Remarketing to People That Have Already Visited Your Website – Whiteboard Friday

October 08, 2015
Aaron Polmeer

By randfish

Remarketing to People That Have Already Visited Your Website Whiteboard

Posted by randfish

Someone visits your website once, doesn’t convert, and goes on with their day. How in the world do you win them back? Well, the answer may lie in a topic we haven’t discussed for a while: remarketing.

In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand discusses how to get back in front of folks who have visited your site or engaged with your industry, new options in retargeted ads, and offers some best practices to follow.

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Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re chatting about remarketing to people who’ve already visited your website and then left, or already interacted with your niche, your service, your community, and then gone off somewhere else.

This is actually pretty interesting. A lot of times when we talk about the organic marketing funnel—someone performs a search, they follow you on a social network or they see a tweet from you, a Facebook update and they come to your website—well, we focus a lot on trying to convert that person either to a customer or convert them to signing up for an email newsletter, subscribing to something, following you on a social network, or becoming a part of your community.

But there’s actually a lot of data suggesting that the overwhelming majority of people who visit your website… I’ll use Fitbit as an example here. Brad, one of Moz’s investors and also Fitbit’s investor, sent me a Fitbit recently, which is very nice. What am I at today? Let’s see, 5696 steps.

A lot of people who visit Fitbit’s website, I don’t actually know this for sure, but probably about a tenth of a percent of them are converting to a sale or actually buying one of these things. Then, 99.9% are going somewhere else. The idea here is: What can we do to capture this audience again, to get in front of them? We know that at some point they were interested in our product or our service. We want to get in front of them again.


This is something we’ve covered a little bit, but there’s actually a bunch of new options that have surfaced from the advertising and web marketing world that we should probably be aware of. A few of these include things like classic retargeting, aka we follow them around the web like a lost puppy dog. The ads that you see on the side of everything after you looked at that one pair of Zappos shoes that one time, and now you just can’t seem to get them out of your head or your browser. Maybe someone’s visiting The Next Web and if page X over here on Fitbit’s website was visited in the last 1, 2, 30, or 60 days, we want to show this particular ad with a bid price of XYZ.

This is kind of cool. I think where retargeting has really become more sophisticated is in some of the options. We can filter and configure and modify this and model it in such a way that we can say if you visited this page but not these other pages, or if you visited these three pages in a row, we want to show you this. If you interacted on our site in this particular way, we can now do things with apps. If we know that someone has interacted with an app, we can start to do retargeting and remarketing personalized to them.

Moz has used a service called AdRoll in the past. There are a number of them out there. Obviously, Google has a pretty powerful display network around this, too.

RLSA (Remarketed Lists for Search Ads)

Another thing that has been around for a couple of years but we haven’t talked about too much on Whiteboard Friday here is RLSA. That’s remarketed lists for search ads.

This means if we know that Sonja visited—I think it’s Tory Burch who’s a fashion designer who designs a special kind of Fitbit—the Tory Burch page on Fitbit and then we know that she searched for bracelets or watches, even though bracelets and watches are something we would never ever want to bid on as Fitbit because we’re not in the fashion category, but if we know that Sonya has previously visited a page on Fitbit or any page on Fitbit’s website potentially, well, now that she’s doing these fashion related searches, we might say, “You know what? Let’s show our Tory Burch ad specifically for that product, which is a fashion product, in the search results in the ads there.” That’s pretty cool.

We can customize this in a ton of ways. You can imagine a bunch of different uses based on what people visited and then what they searched for. Of course, you can bid a lot higher for those types of ads because you know the prior behavior. You can also expect a much higher click-through rate and probably a much higher conversion rate from those ads because that person has already visited your website and is familiar with your product or your brand.

If you have their email address…

If you have an email address, or a social ID, or an app ID, or even a phone number actually, you can use Facebook and Twitter’s custom audiences, which are pretty cool to do targeting specifically to people on Facebook or on Twitter whose email address you’ve uploaded. If a lot of people have signed up for your email newsletter or have started your product purchase process, maybe they went to Fitbit. They entered their email address to sign up, and then they never completed a purchase. We can get back in front of them using Facebook or Twitter custom audiences or using AdWords.

Actually, as of two days prior to us filming this, but probably a few days before, maybe a week or two before this Whiteboard Friday comes out, Google just introduced something called customer match in AdWords. You can upload an email list and then get it in front of those emails specifically when they’re performing searches or across their display ad network.

You can do those via places like Retargeter and AdRoll and Google. Those are the CRM retargeting models and services. That’s pretty cool.

Or their social ID…

If we have social IDs, for example, if you Facebook connect to Fitbit or if you connected via Twitter, I think you can also use Facebook’s connection on Instagram for Instagram ads now if you’re part of Instagram’s ad program. A bunch of options there as well.

A few best practices before we finish here.

  1. First off, whenever you’re doing any type of remarketing or retargeting through any of these types of services, make sure that you have smart burn pixels and burn pages, meaning if someone finishes the checkout at Fitbit, don’t show them the ad any more. You don’t want to keep marketing to someone who’s already completed that conversion process. Likewise, you probably want to have a burn after a certain number of days. If you can see that after 8 days or 12 days or 15 days you just are getting very low click-through, very low conversion, you know what, maybe it’s time to give up on the ad.
  2. You also want to be smart about limiting the exposure and/or changing the message. If someone has seen your ad four, five, or six times as they’re browsing across the web, maybe you want to say, “Hey, let’s either give them a new message or wait for them to visit again before we keep trying to advertise. Otherwise, we could be burning dollars and bids that could be better spent on other customers or other marketing channels.”
  3. We want to customize based on behavior. I think one of the big advancements here is that remarketing, when it initially came out, used to be pretty dumb and pretty basic. It was, “Did they visit your site? Then you can show them this one ad.” Now people have gotten way more sophisticated, and ad networks have gotten way more sophisticated. We can say, “Hey, they performed this action. We only want to be in this network. We only want to do this if they’ve done this specific group of things in a row or completed these processes.” That can really improve your click-through rates, improve your conversion rates, and improve your targeting.
  4. Don’t ever assign 100% credit to any one of these. Remember that whatever initially brought them to the website should receive at least as much, if not more, credit and investment than whatever brought them back to purchase. This is a way of recapturing folks, not an initial way. If you’re assigning 100% credit, what happens is that you’ll stop investing at the top of the funnel and soon you’ll just be remarketing to the same smaller, shrinking group of visitors over time. That can get really dangerous.
  5. Don’t limit ads to sales focus only. If you know that you can convert from other sources, from content, from multiple visits, from someone signing up for an email newsletter, from someone attending an event, from participation on your platform or in your community in a certain way, you don’t need to only market the product that you are selling. I think this is something where folks have gotten very narrow. You can see some innovative companies doing some really smart stuff in retargeting and remarketing, looking earlier in their funnel and saying, “Hey, we know that 30% of people who do this activity will eventually become a customer of ours. So let’s also remarket this activity, and we can bid a third of the price of whatever we know the conversion leads to directly.”
  6. You can also try remarketing for really creative stuff. I’ve seen it for job ads, which I think is brilliant. If someone visits your Jobs page and you’re having trouble hiring, hey, follow them around the web like a lost puppy dog. Get in front of them on their social networks. If they have been to an event of yours and you have their email address, you can now market through here.

Campaigns to influencers, I’ve seen some really creative content marketers who said, “Hey, you know what, we know that here’s a list of journalists and bloggers that we’ve reached out to. We can take that email list and upload it.” You need a minimum of a thousand email addresses for all three—Facebook, Twitter, and Google—for the CRM style stuff. Make sure that you have that many emails before you try and upload. If you do, you can get in front of those influencers with content. If that’s leading to links and press coverage and stories and the bid prices are low, which they often will be, you may have some big advantages there.

Hopefully, I will see some very creative ads from all of you following me around the web. I look forward to discussion in the comments. We’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

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