Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Is Search Remarketing/Retargeting Right For You? #sesuk

There's been a change to the line up for "Is Search Remarketing/Retargeting Right For You" and Jon Baron, the TagMan speaker, can't make it. This is a shame because I really wanted to ask about TagMan's achillies heal - that they throw away data in order to de-duplicate - and how that must negatively impact Retargeting.

However, the good news is we've got some solid speakers for this Matt McGowan moderated session. There's James Yancey, MD of SearchIgnite Europe, Magnus Nilsson, Search Marketing Director at Banner Corporation and Guy Levine the CEO of Return on Digital.

Guy Levine

We're going to censor client names for this blog. I'm going to call them all "Rainbow Duck".

Guy begins by pointing out retargeting is only possible on the content network. It's a simple way to connect with users based on their past interactions.

A client - Rainbow Duck - tracks when visitors come to the site but fails to fill in the "Contact Us" form. That triggers the retargeting. Their banner ad starts to follow that visitor around the web.

Guy moves on to show how to set this up in Google. Navigate to the right place and create your list. These lists are based on the actions people take on your site. For example, you can target visitors who've abandoned the shopping cart. You can also time delay this, so set a cookie to last a year and then retarget people for the next season with the next ad campaign.

On a note of privacy; your list needs to be at least 500 long before Google lets you use it. Guy recommends starting to build your list now so you can build your lists.

For one client - Rainbow Duck - the first retargeting campaign wasn't capped. This sparked a bit of a storm as people wanted to know why the ads appeared all around the web. I actually saw someone blogging about it. Guy points out the capping option if you want to avoid this.

Despite the blog drama about the frequency of the ads - Guy's figures show how the retargeting was a fantastic success. Leads went from a low of >150 to a high of >400. Costs wen from a high a >£350 to a low of >£150. On reflection Guy does admit it would have been better to have used more segmentation (ie, more lists) and a wider use of creatives.

The campaign saw an increase in ROI. Why? More targeted ads, better click through rates, greater conversion rates and increased brand visibility.

James Yancey

James begins by reminding us there are more retargeting options than Google. In fact there's a whole conversation on biddable media and social media. In the middle of this there's the ability to interact with your audience through this retargeting.

Three myths;
- Each potential customer should be treated equally
- Because someone has been to your site previously they will automatically convert when shown a display ad elsewhere
- Remarketing is not scalable

James says none of these three are true.

Remarketing is not an ad buy - it's a relationship built on trust. It's more like social media and an interaction with your brand.

We're encouraged to make use of the retargeting cookie data to optimise landing pages, tailoring content on sites and trying to maximise conversions. It tends to be the same technology. Amazon's an example of a site that does this well.

A good idea to connect remarketing with actions in the real world. For example, a user might fill in a request to test drive an SUV but actually spent 90 minutes looking at the sports car. There's a car company (let's call them Rainbow Duck) who use that data. They make sure that that sports car is in the showroom, next to the SUV, when you turn up to claim your test drive. It's the chance of a huge upsell.

Don't over expose people to ads. One way to make sure you stick to this is to tailor ads to specific interests and time spent on site. A user who doesn't spend that long on a site might not have that strong an interest.

Think about your cross channel attribution date. They contribute to scale. It also helps you not to over credit your retargeting - some of those people were going to come back to your site anyway. To test this you can show a test group a dummy ad, one that doesn't mention your brand. It's a cost but it's worth doing.

Key takeaways
- Retargeting should have a strategy behind it
- Timing is important
- Don't scare customers away by stalking them


Magnus Nilsson

Starts by showing a QR code and plugging his linkedin account. This is the way of digital people.

Magnus' first tip is to make sure you understand your audience behaviour. Dig in and understand your business case and your audience needs. Use your analytics, define the issues and segment.

When you're building your segments/lists you can make some assumptions on why users dropped away from your site. Use those assumptions to help inform your creative and landing page strategy for your retargeting campaign.

Another tip is to find the ideal cookie length. For one client - Rainbow Duck - the Google standard 30 day cookie length was not optimal. Conversion rate dropped over time, dropping from 20% increase in incremental leads to a significant drop off. The response; reduced the cookie length and this kept the performance of the entire campaign solid.

A drawback in reducing the cookie length is that you might make it harder to reach your 500 minimum of unique cookies (Google only).

Once you're working with long cookies you need to protect your cookie pools. Don't let a site redesign drop your retageting tags. It's harder to spot the loss of retargeting cookies than conversion cookies as the effect isn't immediately visible.

A fifth tip from Magnus is to make use of Google's "interest category" and "custom combinations" (other technologies have alternatives). This is in beta at Google right now but your account manager should be able to get you added.

Timely delivery is important. For example, you can retargeting to pull people back to your site - targeting visitors who've not been back in the last 30 days.

A power tip is to dynamically serve retargeting tags and contents. Magnus mentions BTBuckets as a free site personalisation service. It lets you serve different content based on the rules you've created.

Questions of ethics now - as we stray into the area of remarketing partnerships. It is possible to target people who've been to other sites. For example, you can hire tags on blogs, to build your cookie pool for retargeting users later. It might also be possible to swap tags with tags with a similar audience. A note of caution from Magnus - is this legal?

Plan cross-channel activities. Magnus has a story where Rainbow Duck followed him around with a display ad for suits after he'd already bought it from their offline store. Was there a problem? Not for Magnus but there might have been if Rainbow Duck started to offer him a discount for returning to the site to buy.

A last tip; don't be a stalker. We do have to watch out for EU rules and regs becoming tighter.

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