If you are selling a super flat wallet, then you would want to make your logo, tagline and what you do sink into their brain first.
There are a few companies that do very well at this – ASANA, Shopify, and Crazy Egg.
Follow Up & Pull People Through The Sales Funnel
Audience list: All Users – 7 days, 14 days, 21 days, 28 days
This is the list of people you want to show and sell your promotional items to.
The key here is to use different ad designs, content, and offers to draw them in again based on the number of days they have visited your site.
It works very well by complimenting your email marketing. Just make your brand and content everywhere, so they do not miss out on the message you are wanting to send.
The idea behind this is that by creating separate campaigns/ad sets, which exclude a list of visitors that have a shorter period of days, then you can create ads that target very specific behaviours and people.
For example, you can create a campaign/ad set that has different target and trigger points.
Target 1: 7 days list
Target 2: 14 days – 7 days
Target 3: 21 days – 14 days
I have an example of retargeting ads done by Ryan Stewart, who is trying to sell his link building course.
Instead of showing me: ‘Best link building course’, ‘Buy now, 20% off’ kind of offer for a whole month, he rotates the ads.
First week: What is stopping you from signing up? Let’s setup a call and let me answer all your questions.
2nd week: Sorry I lied to you, there are more resources that you have missed if you would just sign up for a trial account.
3rd week: Let me show you the whole process and give you more tips.
See, the ads are trying to follow up and are giving you more value, so you can trust him and pay for his course. This is an awesome strategy!
How you can do better
You can draw a map for your marketing offer, and then use content strategy and prepare a suitable type of content to push your customers down the sales funnel.
I will break it down into three stages like what Hubspot is suggesting, and then create the content to show your audience.
You can use the retargeting list to show them content. For example, the first two weeks you show them whitepapers, ebook downloads, checklists, and ‘how to’ types of content.
And then the third week you show them case studies of your customers who use your product or service. Show them the results they will get.
Then the fourth week you can try to offer them a discount coupon, asking them to sign up for a trial if they have not done so and etc.
Upsell More Products/Services
Audience list: Completed a goal/bought something + New Visitors
(Give a special discount for second purchase)
If you deliver great service the first time then the chances of them coming back and buying again is even higher.
I believe if you are running a business for some time then you will notice that the majority of your revenue is generated from repeat sales.
Thus, you want your customers to come back to you as soon as possible. By giving out coupons visitors are given an incentive to return quickly.
For example give them 20% off the second time they buy from you, and then the third time give them free shipping for buying from you again.
This strategy can be used to help convert free trial customers into paid customers as well.
Cross Sell Products/Services
Visited a category page + Completed a goal/bought something
(Promote complementary products)
This is another type of campaign that you should invest in.
For this list you want to create ads that sell complementary products, so choose one’s that you know your customers are most likely to need.
For example if a customer just bought a plant seed from you and you know that usually this plant needs a specific type of fertilizer, but the customer did not purchase it together. This means that the next time they shop with you that you want your website to recommend this fertilizer to them because there is a large chance they still need it.
So you want to set up a retargeting campaign to show him the fertilizer.
Target Similar Audience
Similar Audience List
There is a function in Google Analytics audience setup and Facebook custom audience to generate a list for who has a similar interest to your existing website visitors.
The similar audience list cannot be generated until you have created a retargeting list.
It is a good way to buy targeted traffic and get better responses when compared to generic ad targeting.
If you are using Google AdWords as your retargeting platform then the system will automatically create the similar audience list for you.
The similar audience list will be much larger than your retargeting list as it is generated using an algorithm to find people who have similar behavior and interests with your web visitors.
Then just setup your display network campaign like any other display network you have setup.
For Facebook it is a little more troublesome.
Go to your facebook ad account and then select Audience > Lookalike Audience.
Then you can select a list/source, which is the retargeting audience list, and choose the appropriate audience size you want to generate.
It is a balance between similarity and reach. The lower the number the higher in similar characteristics.
Extra tip: Normally I choose converted audience as the source, because this may lead to a better conversion rate.