Google Remarketing: Potential Results and Benefits

Daniel Wade

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Daniel Wade

 / 

June 5, 2020

Anyone marketing a product or service online would be well served to consider that the transaction they are seeking to conduct with their potential customers will, in the end, be the result of a process. The length and complexity of this process will depend on the cost of the product or service along with the nature of the relationship being sought. Expensive purchases usually require a relationship between buyer and seller that is the result of a relatively long process. Sticky or long term relationships also require more time to develop.

Advertisers shoulder the responsibility of launching this process which is designed to result in a purchase. Remarketing is often defined simply as a way to direct ads to individuals that have visited a specific website in the past. But, more than that, remarketing is an audience defining tool designed to allow advertisers a method by which they can begin to build a relationship with website visitors even when they have not yet made a purchase or even made an inquiry.

Very often the initial visit at a website is only an exploratory expedition. No real purchasing is intended in this phase of information gathering. Even so, an adept marketer will seek to establish a relationship at this critical point so they can lead the potential customer back when they are ready to make a purchase. This initial relationship consists of providing valuable information on the website and the collection of identifying information from the visitor.

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How Google Remarketing Works

When a potential customer makes an exploratory visit to a website to gather information, cookies are placed on the visitor’s device. Advertisers employ Google remarketing by developing audience lists based on these cookies. Google ads created by that advertiser can then begin to display on other sites that allow Google Display Network ads as that potential customer surfs the web. The relationship has begun to develop.

Using remarketing, an advertiser can develop multiple audience lists based on various criteria. These lists can then be used to further develop the relationship between the seller and the buyer. Google Ads, with its use of cookies, provides for the development of very granular remarketing strategies. Audience targeting can include demographic factors such as age, gender, location, and other elements found in the user’s browsing history. If, for example, a website visitor meets a threshold of time on a page detailing a specific product, the advertiser can subsequently serve up ads that further entice the visitor to return to the product’s detail page, or another relevant page,  for further investigation if the visitor meets the predefined target criteria.

The ads served up as part of a remarketing campaign may use enticements such as a reduced price for a limited time or a lower-priced alternative to the original item viewed, as examples. Remarketing could also be used to build a favorable impression of a product or service for which some level of interest has been exhibited by the user’s browsing behavior.

Mercifully, Google enforces impression caps that limit the number of ads that can be served up to an individual in a single day. They also offer some degree of control in that ads from certain websites can be blocked, protecting visitors from receiving ads they may find objectionable.

Another real-life example reveals that an online magazine can very successfully promote visits to new content on its website by employing a remarketing strategy aimed at previous visitors to their site. In this case, cookies placed on the devices of the magazine’s previous visitors are included in the audience targeting campaign for ads promoting the content to which the editor wishes the readers to return. This type of audience engagement has been found, by readers of the magazine, preferable to traditional email marketing campaigns. Rather than more junk email, they are simply served relevant display ads for which they can choose to click or ignore.

Relevance is key. Ads designed to be served to a remarketing audience list must be highly relevant to the cookies used to identify the users browsing behavior. This relevance is often achieved by creating a large library of ads that can be matched closely with the target’s previous behavior. Ads created to be the specific response to user behavior via remarketing yield high click through rates. The key purpose of remarketing is to advance a relationship between the seller and the buyer. If the landing page for the remarketing ad is not relevant to the user they will not be drawn toward the desired relationship nor will positive brand perception be created. 

The Results and Benefits of Remarketing

At a minimum remarketing increases brand awareness. Viewing advertisements for a given product or service in various locations across the web over a period of time will increase the likelihood of a favorable impression. Optimally, remarketing is the first salvo in a relationship that leads the potential customer directly back to the advertiser’s site to make a purchase.

A significant component of establishing the crucial relationship desired between seller and buyer is that of brand perception. Namely, how a potential customer views or feels about a product or service provider. Brand perception can be created by any number of uncontrollable events. Anything from an overheard comment from an unsatisfied customer to an actual past purchasing experience between the potential customer and the seller can cement their view. Changing that view can take time.

Google Ads remarketing is an effective tool for elevating customer brand perception. If, over weeks and months, potential customers are presented with positive advertising their view or feeling about a certain brand can improve. Customers that may have excluded a certain brand based on hearsay or past experience can be persuaded to take a second look by remarketing.

The idea is to be everywhere on the web for those visitors that are likely to be converted into customers. This is the exact opposite of the scatter approach used when running ads in a variety of locations in an attempt to decipher what the profile of the potential customer looks like. Remarketing is to be used as a more surgical strategy for those prospects that have already been identified as such.

For many years sellers have endeavored to maintain a sticky relationship with customers and potential customers using mass email campaigns. These campaigns, while still used regularly, are looked upon poorly by many customers. Junk email has become an epidemic and is largely not effective. Email tools are specifically designed to act as a barrier between buyers and sellers that use mass email strategies. This is done by identifying mass emails and redirecting them to a junk email folder. Remarketing can be a viable alternative to email. An alternative that respects the choice of the customer to choose to click or ignore.

Remarketing is simple to deploy. Building a target audience based on visitors that have expressed an interest by visiting the website for a certain product or service is straightforward to configure and is easier than capturing email addresses and building an email campaign. Building a positive brand perception is more likely to be achieved by presenting positive ads to potential customers rather than pushing unsolicited emails into their inbox.

In many ways, intelligent advertising, including remarketing, is a more palatable solution for connecting sellers and buyers than historical methods. While some express concern about the ability of tech behemoths to gather and store information about internet users, those with an understanding that advertising funds the extraordinary value provided by the internet prefer models that allow for relevant ads. If ads are necessary to provide the utility of the web that we have come to expect and rely on, then relevant ads based on our interests are welcomed by many.

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