Nick Rennard
By Nick Rennard | SEM | August 1, 2014

Remarketing Campaign Optimization

Recently I explained how to set up a remarketing campaign, and now I want to delve further into this subject and explain the basics of how to optimize your remarketing campaigns once they’re up and running. Let’s get started: First, you’ll want to make sure to use the right type of bid. Click on your remarketing campaign’s ad group —> click Display Network tab –> Interests &  Remarketing –> Bidding: dropdown box –> set your bid to Use Default Bids. See below for a visual:

use default bids

This setting will allow you to change bids for all your remarketing image ads by simply changing the default bid within the ad group itself (rather than having to change the bid for each individual ad). You certainly can use a custom bid structure to bid differently for different remarketing images, but that can be time consuming and is generally irrelevant since the ad is exactly same (just in a different size). Now you’ll want to make sure that your settings allow you to set custom bids for your ads. Click on your remarketing campaign and select the Settings tab. Make sure you’ve checked the bubbles for Focus on clicks – use maximum CPC bids and I’ll manually set bids for my clicks. Last, but definitely not least, you want to make sure that Enable Enhanced CPC is OFF. I strongly dislike this setting. This setting allows Google to increase your bids within your campaign by up to 30% (!!!) in order to generate a click that is “likely to lead to a conversion.” From my experience with this setting, it generally only inflates your bids, causes you to spend too much for your clicks, and you end up getting less advertising overall for your money. Make sure you Save these settings (visual instructions below):

enhanced cpc

Side note: while in your settings it’s a good idea to double check that you’re advertising in the correct locations. Too often have I been handed accounts that were local, small businesses advertising everywhere in the world. Set your geographic settings to be appropriate for your target audience.

Now, your settings should be configured, so let’s talk about bid adjustments. There are two types of goal completions that are relevant when optimizing a remarketing campaign: conversions and view-through conversions. You should already have conversion-tracking configured (assuming your AdWords campaign is already properly set up). Recall that conversions can come in any form: e-commerce sales, quote requests, phone calls, etc. Remarketing conversions are pretty straightforward. They trigger when someone clicks on your remarketing ad and then completes whatever goal you’ve created within your AdWords conversions. A view-through conversion is slightly different. These happen when a customer views your remarketing ad, doesn’t click on it, but ends up returning later and converts on your website. These kinds of conversions are great because you don’t have to pay for the click itself. You can read more information on view-through conversions here. These two types of conversions are great for measuring the success of your campaign. You can use Analytics to track the revenue generated by each of your conversions. Revenue tracking lets you to determine a more accurate ROI for your remarketing campaign.

ROI - return of invertelment concept in word tag

  Determining whether you’re getting a positive ROI is certainly important, but how do you know when to change the bids within your remarketing campaign? Answer: impression share.

impression share pic

Defintion of impression: for a remarketing campaign, impressions indicates how often your ad has appeared in the banner slot of a website on the Display Network. Definition of impression share: the impressions you’ve received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive. This piece of data comes in the form of a percentage. You can enable and view your impression share within a remarketing campaign by following these steps: Click the Columns dropdown box –> Customize Columns –> Competitive Metrics –> make sure that you have added Display Impr. share, Display Lost IS (rank), and Display Lost IS (budget).

impression share columns

All three of these metrics will show up as percentages within your campaign. Here’s an example:

impression share

Recalling that impression share is the percentage of time that your ads actually showed in relation to the number of times that they could have shown: Impression share lost to rank happens when either your bid is too low or your quality score is too low. Impression share lost to budget happens when your budget gets capped for the day, and then someone else searches on Google that would normally trigger one of your keywords, but you can’t spend anymore that day so your ads end up not showing. Impression share lost due to budget is the most important metric. Your goal with bid changes is to keep this percentage between 5-15%. This is because you want to make sure that you’re maximizing your full budget each day without capping the budget too early. If your impression share lost due to budget is high (25%+), that means you’re paying too much per click and losing impression share. Let’s talk quickly about some strategies you could apply to the above example. You can see that this campaign’s remarketing ads showed <10% of the time that they could have shown (given an unlimited budget). This means that this particular campaign could’ve had a significant amount more money pumped into it before it claimed all the available traffic. If you wanted to spend more on this particular remarketing campaign (let’s say bump the budget from $25/day to $50/day), then you should increase the budget accordingly (as well as increasing the default ad group bid by an appropriate percentage to bid more aggressively for ad positions). If you wanted to generate more clicks in this campaign without changing the budget, then you could try lowering the bids by 5-10% to bring the cost per click down (you can see that the impression share lost to budget is higher than the ideal target of 5-15%). This would mitigate losing some of your impression share due to budget since your budget wouldn’t be capping out as quickly each day. With this strategy, you would also lose some impression share to rank when this happens, but overall you’d still generate a higher density of clicks. Managing bids based on your impression share has a massive effect on the success of remarketing campaigns. This is also true for search campaigns (read more on search campaign impression share here). Hopefully these tips help you in your future bidding & campaign optimization endeavors!

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