Don’t Be A Creep! Tips For Tasteful, Tactical, & Effective Retargeting Served Up At #SMX

Welcome back to AIMCLEAR‘s coverage of #SMX West 2013! Cue the Jaws theme music. You see someone come to your site. You watch them move around. At first, they seem interested, engaged. But then… hesitation sinks in. They make it through several pages of product catalogs, maybe even add something to the shopping cart. But before they move to checkout, POOF! They vanish! Disappear! Off to some other website, to perform some other action! You almost had them… but they got away. Now what?

Ready, aim, RETARGET! Yep, this is where the clever PPC technique known as retargeting (or remarketing, or a billion other names, it seems) can be your best friend. Set a cookie on the one that got away, and then serve him or her ads encouraging a return to your site to complete that coveted action. Just one piece of advice: Dude, don’t be a creep!

Day 1 of #SMX West was in full swing when moderator Pamela Parker, Contributing Editor, Search Engine Land, brought together Carlos del Rio, Dir. Digital Strategy and Analytics, Agillian, Lijo Joseph, Director, Search & Performance Marketing, Beeby Clark Meyler, Susan Waldes, Sr. Manager, Client Services, PPC Associates, and AIMCLEAR‘s Founder & Evangelist, Marty Weintraub. Ecah member of the panel  to share their best practices for rocking retargeting without being a n00bzor maximum creep. AIMCLEAR live-tweeted this session via @beebow. Read on for the juicy takeaways!

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Pamela took the stage and welcomed the audience, speakers, and the topic. Ahh, there’s so many tools and technologies available to marketers, it can get a little overwhelming… but also, exciting! For example, retargeting! It’s all about finding your audience and really rocking from there.

First up, Marty, who introduces his tactical retargeting field guide for really smart marketers! Let’s get real. Every agency in the world is pretty much calling themselves a DSP, because it’s not really hard, and we all want a slice of that sweet pie. And in fact, retargeting is a very simple concept! Someone comes to your site, touch you, but then they leave. They go somewhere else! but then they see your ad! et voila! Retargeting.

As we set the table for retargeting, it’s important to understand the difference between 1st and 3rd party data

  • 1st party data is when you come to my site and I see you and cookie you and get the data
  • 3rd party data is when you’re on someone else’s site, and that someone else sells the data to a company that sells the data, from which I can get the data

Understanding the interrelationships in the data world is key to being a great marketer:

  • Archetypical retargeting: 1st party product, process, search, psychographic, analytics, referral, plus third party data from brokers & DSPs, search, etc
    • For example, product retargeting is when a user comes to your site, touches a product, then leaves – and is followed around the web with an ad featuring that very same product.
    • Process retargeting is about funnel stages. Say a user got to stage 4, but then left. User will be followed around ads encouraging him / her to revisit the site, entering at stage 4.
  • Psychographic retargeting:  a.k.a. social / affinity targeting, follows users based on self-identified interests.
  • Content amplification retargeting: a.k.a. editorial calendar amplification – following people around based on content blocks. Perhaps underused, but smart!
  • Referral retargeting: Marty doesn’t hear many talking about this yet, but it’s well-worth exploring.
  • 1st party search retargeting: Conversion KWs. You can do organic 1st party retargeting easily in Google. GA = badass for 1st party data.
  • 3rd party audience retargeting: Relies on DSP for targeting people. Retarget visitors who go to other people’s website, with targeting much like that from FB. Clever tactic… buy searches on other people’s shopping engines – Magnetic and Chango offer these services. Fresh!

Takeaways from Marty

  • Take an inventory of what works, and amplify it– creative, products, KWs, everything
  • Use targeting to bring them into the system and keep them there, then, squeeze the best out of them
  • “Don’t be creepy. Use impression caps. Be the good witch and the good marketer.”

Marty passed the mic to Carlos, with his presentation appropriately titled… “Don’t Be Creepy!” Here’s a run-through of what he shared:

Retargeting: How To Be Effective without being Creepy
Retargeting can be super effective. That said, it’s essential to, yep, not be a creep. Think of the user as someone who saw you in line at the grocery store, and smiled. They don’t love you. Don’t make that mistake. Creepy retargeting is akin to you going up to them and asking them to get married. Wait. Be patient. Be thoughtful. Don’t follow them around all over the web. Be selective. Be smart.

For Carlos, no amount of retargeting will ever make him change purchase intent or purchase cycle. He’s probably not alone.

So, okay. We’ve learned not to be a creep. How do we go about doing that?

  • Impression Caps! Totally key. If someone converts, use burn pixels. Eliminate them from your retargeting. Stop creeping on them. They did what you wanted! Move on.
  • Thoughtful Landing Pages! Don’t just drop people on your homepage. Stupid, and waste of money. Consider where they left your site. Drop them on the category page they were cruising around. Maybe even the product page. Did they abandon cart? Encourage them to enter the funnel right in their cart!
  • Creative Refresh! Change your creative ALL THE TIME! Carlos changes his every 72 hours. Seriously. Keep it fresh, or risk serious creative fatigue / pissed off users. Across all display modes, refresh creative quickly.
  • Go segment-craaaaazy! Each time someone moves into a new stage, burn them on the first cookie and set the new one. Feed them ads that relate to the stage they are in at THAT time.

Final thoughts from Carlos: Be seductive. But be reasonable. It’s like this: “You like what I got. And I want your money. Come over and spend some money on what you want.”

Next up, Lijo! Here’s a look at his 5 key considerations for retargeting.

  1. Build your audience, then retarget.
  2. Define retargeting strategy.
  3. Deliver relevant message to audience.
  4. Prevent audience media fatigue.
  5. Measure incremental benefit.

Let’s unpack those.

1) Build your audience. You can build out great segments based on your sizable audience. Try to get at least 100k monthly uniques (ideal), because larger audiences allow more granular targeting segments.

2) Define retargeting strategy. Identify and evaluate consumer behaviors. Build pool of anonymous cookies to identiy sizable customer segments to retarget. Think about what you want the customers to do. Go beyond sales! Really think about what the user already did. Speak to that, and offer additional benefits. Get customers to sign up for email, provide product reviews, shop for accessories after a purchase… align incentives and offers according to customer value.

3) Deliver relevant messaging. Creative is supremely important. You can tackle this from one of two methods:

  • Simple segmented creative. It’s easy. It’s, well, simple. It’s better than standard creative. But not as good as…
  • Dynamic creative! It’s really much more powerful. Assembled real time, based on user profile, pulls in site data / imagery / pricing. Really speaks to your audience in a meaningful way! Solutions from Adacado or Mediamind make dynamic creative template to streamline process- check them out.

4) Prevent audience media fatigue. In other words – don’t be creepy! (Are we sensing a theme?) In remarketing campaigns, small numbers of users can account for a large number of impressions. Be mindful of this. Capping or managing frequency levels can improve reach / ROI and is less annoying to users.

5) Measure incremental benefit. Come on, folks. Measure what you’re doing. Is it working? Is it not? Use controlled-exposure structure to measure difference in conversion between groups. (The exposed group sees the ad.) In Lijo’s study, people who saw the ad converted 13% higher than people who didn’t see the ad. People searching for Brand X increased 51% when they saw retargeting ads, there was a 20% increase in clicks and a 51% increase in conversions! Booyah!
With those impressive stats, Lijo handed the mic over to Susan. She wrapped up the session with her presentation, which focused on AdWords Search Remarketing.
First, some sad numbers… 🙁
  • 96% of people who visit a site leave without converting
  • 70% of people abandon carts

It’s up to you to reengage them!

The Skinny on AdWords Search Remarketing

  • For now, it’s still opt-in via Google rep
  • Works from regular remarketing pixel
  • Apply audiences at ad group level
  • Negative audiences can be applied at the campaign level (Susan recommended doing this for clean segmenting)

High-Level Tactics & Tips From Susan…

  • On-going segmentation of search remarketing audiences is key. Imagine an upside-down pyramid with visits at the top, supported by members, supported by buyers.
  • Segment new vs. existing users for different biddings (CPA on lifetime value vs. ROI on single transaction)
  • Understand economic value of visitors, converters, shopping cart abandoners, etc.
  • Use retargeting to het people to pull the trigger with a promotion, introduce new products, reengage users during shopping events and holidays with special messaging and broad KWs (e.g. “gifts”). Go for the very top of the funnel – shoes, toys, furniture, – KWs that are not tropically ROI positive. Dynamic search ads generate incremental leads and sales by promoting your business on more commercial queries than you’re reaching today.
  • Consider the efficient scale -combine search remarketing product with dynamic search ads for scale and relevancy.
  • Make sure your negative list is strong!
  • Consider your cookie length!
  • Also, don’t forget about exclusion. Clients might come at you and say, “Why would I pay for clicks on my brand KW?” Well, you can control this by excluding people who have come in on brand searches before. Or… “This $10k budget is for sourcing new customers only!” Exclude repeat customers in your test. “I don’t want duplicate leads!” Susan did an exclusion test for a company in a very competitive vertical with no duplicate leads desired. By simply eliminating converted users from search results eliminated 25% unwanted costs and duplicate leads. That money was then reallocated to sourcing new leads. This created parity in reporting sources for better bid management. Smart!
  • Attribution opportunity: This tool can be used to define attribution across multiple interactions via segmenting those who have completed on or offsite actions (YouTube, email blasts, etc.) and how they funnel into (mostly brand) KWs.

Susan wrapped up, and so did the panel! Big thanks to the speakers for sharing their awesome tips and advice on retargeting like a smooth, slick champ. Stick around AIMCLEAR Blog for more coverage straight from the convention center, and of course, follow along with yours truly @beebow for continued live tweets!

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