It seems every few months a new feature of Google AdWords rolls out destined to make it easier for the do-it-yourselfer to compete with the big-wigs in Google Sponsored Results. Earlier this year, Google made it easier for small-to-medium size business owners to compete with larger international competitors within the display advertising arena. What changed? The availability of Remarketing to advertisers small and large.
Actually, Remarketing and Retargeting have been around for quite a long time – but until now, it required running a separate campaign on yet another website, and usually hand-built ad creatives that were either elementary attempts, or built expensively by a hired graphic designer. Sometimes the cost of the creatives needed alone made experimenting with re-targeting cost prohibitive.
The beauty of Remarketing with Google AdWords is the ability to reach out to visitors who have already been to your site, have seen your brand, and are shopping for your products – something previously unavailable without buying advertising on hundreds of websites that weren’t necessarily targeted to your business. If your brand is already in their mind, half the battle is won.
The biggest secret? You can literally have a Remarketing campaign up and running in less than an hour!!
Setting up your audience(s)
The first step to setting up your campaign is defining an audience (or audiences) based on your goals with the test. I suggest starting out simple and creating one audience. You’ll have to place a script on all the pages you want to tag visitors from. Basically this is the code that will place the cookie in your site visitors’ browser so your ads will be triggered by their visits to other websites. You can create the script for secure and non-secure pages – it will look something like this:
Copy the code and place it on your site just after the <body> tag on any page who’s visitors you want to target for remarketing.
Once you’ve created your audiences, you can choose the campaigns you want to enable remarketing for. These campaigns must be open to the Display Network, and can be used with automatic or Manual Display Network campaigns.
Theoretically, you can enable remarketing for every campaign you run on the Display Network. If your site features different products and categories – you could create an audience for each offering and remarket to visitors who hit specific sections of your site.
Like the Display Network, Remarketing allows you to feature text and display ads. Now building an interactive ad is as easy as point and click. If you have a simple photo resizing program (you can even use a web-based program like PicNik!) you can build some great ads! I have limited coding skills, but even I was able to create an ad that featured slideshows and rotating messages, videos, peel-away ads and more.
The ad to the right literally took me 5 minutes to build and I now have it in six different sizes! Even if you don’t choose to use remarketing, the display ad builder is a great tool – and something you can use to quickly build ads for other advertising, just grab a jpg of the ad and go!
If you’re a first-timer to the Display Network, consider limiting your exposure to sites you chose as managed placements. Automatic placement will work great for Remarketing, but for open advertising, you can run through money quickly if you’re not careful.
Make sure all of your ads have a clear call to action. Think of them as billboards, so don’t clutter the creative and make it very clear what you’re selling!
Track your ads very carefully – make sure your AdWords tracking is working correctly in Google Analytics or whatever Analytics software you choose. Use the URL Builder Google provides to create tracker-friendly URLs
Test! Test! Test! If you’re new to display ads and Remarketing – make sure you’re testing messages, images and calls to action. I recommend starting with two different creative and themes and testing their popularity. Once you have a clear winner, start tweaking your weaker ad to see if you can make it a winner also.
I hope I you’re inspired to at least try Remarketing – if you’re a small enterprise with smallish competitors, the thing I like most about the feature is the fact that your competitors aren’t even aware it’s available within AdWords. You have the ability to be the first, so give it a try!
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.