How to market to your hottest prospects around the web

Think about all the different ways people arrive at your website. AdWords, email marketing, your email signature, radio, organic search and a plethora of others. Then imagine if you could follow your website visitors around the Internet with targeted ads so when they do decide to buy they think of you first.

Known as remarketing or retargeting, this strategy allows you to get another ‘turn at bat’ after first spending money to attract prospective customers to your website only to have them leave without buying. When someone visits your site a cookie is downloaded by your browser that can not only track your visit to a website, but the individual pages you visited as well.

Here’s some examples of remarketing ads found on Your ads could be there too within a matter of days.


The advantages of remarketing are:

  • For some advertisers the search network does not generate quality leads because they are in a specific niche, but remarketing does generate the right type of enquiries
  • You only pay Google when someone clicks on your display ad
  • Display network traffic can be as cheap as 5 cents per click and convert at a higher rate
  • If your business sells a consumer product or service that has wide appeal you can get more traffic from the display network than from search.
  • There is no quality score on the display network so you can get away with marketing messages not allowed on the search network.

Only fraction of AdWords advertisers in New Zealand use remarketing as part of their online marketing efforts. This means remarketing is an under utilised strategy that savvy marketers can take advantage of while everyone else ups their bids prices on Google search.

How to setup remarketing for your website

There are countless articles around the web explaining in detail how to setup remarketing for your website. The internet doesn’t need another one.

The steps in brief are:

  1. Setup an AdWords account
  2. Setup an Google Analytics account using the same email address or Google account
  3. Link your AdWords account to your Analytics account
  4. Setup a remarketing list within Analytics and give it a name such as ‘Website Visitors’
  5. Setup a new AdWords campaign for the Display Network only
  6. Create a new ad group and choose ‘Interests and Remarketing’ and your sole placement targeting option. Leave all others empty.
  7. Under ‘Remarketing Lists’ you should now see the list you created in Google Analytics ”

I recommend you find a friendly geek who is HTML savvy to handle this for you. The best use of your time is to create compelling image and text ads because you know your customer better than anyone.

8 Helpful hints to maximise your remarketing efforts

1. Image ads can outperform text ads 10 to one.

A picture is worth a thousand words because it can rouse up much more powerful emotions that words can. Start by creating image ads to test and then create text ads. A quick way to do this is take your best performing ads from your search campaigns and simply copy them into your display campaign.

2. Quality score doesn’t matter. Its all about Click Through Rate (CTR).

Google isn’t as fastidious about grammar and punctuation as it is on the search network. Google normally frowns on words like free, guarantee and testimonial on Google search but not on the display network. CTR is all that matters. If you have a high CTR then Google will find more and more places where it can show your ad until your CTR drops.

Google is driven by Wall Street and publishers (the websites that publish ads on the display network like Finda) to maximise revenue from their page views. If you have a ad that garners clicks then Google will try and show your ad everywhere.

3. Continually test and measure

Like the search network you constantly need to monitor your display campaign. Exclude irrelevant websites that aren’t good hunting grounds for new customers to maximise your CTR. Manage your bid prices so you’re not overpaying. Tweak your image ads and create new sizes so you can get more placements.

4. Find websites that convert and approach them directly about placement.

If you are tracking your conversions within AdWords then you will know which ads are performing and on which websites they are attracting customers from. You now have the confidence to approach these websites directly and negotiate with them on a CPM (Cost per thousand impressions) basis. Because you have real data you can negotiate for better placements on the website at better rates than Google can ever offer you.

Ask for a direct (do follow) link out to your website to aid with your SEO efforts. Do not, under any circumstances pay the advertisers rate card. Do not commit long term either. Start on a month by month basis and keep them on a short leash. If you seem to be getting a lot of impressions and click but no conversions then start investigating. Find out where the traffic is coming from.

This is not to say all digital publishers are going to swindle you. Its just best not to look like fresh meat if you can avoid it.

5. As a general rule, CTR’s are much lower on the display network.

You may be used to 2, 3, 4 or even 10 percent CTRs on the search network. If you can get about 0.50% then you are doing well.  Your remarketing list will perform at a much higher CTR compared to the rest of the display network. This is because they have already visited your website and somewhat trust your brand. Many on your remarketing list will be existing customers so its hard to make another sale from them.

6. Avoid using stock images in your ads. Make that everywhere.

Many display advertisers use stock images not only on their website (a cardinal sin), but also in their display ads. Stock images do not engender trust because they scream ‘fake’ and devalue your brand. Use real customers, yourself or your team members. At a last resort, use New Zealand stock images that are a touch more authentic.

7. You can get ultra advanced and remarket to those who have visited a specific page on your website. You can become scary good at this.

Some smart marketers can even target their display ads dependant on which page within their website that you visited.

Here’s an example from Trade Tested after I viewed a page about pet beds on their website:


8. The ‘boombox’ 336×280 sized display ad is the most common size available for placement. Create an ad for this size first.


Isn’t remarketing a little ‘stalkerish’?

If you feel remarketing is a little ‘creepy’ and somehow big brotherish then you can shorten the remarketing window to a few days rather than weeks. You can be smart about the ads you show to ensure they add value rather than annoy your prospects.

One suggestion is to acknowledge the fact that these people have visited your website before. An ad saying “Hi, its us again” is going to attract attention just because no one else is doing it.

Final thought.

Advertising can be seen as an intrusion into your life or it can be seen as useful information. For someone who is driving on an empty gas tank, that obnoxious roadside billboard sharing that the next gas station is 5km away would be very useful information. For someone who just filled up, the billboard is just another commercial message they have to filter out. It just depends on your perspective.