Retargeting Ads: 4&1/2 Tips to Boost ROI

Retargeting Ads: Display Ad Remarketing ROI & Advertising Tips

For many marketers, getting a user to their website is one of the most difficult parts of their jobs. I’ll admit it: driving good quality traffic to a website isn’t exactly an easy task. It can take a lot of time and effort to build up a steady stream of traffic and then once you get that traffic built up, what happens from there? Are you looking for sales, leads, or just awareness? Hopefully, you know what action you want the user to take on your site. If not, that’s an even bigger issue and a topic for another blog post.

So you’re driving people to your site but they’re not taking the action you want them to, whether that is making a purchase, filling out a form, or downloading a white paper. How can you increase the number of people converting on your site? One of the first places to start would be to test changes to your site (a process known as conversion rate optimization). Another option is retargeting ads, which is one of the easiest ways to reach people who have already been to your site.

Retargeting can be easy if you just target everyone that has been to your site, but that’s not going to harness its true power. Did you have someone put something in their cart and then abandon it? Target them with specific messaging to come back and complete their purchase. Are people viewing a lot of pages on your site, but not filling out your form? Show them ads with an offer to entice them to come back and submit their information.

You might be asking, “How do I know which people to target with what message?”

I know you’re totally expecting this, but you’re in luck! I’m about to give you four tips on how to supercharge your retargeting advertising and find the most success when it comes to remarketing ROI.

1. Use Specific Messaging

Imagine you’re looking for a new Louisville Slugger for yourself or your child. You visit their site and head straight for the Aluminum Composite bat page. You find the perfect bat, but you’re not exactly ready to purchase yet.

You then leave the site and start seeing Louisville Slugger banner ads all over the place. The only problem is that these ads are very generic and not at all what you looked at. Why do you care what kinds of catcher’s gear and wooden bats they offer? You don’t and that makes you much less likely to go back and complete your purchase.

remarketing roi
Would you go back and purchase if you saw this ad after looking at bats?

Now imagine, after leaving the site, you start to see ads for Aluminum Composite bats. This makes you happy and also a little creeped out because you were just looking at those bats, but it also makes you more likely to go back and make the purchase because those items are at the top of your mind.

display retargeting
Now, this is an ad that would make me go back and buy the bat I was looking at.

If someone has looked at a specific section of your site, there is more than like a reason. If they see retargeting ads reminding them of the pages or items they looked at, they are more likely to come back and complete an action. The more specific your ads are, the better, which leads to tip number 2!

2. Use Dynamic Retargeting Marketing

Want to have your retargeting advertising so specific that they’re showing customers the exact item they looked at? Then you definitely want to be using dynamic retargeting ads. With a simple change to your retargeting code, you can easily show users ads specifically for the product they viewed.

What makes dynamic retargeting so great is the fact that people are going to see the exact item they looked at. In the first tip, I talked about ads showing the general products they looked at such as a specific type of bat. Think of dynamic retargeting as a way to scale your retargeting. You no longer have to worry about the messaging of your ad reflecting the pages the customer looked at because they are automatically going to be served an ad for the exact item they viewed.

Now, you may be thinking “Dynamic retargeting sounds great, but my business doesn’t use e-commerce.”

You can still use dynamic retargeting! Just because you’re not selling a product on the internet doesn’t mean you don’t have data that can be dynamically pulled from your site and placed into ads. For example, if you are a college or university trying to advertise on specific programs of study, as long as you have the correct data and code on those program pages, you’ll be able to use dynamic retargeting.

3. Use More Than All Visitors

So far we’ve talked about using specific messaging and becoming even more specific with dynamic retargeting, but what’s the point if your audience isn’t segmented? There could be a big difference in both intent and demographics between different pages of your site.

Take Maker’s Mark for example. They have different sections of their site for cocktails, recipes, gifts, and more. Those pages will have overlap in their audiences, but there will also be differences. The same could be said about people who view the events page versus the rest of the site.

ad retargeting roi
Someone looking for this recipe might not be the same person looking for events. (Also, the recipe is just ice and Maker’s Mark. Just so you know.)

With that knowledge, would you want to send specific ads for a small event at the Maker’s Mark distillery to someone who is only looking for recipes and isn’t located anywhere near Loretto, KY? Probably not (but, hey—we’re always up for a test). By segmenting your audiences into highly specific groups, you’ll be able to avoid that. You can even use the same audiences with different cookie lengths to change up messaging to better reach people depending on what part of the funnel they are currently in.

One other thing you can do with highly segmented audiences is actually use those audiences as a way to exclude people who have been certain sections of your site from seeing certain retargeting ads, especially if there is overlap that you don’t want. Negative audiences work a lot like negative keywords and are very easy to implement!

4. Get Broader with Retargeting Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs)

Retargeting Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs) are great because you can target people who have already been to your site. Instead of serving them a banner ad, though, you can serve an ad in search, where they have more intent to take the action you want. Note: unlike the standard site search ads we’ve been discussing, RLSAs only use standard text ads—not display ads.

Using RLSAs to target the same keywords you are running in Search campaigns is great, but there is a way to make your RLSA campaign even more powerful . . . and it may be something you haven’t thought of.

Instead of targeting very specific keywords, target broader terms. Since we are quickly approaching football season, let’s look at the University of Louisville athletic department and how they could use RLSA to target people who have been on the site and are now looking for football tickets.

ad retargeting and remarketing roi
Maybe using RLSA could help Louisville sell this place out.

If the athletic department found that the keyword “football tickets” was too broad and did not deliver a strong enough ROI, they could build audiences based on the football tickets section of their site. Then the Cardinals could run on the “football tickets” keyword, but only to people who have been to those pages of the site. Since they are not showing to everyone searching for tickets and only to people who have at least shown some intent, those people are more likely to convert for less money spent on those more generic, top of funnel keywords.

Bonus ½ Tip!

Don’t be afraid to play with the cookie duration of your audiences. Google allows you to have cookies anywhere from 1 day to 540 days for Display and 180 days for Search.

The key is to know how long your purchase process is. If you’re selling cars, you probably want your audience membership duration to be longer than the standard 30 days. If you’re selling movie tickets or another product that is usually an impulse buy, you might want a shorter duration.

There you have it! Four-and-a-half tips to overhaul your retargeting campaigns to find even more success reaching people who have already been to your site.

Looking for more tips covering PPC, SEO, and Social Media advertising? Check out our blog post, Google Comes to Louisville Highlights, which features the event we held on on Tuesday, July 26th, 2016 at the historic Brown Hotel!

digital advertising manager

About The Author

Leland Reed is a contributing writer to Direct Online Marketing. He frequently contributes high-level digital advertising strategy articles to DOM’s content portfolio. Leland enjoys both golf and craft beer, which fortunately for him, pair well.

View Leland's full bio.
Get a free, no-obligation consultation with a digital marketing expert