SES NY 2011: Is Retargeting / Remarketing right for you?

SES NY 2011: Is Retargeting / Remarketing right for you?

24th March 2011

I have to admit I was a little dubious about this session after the display session yesterday, which left me a little confused, however I think this was probably the best session I attended of the whole conference and has left me itching to get back and start trying this out. I also managed to grab Dean Vegliante of netmining for a quick one to one after the session, so make sure you read right down to the bottom to see his insights too!

Dax Hamman from Chango starts us off  talking about what retargeting is. Scenario one for site retargeting is where you target someone who abandons before they do what you want them to do, you then put ads out on the web that re-advertise to those people i.e. shopping cart abandonment, or simply browsing then leaving). However he points out that within this type of retargeting (site retargeting)P there are still lots of scenarios, so you would want to retarget differently for people who just go to the home page compared to people who abandon a shopping cart. You can also refine this further for instance by looking at the referring keyword for that visitor. If they searched for jobs, then perhaps they want to work for your company, in which case using retargeting spend on them would be wasted.

We then have Search retargeting. This talks to people who have searched for terms that matter to your campaign but never visited your site, get a display ad in front of them and get a second chance. This was the one that really excited me, as it is a great way to get in front of customers in areas where you have been struggling to get rankings or place PPC ads.

He then tells a great story about his mum, who he says will fill her shopping cart and then abandon it until she gets sent a money off voucher. This is a great example of how web savvy consumers are, even when we don’t realise they are. It’s also a lesson in being careful about how you remarket to consumers (remarketing from shopping cart abandonment through email has been around for a long time, and consumers are obviously aware of this judging from this story).

next up was David Szetela from Clix who talked mainly about retargeting through adwords, this was a great run down and was probably the but that had me wanting to jump out of my seat and go start setting this up

In the context of adwords, this is a way to show your ad within Googles display network (there are other networks) and the key to success is targeting the ads to what you know about the person looking at the ad.

How to set up a retargeting campaign:

  • define visitor subset
  • create the corresponding remarketing list – this is similar to creating an email list
  • paste remarketing code on appropriate pages, except conversion page
  • create an ad group targeting the entire display network

to set it up

  • turn on audiences in the adwords user interface
  • click on ad audiences and create audiences
  • select the empty adgroup you already set up for this (this was a little confusing, but I think you have to set up an adgroup before you start, then leave it empty, so this should have been step 1)
  • create a list (behaviors) and name it
  • you will end up with a list of lists of different visitor types
  • create the combinations of lists and actions
  • add the javascript to the corresponding pages of your site (you can have multiple sets of retargeting code on each page

you don’t need to target which areas of the content network you want to display, because your targeting based on the people not the interest

top tips

  • you want run of network, no placements or keywords needed
  • no need to weed out poorly performing sites
  • you can target the top spot in gmail
  • target mobile with click to call ads
  • use frequency capping, so you’re not bombarding people with messaging, if they have seen your ad x times, it may be a lost cause
  • you may however want to exclude inappropriate sites (ie porn)
  • it may take 24 hours for a site to show impressions
  • it’s only fully functional once a list reaches 500 unique visitors

David also pointed out that you need to pay close attention to attribution, there is a temptation to lower other channel spends but if you’re not marketing through other channels you will have no one to remarket to. GA funnels can be use for this but they’re a little blunt, David recommended a couple of better tools including Searchignite for cross channel attribution & insight into remarketing.

Lastly was James Ccolborn from Microsoft. I have to be honest, James lost me a little during this bit of the presentation, this seemed to take everything about site & search retargeting and put it back into the display space in terms of publisher networks. This strikes me as a potential conflict for future retargeting, in seems to sit nicely in both SEM & display, there may be some in agency fighting going on over this one in the future.

James talked about publisher retargeting (remessaging, just to confuse the issue, Microsoft have a different name for it). Comparing consumer engagement with the purchase funnel James is arguing that despite the movement towards engagement, there is still very much a purchase funnel (I totally agree) site messaging he finds makes direct response campaigns more successful, it is creating a second chance for these kind of campaigns.
Search remessaging brings the ability to make display much more accountable, allowing you to make display more effective, but the
third phase is publisher retargeting, which allows you to push display further. This works on a network, which typically reduces your control over site context, but  now allows you to re-purpose the blind network of impressions and make them work for you. He thinks in the future it is going to morph in 2 directions, customization which will be publisher/network driven and scale & simplicity , evolving scale display ecosystem.
After the session I also managed to grab Dean from Netmining for a quick one on one, they do a lot of on site remarketing and smart remarketing. He thinks that after sitting through the panel, which was a good introduction, he really liked the enhancement aspect. He feels that at netmining really focus on the learning aspect, leveraging a scoring mechanisim to know when and where to show the ad, really looking at where it’s going to go. He says it will get a lot smarter and only increase conversion.  (I loved this approach)

I really wanted to know where this is going to sit in terms of marketing teams, as, as a SEM person I can see me wanting to take this in with search, as I think it fits very naturally with  the way search does in terms of targeting and optimisation, but I can also see that I would have to fight the display team for it. Dean says it’s a display tactic, but the way of talking to ciustomers through remarketing will spider out, where display folk will be bringing in the data from the other areas to improve their display campaigns (again this is something that I think traditionally has been done by search teams, but I’ve not seen it done with display, so it’s going to be interesting for me to see how display specialists move towards this). Andy Betts from Searchignite, who was evesdropping qualified this in that he thinks there will be remarketing departments evolving seperately from search or display

So there you have it, Remarketing was my last session of SES NY, there’s still some networking to be done and some new friends to be made before I fly home though!


Written By
Sarah Carling is a guest author for State of Search. She covers events like SES New York 2011 for State of Search. Sarah has been creating & implementing integrated SEO & PPC strategies for some of the most competitive industries, including finance, travel & gaming, for over 7 years.
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