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Google Remarketing – What is it and how can it help your business?7 min read

Everyone seems to be talking about Google Remarketing at the moment.  Well they might not be using that exact term but it is definitely a hot topic in Digital Marketing.  Do you know what it is?  No, then this blog is the one for you.

Google remarketing in action

Even if you haven’t heard the term remarketing before – you have probably seen it in action – let’s see if the below example of it in action sounds familiar.

You were planning for your summer holiday – perusing websites looking for something nice to add to your summer wardrobe, and then you came across the perfect pair of sandals! You go off to find your bank card, and glance at the clock on your way only to suddenly realise that you need to be out of the house in 5 minutes … and you are nowhere near ready.  Yikes! You got carried away in all the excitement of your holiday and totally lost track of time! You didn’t have time to buy those sandals, and made the decision that you would just have to get them later.

Remarketing Sandals

So that hectic day led to a hectic evening … and a hectic week!  All those warm thoughts of sun and sandals out of the window. The following week though you find the time to sit down with a nice cup of tea, and catch up on some current affairs on your favourite news website. Low and behold there on the site was an advert for that website that sold the sandals you located the previous week, reminding you of just how much you wanted them, and that you hadn’t yet purchased all your items for your holiday wardrobe!

Well you seeing those adverts after visiting that website was not a stroke of luck for that business, nor was it a case of a timely nationwide advertising that happened to be running at the time! It is actually Remarketing (also referred to as Retargeting) at work!

Remarketing or Retargeting?

Before I continue explaining what it is, just to clarify both Remarketing and Retargeting are the same thing.

Google opted to call their version “remarketing,” which has caused nothing but confusion for most marketers. Remarketing is actually specific to the Google Adwords display network, and Retargeting is the marketing approach behind Remarketing.

We use Google’s version of Remarketing as it’s the most accessible and popular option, but you can also Remarket (or Retarget!) via a host of other platforms, including AdRoll, Triggit, Facebook, and ReTargeter.

Remarketing Explained

Remarketing very simply, allows businesses to target specific audiences of people who have already had an experience with your business, and place ads in front of them on other people’s websites via Google’s Display Network.   

This is different to standard online banner advertising, (also known as Display advertising) as with remarketing you are only targeting those people who already have some form of relationship with you, and are aware of your brand. This includes audiences such as:

  • People that have been on to your website homepage
  • People that have visited a specific service/product page on our your website
  • People that have enquired or purchased on your site
  • People that have visited your blog

More recently it also includes your existing database, your customers and your prospects that you have gathered over the years. This is a newer addition to Google Remarketing functionality called Google Customer Match

How can GOOGLE remarketing help my business?

So every day people are visiting your website (providing you have one of course!).

These people are relevant to your business, and they’re looking for your product or service.

We know they’re relevant because they’ve searched online for your product or service, they saw your website, and they made the decision to visit. They’re also timely—you have them looking at your website either during a key research stage or when they’re ready to commit to a purchase.

We also know that generally your visitors are short on time. If they can’t find what they want immediately, they have no qualms about moving on. Because of these reasons, we know that everyday there are relevant, ready-to-commit people leaving your website.

So, how many? It’s a scary statistic – but studies have shown that over 90% of all visitors to a website leave and never return! When you think about it, how many times have you been down to the local high street and bought something from a shop you have never heard of before?  Not very often, right?  We’re creatures of habit and like to buy from companies that are familiar to us; companies we recognise and trust.

Although it’s easy to ignore the costs of losing each of these visitors as it seems like an almost an intangible statistic in your analytics, you must remember that visitors ARE NOT free. Every one of them has an associated cost both in time and money. Every one that leaves and never returns has cost time and money without giving you any return. Think about your website costs, the time spend in creating your website content, all the hours and money put into your online advertising. 

The good news is Google Remarketing can help to recover these lost visitors by getting them back to your site and converting.  By targeting and placing timely adverts in front of your past website visitors there is a dramatic increase in the chance that they’ll come back to your website.  Even better, they’ll now be much more familiar with the business and far more likely to buy!

Now for the Techie Bit – How does Google remarketing work?

So you are probably wondering how it can track people and the pages they visit on your website?

To do this, you need to apply the relevant tracking code across your website. This is code generated from your Remarketing platform, and is sometimes referred to a remarketing tag or pixel.

Once installed into your website, every time someone comes to visit your site, this tiny bit of code will work with cookies to generate a notice of their visit, for every page they go on to.

Now to be clear we do not see this data at a granular level. So we cannot see that Fred came to my shoe store website last week and looked at trainers, not can we see that Susie added 3 pairs of stilettos to her shopping cart, but then left the website. What we can however do with Google Remarketing is build lists of prospects who have interacted with your site in different ways, and then instruct Google to place relevant adverts in front them. For example you can identify Shopping Cart Abandoners – those who have added products to their cart, but didn’t check out, or alternatively for a B2B context went to a lead form page and didn’t submit it. We can ID these people as they have had the remarketing code trigger the notice of a page visit on the core cart or lead form page, but NOT the confirmation pages they would see if they had of completed the action. 

Wait! There is more…

Dynamic Google Remarketing

Dynamic Google Remarketing takes the essence of remarketing to your past visitors a step further, by showing them adverts tailored to the exact products they were previously viewing.  So take our scenario from above with the sandals – instead of just seeing an advert for the website where you found the shoes you would see an advert for the exact sandals you were looking at!

Dynamic Remarketing gives potential customers a helpful reminder of the items they were interested in, making it incredibly easy for them to return to you and complete their purchase! You can also use Dynamic Remarketing to suggest new items to customers, based on the kind of things they have previously bought. Now how cool is that?

A little bit more techie talk?

Dynamic Remarketing works similarly to Remarketing, using a tag on your website to collect data from your past visitors. However, the tag will also need to collect product ID data from your Product Feed which is managed via Google’s Merchant Centre, which will populate the ads with the information on the items that each visitor saw, including the product description, price and image.

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