If you’ve shopped at an online retailer recently and added an item to your shopping cart but then not completed your purchase, you’re likely to have started seeing ads for that retailer all over the web for the next few days. The reason is a marketing technique called remarketing.
Remarketing is an advertising technique wherein the online retailer targets customers who have completed some portion (but not all) of the buying process, with additional targeted advertising designed to “get them over the hump” and complete a purchase.
Remarketing, as an advertising technique, began by leveraging online advertising. Under this model, the online retailer would place a cookie on a visitor’s computer who entered their site, and if the customer had an abandoned shopping cart, the retailer would power customized ads (via a remarketing ad network) whenever that potential customer went elsewhere on the web.
The financial opportunity afforded by remarketing for abandoned shopping carts alone is very substantial, as an estimated 300 billion dollars are lost in e-commerce sales each year from the approximately 70% of online shopping carts which go abandoned.
Moreover, the ROI on remarketing has been tremendous, delivering roughly 4x the sales for the same ad spend and 18x the net profit (http://www.forrester.com/rb/research/) relative to other forms of online marketing such as untargeted email marketing.
Having seen the benefits of traditional retargeting via display ads, large retailers are increasingly utilizing email retargeting to reach customers with abandoned shopping carts. The principle here is similar, when a customer abandons a shopping cart, instead of seeing targeted ads throughout the web as they would with traditional retargeting via display ads, they instead receive a targeted email either reminding them of their full shopping cart, touting the benefits of the product they abandoned, or, most effectively, by offering an inducement such as a coupon code to complete the abandoned sale.
The short answer is yes. As discussed above, remarketing as a general strategy has been shown to deliver 18x the net profit of less targeted online advertising. And within the sub-section of email remarketing, a recent study (http://www.econsultancy.com/) indicates that even a bare bones email remarketing campaign can expect to achieve 31% higher transaction rates for the retailer.
Given that email retargeting generally costs the retailer virtually nothing, as opposed to traditional retargeting which requires that the retailer purchase additional media, the ROI is tremendous.
Email retargeting works by placing a cookie on the customer’s computer, and then, after the customer has entered their email address, by tying that email address to the cookie, and tracking the potential customer’s behavior through the website. If the potential customer abandons their shopping cart (or takes another action as specified by the eCommerce site) the customer, then receives an email (or series of emails) in an attempt to have that customer complete their purchase.
Typically, for small and mid-sized merchants in particular, this process is all managed by a third-party that specializes in providing email retargeting services.
Now that you understand the basics of what email retargeting is, and how it works, we’ll cover a few points to consider when creating an email retargeting campaign.
There are a number of moving parts needed to make an email retargeting campaign effective. You’ll need to place cookies, have the ability to track cookies throughout the site, integrate with a shopping cart, gather emails, create customized emails on the fly, send emails, track email opens and clicks, and send follow up emails accordingly. Because of these many components, it makes sense for all but the largest online retailers to outsource email remarketing to a third-party platform. There are a number of these providers, such as Rejoiner (http://rejoiner.com) or Cart Rescuer (http://cartrescuer.com) that each have unique advantages, disadvantages, and price points that you should examine closely.
Consider ways that you can incentivize potential customers to provide their email address early on when visiting your website. For example, by offering a free eBook or a coupon code usable on the customer’s first purchase when they provide their email address. The loss in potential revenue via those customers who would have made the purchase anyway without receiving the coupon code unsolicited is more than outweighed by the ability to retarget the approximately 70% of shopping carts that will go abandoned.
Once a customer abandons their shopping cart, studies indicate (https://moz.com/ugc/the-power-of-email-remarketing) that you should send your first retargeting email out to them almost immediately, as you have that person’s attention in that moment.
You’ve put a lot of effort into cultivating and protecting your company’s brand. You don’t want to throw that away by abusing a customer’s email address (even assuming you have permission to do so) by sending them dozens of follow ups. On the other hand, however, sending merely one follow up retargeting email isn’t sufficient. An Experian Marketing survey (http://www.experian.com/marketing-services/email-remarketing.html) indicates that an additional 54% of customers can be recovered via a second email remarketing reminder.
Your ability to personalize your retargeting emails depends in part on how much information you’ve gathered from the potential customer on the front end (e.g. do you have the customer’s name in addition to their email), as well as how granular your pixel tracking is (e.g. do you know the specific items that the customer has placed into their shopping cart).
But, in general, you want your retargeting emails to be as individualized and specific as possible. That means mentioning the customer by name, listing (or better yet displaying) the products that the customer abandoned in their shopping cart. Why? Because the difference in recovered revenue lift your company will see by sending dynamic personalized retargeting emails is more than 10x what you’ll obtain by merely sending generic content in the abandoned shopping cart retargeting email.
The prospective customer has already indicated a willingness to walk from the sale before, presumably due to one of the reasons listed at the top of this article. In order to win the customer back, you need to attempt to address the concern of the customer had and create a sense of urgency to complete the purchase. This can be achieved by explaining the features of the product along with a single use discount code that will expire within a relatively short time period, or, for an alternative that won’t cost your business anything, via a notice that you’ll only hold their shopping cart intact for a certain amount of time.
The purpose of retargeting emails is to get customers who have recently strongly considered making a purchase over the proverbial hump by either informing them of the products or your company’s benefits, or otherwise addressing some concern of the customers. Given that ultimate goal, you need to make it very simple for the customer to actually complete the sale by having a clear call to action which leads directly back to the shopping cart.
Despite the obvious benefits of engaging in email retargeting, there is still a tremendous competitive advantage available by participating by your company. That’s because despite the percentage of companies using email retargeting increasing by approximately 30% year over year, it is still only a fraction (approximately 1 in 5) of large companies that use cart abandonment email retargeting (http://www.marketingcharts.com/online/more-top-retailers-sending-cart-abandonment-emails-26186/) and a much smaller percentage still of small retailers. That means not only will your company benefit from access to high ROI advertising, but you’ll also gain significant customer acquisition cost advantages over your competition.
About the Author
Brad Martin is the CMO of Soar Payments, a Houston based merchant services provider that specializes in high risk merchant accounts (https://www.soarpay.com). You can learn more about Soar Payments by visiting the company’s Google+ page (https://plus.google.com/+Soarpay).
Remarketing used to be creepy, but it isn’t anymore. People now realize that advertising is a dynamic initiative and businesses will try the hardest to become noticed online – even if it requires following you around. Google AdWords makes it very easy for businesses to be sort of…eh creepy.
Here are three official Google AdWords videos that could help you have a better remarketing campaign.
Retargeting lets advertisers target users based on previous actions. In most cases, users are targeted after visiting a website, but not converting into a lead or a sale. RTBs and retargeting have become closely linked, with many RTBs allowing advertisers to use retargeting for their campaigns.
Retargeting is a marketing tactic that allows advertisers to track and serve ads to people who have already visited their site. As these users have shown an interest in the advertiser’s product or service, retargeting is often a cost effective way to re-engage the vast majority of visitors who don’t convert on the first visit.
It is estimated that retargeted users are up to 60% more likely to complete an action than other forms of traffic. This makes it a relatively easy way for online advertisers to increase sales and reduce wasted ad spend.
Retargeting is based on cookies. When a user visits the advertiser’s site, a cookie is dropped via a small piece of code added to the web page. The user is never identified personally – retargeting is an anonymous technology based on actions.
At a later date, users with this cookie on their system can be targeted with ads. Instead of choosing placements or demographics, retargeting allows advertisers to serve ads directly to users who have shown an interest in their product, wherever they are on the web.
MarketingLand.com describes retargeting as an “essential tactic in a digital marketer’s arsenal.” This is because if a website has a 2% conversion rate (a common industry standard), that means 98% of users are leaving, often never to be seen again.
Some of these users have no interest in the product, but others may have been distracted, were not ready to make a buying decision or wanted to search for other products as comparisons. Retargeting is a relatively inexpensive way to get some of these users back into an advertiser’s sales funnel.
There are several other forms of retargeting aside from site-based. It is possible for advertisers to retarget users who open their emails, search for specific related keywords or who are on a mailing list.
While retargeting is a digital marketing tactic, RTB is used to serve ads. The benefit to using retargeting with an RTB platform is that users can be targeted on thousands of different placements from a variety of publishers. This provides a high chance of being able to serve a retargeted ad. If an advertiser has placed a retargeting pixel on their website, an RTB can then use this anonymous data to serve ads to users.
While retargeting is an effective way of reaching previous visitors, this is just one option for defining a target audience in an RTB. Aside from retargeting, advertisers using an RTB platform can often target users by placement, demographic and device. Effective ad campaigns often use multiple forms of targeting to find the most profitable market segments.
These days, shoppers have become savvier than ever. More of them are willing to browse more website locations in order to find the right items at the right prices. As a result, many websites may receive a lot of site visitors, but not as many sales as they would like. However, if the process of remarketing is implemented, this could result in significantly increased sales being made.
Have you ever visited a site with the intention of purchasing something, only to find yourself being distracted by ads for other companies while on that website? You click on the ad and end up on that company’s website instead. While browsing there, a discreet tracking cookie is then placed on your computer to identify you as someone who has visited the site. After you’ve browsed the site, you may decide to leave without making a purchase, and head to another site instead. While browsing there, you will see ads for the site you have just left. In most cases, they will be in the form of promotions designed to entice you back to the site to make a purchase. This is known as remarketing.
Here are some 3rd party providers of remarketing solutions.
In many cases, remarketing is cheaper than standard marketing because it offers you multiple opportunities to interact with the same site visitors. Research has also shown that remarketing has far better conversion rates than that of traditional organic marketing. These days, this is actually the only form of advertising that many smaller businesses use, because it not only enables them to rely on their free and organic traffic to attract site visitors; it goes a long way in helping them build up a continually growing list of contacts as well. It is currently the only form of advertising which provides business owners with a second opportunity to convert leads to sales.
With remarketing, it is recommended that you set the duration of your remarketing list to match the length of your particular sales cycles. If you are using Google Ads, this period can range anywhere up to 540 days. However, if Facebook is your preferred advertising arena, it’s important to note that you will only be able to use a maximum time frame of 180 days. It is also important to set what is known as a frequency cap on your advert campaign, otherwise users may become tired of seeing your ad. However, this this feature is only available for Google Ad campaigns at this time.
Deciding to implement a remarketing strategy into your advertising campaigns will not only help you reel in more customers; it will also make the advertising process a lot more affordable. Many smaller business have reported that thy have been able to save more than 70% in online advertising costs. Once you have decided to implement this affordable and effective form of advertising into your business, you will wonder what took you so long to get started.
If you are, at all, familiar with Google AdWords, you have probably heard of the term remarketing. Even if you are not familiar with Google AdWords and you market using Facebook, you probably have come across the term remarketing. Make no mistake about it. Remarketing is one of the biggest trends in advertising in recent years. There is a good reason for that of course.
In many cases, remarketing works. As you probably already know, the whole point of online promotions and online advertising is to get a healthy return on investment. That is right. It is all about ROI. We are all shooting for a healthy return on investment. You really do not know what you are doing if you are advertising online and you turn a blind eye to ROI. To make it in online advertising and to get the results you need, you need to weigh all your online advertising options based on one thing, and one thing alone, ROI.
ROI, of course, can be measured in many ways. The only real measurement that can really impact your bottom line is conversion. You can say that online marketing is about branding, online marketing is all about awareness, that is all well and good, but at the end of the day there has to be some conversion. In other words, did money come in to your company? That is the bottom line.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of hype, and there is a lot of smoke in mirrors in the online advertising industry, especially if you are dealing with large advertising platforms. Large advertising platforms would like to get you to believe that you would get results, because they have a huge network, they have superior technology, and so on and so forth. But at the end of the day, the amount of money you spent must be outmatched by the amount of money you take in. In fact, you have to compare different returns on investment among different advertising avenues, to see which advertising method is worth your time and effort. That is the bottom line.
In this context, AdWords remarketing is getting a lot of attention. A lot of advertisers are saying that AdWords remarketing is the best thing since sliced bread. While that may be taking things a bit too far, there is a lot going for AdWords remarketing. Still, just like with any other advertising options available online, it does have its limits. It does not work for everybody, it is not an across the board solution. It is not a magic bullet.
Remarketing is a simple technology. When somebody goes into a certain part of your website, your website will plant a piece of code called the cookie in the browser of the person that visited your website. When that person visits other websites that run an advertising system in the background that can read the cookie that your website planted, the viewer will see ads advertising your website. In other words, remarketing is all about giving you another bite at the apple.
Originally, remarketing was invented for websites where the visitor almost bought, or filled out a form. For example, somebody clicks a link looking for shoes and ends up on your shoe retail site. This person goes through many pages and then goes to the order form, but at the last minute backs out. This is precisely the scenario remarketing was created to fix. Remarketing assumes that this person, in most cases, would have gone through with the transaction but for some sort of last minute decision. The whole point of remarketing is to remind that person of the value your website offers, so that your past visitor can come back to your website.
The thinking behind ad remarketing is actually pretty good. It is not taking shots in the dark, it is not random, it is very specific, it only targets people that have expressed interest in what you are offering. In fact, they have expressed such an interest that they actually went to certain pages on your website that indicates a high intention to buy. Ad remarketing originally was intended to work only on certain conversion pages, like order forms, sales pages, squeeze pages, and download forms among others. In other words, just because somebody ended up on your website’s home page, does not mean that person will get remarketed too. They have to go to a specific area of your website where there is a high indication that this person wants to convert.
Remarketing is supposed to remind people of your value proposition. That is the bottom line. Since all sorts of things can happen that got them to leave your website, the whole point of remarketing is to show your logo, your ads, and other visual reminders of your website, so they can come back. It is a mix between a gentle reminder and a nudge. With that said, ad remarketing also works on a psychological level. You have to understand, that just because somebody visited your home page, dug deeper into your website, and ended up on a conversion page, does not necessarily mean that that person will convert. There are a variety of reasons why they find themselves on a conversion page. There are also a variety of reasons why they leave the website. Still, the highest likelihood is that they would have converted, and they still can convert, if you remind them. That is how ad remarketing is supposed to work.
Some helpful remarketing tips from other industry pros.
Ad remarketing also works not just as a reminder system, but because it works with an old rule in advertising. The old rule is that, people do not usually act on a piece of advertising the first time they see that ad. In many cases, they have to see an ad seven times before they can act. What does this have to do with remarketing? After all, the person has been to your website, the person was ready to convert. Surely, the rule of seven does not apply to such a person, right? Wrong. The rule of seven can also be very drawn out. In many cases, people think that they are ready to convert, they go to your website, but they back out at the last minute. In other words, they still need further persuasion. In this situation, ad re-marketing makes a lot of sense, because it fits the rule of seven. The person might have a problem committing too early. By constantly reminding this person and re-branding this person, you can increase the kind of conversion you are looking for.
The sad reality with remarketing is that, too many advertisers use it as a blunt force instrument on their website visitors. If you do not know what I am talking about, try going to a top e-commerce website that advertises a lot on Google. You would notice that when you go to other websites that feature Google ads, it would feel that the e-commerce website you visited is following you. It would feel like that website is stalking you. That is because whoever set up their campaign, was not paying attention to certain features of the ad remarketing system on Google AdWords. This can be a serious turn off. You do not want to feel that you are being followed around the internet. It might almost feel like your privacy is being invaded. This is precisely what is happening with many companies that do not set up their ad remarketing system properly.
How do you fix this? First, you have to set the right frequency cap. In other words, you have to only show your ad so many times, through remarketing, within a fixed period of time. If that person still does not click, wait for a certain period of time and then your ads will show. This way, the person does not get burned out. Which leads us to the second problem with this type of remarketing, many advertisers end up shooting themselves in the foot, because they keep showing the same ad, or they even rotate ads, but it does not really matter. What happens is, the target burns out. There has to be a limit regarding remarketing. There has to be a point where it becomes abundantly clear to you, that this person is never going to convert.
Here are some remarketing case studies.
For some reasons, they originally found themselves on a conversion page on your website, but for whatever reason, this person is not going to convert. It does happen. So, there has to be a system where AdWords remarketing basically just lets these people go. They are not going to convert.
Finally, another common way advertisers screw up AdWords remarketing is that, they show the same ads. This highlights the feeling that you are being stalked. Nobody likes that feeling. Nobody likes to feel that somebody is following you. This is precisely what is happening if you feature the same ads over and over again. At the very least, if you are going to try AdWords remarketing, you have to use different ads. Try different contexts, different angles. You have to understand, whatever product or service you are pushing has different perspectives, and there are different ways to approach it. You have to show the ads from these different vantage points.
AdWords remarketing is a very powerful advertising option. However, just like with any powerful tool, you have to use it properly. It does not work in all situations. It is not a magic bullet. It is not a magic solution to all your online marketing problems. It works only in certain situations. Read the discussion above so you can fully wrap your mind around what this technology offers, and what its limits are.
Lewis Crutch runs the Marketing Bees blog that provides a wealth of information on a range of online marketing topics from SEO through to content marketing. He has a particular passion for both email marketing and social media marketing. To learn more please visit http://marketingbees.com