Nick Rennard
By Nick Rennard | SEM, Video | May 27, 2016

Choosing the Best Remarketing Ads

Choosing the Best Remarketing Ads

Hello fellow advertisers! Today I will be reviewing the best practices when choosing what kind of ads you want to use for your remarketing campaigns. I’ll start with a 101 recap on how remarketing ads work, and I’ll delve deeper into how you should design your images and target your audiences. Enjoy!



Hello everybody and welcome to another episode of my video blog series. I’m your host, Nick Rennard and today we are going to be talking about choosing the best remarketing ads mainly of your AdWords campaigns, although obviously you can use remarketing on other platforms like AdRoll, and Bing, and whatnot; but we’ll be talking today primarily about AdWords. I wanted to start with kind of a recap on remarketing in general for people who may have a little experience but just want to kind of get the basics down as well. The concept of remarketing is following users that have previously visited your site with ads that enticed them to come back to your website and convert.

What we’re trying to do is, I mean it’s exactly that obvious. People who have been to this site before and have left, we’re trying to get those customers to come back to get re-interested in the website and come back and do whatever it is that you wanted them to do on your site that makes your business more money. If you guys are interested in phone calls, or you’re interested in quote forms, or whatever it is, whatever your lead is, that’s what we’re trying to do is to get those people back into the funnel and to get them to buy something from you; products, services, whatever.

There’s 2 types of ads that we can create with remarketing. One is an image ad which we’ll be talking mostly about images today. The other side of it is you can also add text ads to any given campaign that you can use for remarketing. We’ve uploaded text ads for a lot of our clients in the past. I will say that it’s a pretty big chunk. I’d say about 90% of the time, image ads will outperform text ads assuming they’re kind of running the same copy. For whatever reason, image ads just do better in my experience. It’s something you can test if you want to test it, but I recommend just staying focus around image ads. Most of the time that we have, people upload text ads is because we are having issues getting the images creative. If you can, if you have someone who design your images for you, then I recommend you sticking to those. That is an option. Those are the types of images that we can create.

When we create a remarketing campaign, we obviously are creating these images to advertise to people, but the other side of the coin there is who are we advertising those images to? We call that an audience. There’s a few different types of audiences that we can use. The typical audience that’s used in most campaigns that I’ve run is the default of just advertising to anyone who has ever visited the site ever. We call it the all users list. Now, it’s not necessarily right or wrong to be advertising to all users. It’s something that you need to test and it’s also dependent on your traffic density. For example, if your all users list has just way too many users. Let’s say your budget is limited like you only have $30 a day to spend an ad on remarketing, then all users may not be the most viable list because you’d want to narrow that down a little more and try to focus it on the users that are maybe more likely to convert.

The second option that I have here on this list is custom-tailored list. What you can do is within analytics and even AdWords, you can set up list to only advertise to users who have had some sort of specific behavior on your website. What are the ones that we’ve used a lot in the past, is people that have spent a certain amount of time on the site. We can advertise to users who have spent more than let’s say 30 seconds on the site. They showed at least some level of interest. They didn’t immediately click back after they landed on your pages, but instead maybe they read through some stuff, clicked around but didn’t necessarily decide to buy today. We’re going to try to bring them back and get them to buy. That’s the idea of custom-tailored list. Usually I used custom-tailored list when I’m trying to narrow the list down; like I mentioned with the all users list is too big and your budget’s limited. Then that’s a good idea to kind of get into as well.

Then the last option you have here is something called customer match which is actually something that was introduced relatively recently to Google. It was actually introduced quite a while ago but they’ve been starting to ramp up kind of their set up on customer match. It’s just the whole system for, it’s gotten better as of late. Customer match is where you upload emails of people who may be you’ve gotten a list of emails of people who have submitted forms on your website, or signed up for newsletters, or things like that. You can use those list of emails to advertise your image ads to that same set of users. That’s another form of remarketing that we can do as well.

All right, let’s move on. That’s kind of a basic overview. Let’s talk a little about the effectiveness of remarketing. Remarketing is similar to what I call billboard advertising. When you’re driving along the freeway or whatever and you see a billboard for Coke, it’s not like you immediately pull your car over at the next gas station and buy a Coke just because you saw the ad. It does remind you in your head of, “Oh yeah. Coke, like that’s if I’m thirsty.” It’s essentially reminding you so that the next time that you think about getting a drink and you see things on the menu, Coke is something that’s very familiar to you because you see it everywhere. That’s the idea of billboard advertising or another word for it would be called like brand awareness or brand advertising. You’re essentially just trying to get your name out there.

That’s not a very good KPI, I guess from some people’s standpoint. Some people are very concerned with brand advertising and some campaigns are built around it. In terms of KPI, KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator. KPI is essentially trying to tell us how much money we’re making from our advertising effort. A metric that we would like to use more is the KPI than just something like impressions would be conversions. I’m going to give an example here. If your remarketing campaign generates 20,000 impression, that’s great 20,000 people saw your ad; but if we don’t know how many times those 20,000 people who saw your ad ended up actually buying something from you or actually turning into revenue for your business, then it could be wasted money. That’s why knowing your KPI is important because one of them could actually lead the money and the other one could just be kind of nonsense, not very important.

The main thing that we use as a KPI for determining performance is conversions. Make sure that your conversion tracking is set up properly. If you’re tracking quote forms or phone calls, make sure that the code on your site and everything like that. We have blogs about this stuff as well, so feel free to check this out about conversion tracking; make sure it’s set up properly so that you can know for sure whether or not your advertising efforts are worthwhile in your remarketing campaigns. Another metric that we sometimes look at is something called view-through conversions which is a column that most people haven’t seen before within AdWords. If you can see this little screenshot right here, it says view-through conversations. These numbers are not actually calculated into your total conversations within AdWords. In fact if you leave them hidden and you never activate them, it’s literally its own separate column that is not affected by anything else in AdWords.

What a view-through conversion is it’s when someone sees the ad, they don’t click on it but they still manage to come back to the site and convert. Now, it’s kind of a weird way of looking at it because these remarketing ads are meant to entice users to come back to the site. When they click on the ad, they are redirected directly to your website. Sometimes what can happen is somebody goes to your website, maybe through your paid ad or whatever they get populated to your remarketing list. Then for the next month, they keep seeing your ad over, and over, and over, and then other slots on other websites that they’re browsing around on. Now, they may never click on one of those ads because they aren’t the type of person that clicks on spammy-looking ads. That message that keeps coming back to them, it’s telling them subconsciously to come back to the site. There’s kind of this ghost effect, is what I’ve always called it of view-through conversions on how even though this idea of billboard advertising or brand advertising.

It’s not necessarily a KPI that we want to focus in on too much; but there is a positive effect that it can have and view-through conversions is one of those things that we can kind of see. Okay, how many of these users are seeing the ads not necessarily clicking them, but still managing to get back to the site and convert. We may not want to give 100% of that credit to the remarketing ads, but I think it’s safe to say that we can give at least partial credit to those remarketing ads trying to entice users to come back to the site. If you go back to the Coke example, if you see a Coke billboard a million times and you only see a Pepsi billboard once, the next time you’re deciding between Coke and Pepsi, you’re going to be more likely to buy Coke because it’s just been ingrained in your subconscious more. That’s kind of the idea here is that that branding does have an effect on people. There is some level of value to it.

All right, the last thing here is that success rates with remarketing because people will always ask, “Is remarketing good? Is it profitable?” The truth is if you ask that question is, is X profitable? The answer will always, always, always be, it doesn’t matter what business you are. It doesn’t matter what you do, what product or service you’re trying to sell, the answer will always be you have to test and find out. You will not know otherwise. A lot of these strategies may work for you, they may not work for you. They may work for you and not work for competitors. They may not work for you and work for competitors. It’s totally dependent on so many moving variables that there’s no way to predict it unless you test it and find out. Again, there’s things like your landing page or your website. Your SEO efforts. How well is your PPC campaign set up? How good is the ad itself? So many variables that the only way to know for sure is to test it and find out.

That’s a little bit on the effectiveness of remarketing. Let’s move on to how to choose the best remarketing ads. Now again, we can choose image or text ads. I highly recommend you go at image, but you can try text as well if you want. Now within your image ad, you’re going to have text. There’s going to be words within your image ad. The general rule of thumb is to use about 10 to 15 words in the ad. You don’t want to go too much more than that. There’s a couple of reasons for that when people look at a remarketing ad. They aren’t going to be reading a wall of text. You want to keep it very short, very simple, very attractive. It is kind of easy to get the point across of what it is that you want them to do. We’re going to go over some examples here in a second, so don’t worry about that.

The other note I have here is to use less than 20% of the space for words. This is actually a policy that Facebook uses for their remarketing ads. They’ll disapprove any ad that has more than 20%. I actually think that this rule of Facebook uses is a very good rule of thumb in general to use even on other platforms where that isn’t necessarily the policy; where you can use like 80% text. Again, we’ll go over some more examples here of that in a sec. Try to make sure that most of the ad itself is graphics, or called the action buttons. Things that aren’t necessarily involving words. You want most of it to be image. All right, let’s move on.

Speaking of images, always use high resolution images. When people see the remarketing ad, if it’s blurry, or if it’s not good, or if it’s cropped weird, it’s just a bad first impression. I know it’s not technically first impression since we’re remarketing and they’ve already visited your site. If that’s the first time they’re seeing your ad and it just looks like crap, make sure you’re using good images. You want to represent your company well. It’s pretty straightforward. Then the other thing here is in your ad, you’re going to want to include a call-to-action. What a call-to-action does is it essentially pre-qualifies your traffic before they’re even landing on the site. A call-to-action would be something like shop online, learn more, register today.

That would be like the text that you would see on the button that you would see in the ad. It says like click here or whatever. Technically you can say click here but that doesn’t matter. Call-to-action, what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to tell the users subconsciously what we want them to do on the site before they even get there. The call-to-action button says call today. Then before they even get on to your website, they’re going to know that a phone call may be part of the process of them getting into contact with you. If they are interested enough to click on the ad, then a phone call is something that they’re already kind of thinking about doing and same thing with like shopping online. Like if it says shop online, they may want to browse around and look through your products. Call-to-action, very, very necessary and then image ad, always include them.

All right, the last thing here is to make sure that your ad looks graphically and aesthetically attractive. Click-through rate is going to be the primary KPI or indicator of an ad that’s performing better or worse. I know that sounds a little contradictory because I said earlier that the conversions are what we’re looking at. One thing you have to keep in mind, conversions are definitely important to look at because overall we want to know that the money we’re investing into remarketing campaign is giving us a positive or a lot. In terms of split testing different images and stuff like that, click-through-rates is going to be the most important thing. The reason is it’s because people don’t necessary convert right when they click on the remarketing ad. They’re not necessary sold right there.

It’s not the remarketing ad’s job to convert user. It’s the remarketing ad’s job to bring users back to the site. We’re just trying to get them back on to the website. Now one of the things that can make a remarketing campaign look bad, or maybe you do some testing on a remarketing campaign and it has a poor performance, it may not necessarily be because remarketing is bad for you. It may not necessarily be because it’s not profitable. It could be the fault of something else like a website. Maybe the remarketing images is awesome and it’s doing a great job of getting people back to the site, but if the website sucks, it’s hard to navigate the site. It’s hard to get into the checkout cart. It’s hard to do whatever it is, hard to navigate in general. Then people aren’t going to convert.

Again, the remarketing ad’s job is to bring users back to the site. When you are split testing images favoring the one that tends to get clicked on more frequently, is generally the one you’re going to want to go with. Again, the last note here is that it’s the landing page’s job to convert the returning users. When you are looking at conversion data of 2 different ads, keep in mind that even though those 2 ads are different, they’re both landing on the same landing page. It’s not necessarily the ad at that point anymore that’s converting the users, it’s actually the landing page itself. Again, just a good thing to keep in mind when choosing your ads.

All right, so I said I’d go over some examples here. Here we go. Here’s 4 examples of some clients of ours that we’ve made in the past. We talked a little bit about the first one that’s kind of glaring to me here. We talked about the less than 20% text. These ads are actually all pretty descent. I would say that both the 2 on the right are a little heavy on the text. They’re not bad. There’s not too many words on this top right one here. I’d say that this probably close to 15 words but the words are pretty big. You can see that most of the space is actually taken up by text itself. It’s not necessarily best practice. I would like to see this image be a little bit bigger and more prominent; whereas the words themselves may be the text should be a little bit smaller. Overall, it kind of has everything that you’re looking for. It has a nice call-to-action here of learn more. You could change that to call today, although it’s already says call today over here. It depends on how aggressive you want to be with that.

You can see, most of these have the basic structure here that 10 to 15 words. About 20% of it is text. The rest of it is images, and buttons, and stuff like that. Each one of them has the company’s logo which is good thing to incorporate, has very quick bullet points on. This top one here, excellence in installation, specialist you can trust. This lawyer-client here showing what they specialize in. These are some pretty good 101 examples of images that I would definitely approve of. Even if they aren’t the best images in the world, I think they’re definitely worth testing. If there’s something like let’s say you ran these images and they had mediocre performance, you could maybe try something similar to these and split test them maybe a different image. Maybe do some of the changes I mentioned like in this top right one of shrinking the text and expanding the image. This kind of gives you an idea of what these are about.

I just wanted to give you guys an actual visual for this since everything out is just me talking at you with text on the screen. This is some examples of what you can try out. I highly, highly recommend you guys try remarketing. If you haven’t tried remarketing in your AdWords campaigns, you’ve only been running primarily on the search network, we have had a lot of success with remarketing. Again, definitely try it out. Get some images created. Get your audience attached to the list. That’s all I have for today. Thanks for watching and happy advertising. I’ll talk to you guys in another 2 weeks.

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