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  • Kristiana - Founder & PPC Manager

PPC Retargeting Made Simple

Recently Google published a research paper explaining the 'messy middle' and how consumer behaviour is becoming even more complex and varied. The study examines consumers’ behavioural and emotional biases and the challenge to earn customer loyalty.

The research concludes that being present whenever consumers are ready to make a purchase is crucial to brand success. How do you build trust and stay present while consumers are still researching? Through cross-channel remarketing.


Let's get the terminology clear. Retargeting is a part of remarketing. While both terms are used interchangeably, there are some differences between the two. They both have the same goal, engage and advertise to users who have already come across your brand or products.


Retargeting (as the name suggests) mostly refers to targeting users who have visited your website and performed certain actions such as abandoning basket, watching a video or browsing a certain number of pages. Retargeting is usually done through Display Advertising across Google Display Network (GDN) or social media ads.


Remarketing usually means reaching out to users via email or programmatic mail, as well as existing client base for upsells and new releases.


In this blog post we are going to talk you through the basics of Google Ads and social media retargeting and how to set up and optimise retargeting campaigns.


Install tracking on your landing pages. This is the first step to setting up retargeting campaigns through any platform. Usually you need to add a little bit of code to your website, also known as tag or a pixel. You can create and manage your tracking and conversions directly through the advertising platform. In most cases once you create an account the platform will provide you with the code and instructions on installing it.



Without tracking you won't be able to set up remarketing, monitor on-site behaviour or create marketing audiences. Once you have your tracking sorted, you need to set up conversion goals and install conversion tracking.


Tracking conversions is essential to retargeting, as in some cases you would want to exclude users who have already purchased or submitted a lead. Failing to do so would result in wasting marketing budget. Of course, there are some exceptions but if you do consider remarketing to converters, they should be targeted with different messaging than those who are yet to make a purchase. You can further segment your converters by demographics, basket size and more.


There are different types of tracking for various actions and conversions, depending on your industry and types of product you offer. Your business can and should track multiple conversions, to get a better understanding of how users perform.

Some examples include conversion tracking such as making a purchase or submitting a contact form or downloading a brochure.


The conversion tracking will depend on the action you want your website users to complete - for retailers a purchase is usually much more valuable than signing up for an email newsletter, while for other businesses lead submission is the final goal.


Collect data & plan your campaigns. Before you begin retargeting audiences, your website would need to meet certain criteria. For most businesses, this includes having at least 100 or 1,000 unique users to populate your audiences. Advertising platforms like Google and Facebook require large amounts of visitors, to make the data more anonymous and protect user privacy, as well as having enough data for their algorithms to predict user behaviour and match users to your audiences.


Why are we talking about algorithms and data? While retargeting is purely based on your website visitors, Google, Facebook, Linkedin and other advertising platforms have bigger plans - regardless of your goals, tracking and campaign set up, the platforms will collect and utilise that user data to add your visitors to other audiences, figure out what they like and profile them, so they can show them better ads and make more money.



The bigger your audiences, the better. With more people performing actions on your website you can learn faster and optimise your campaigns for success. More users performing the same actions or dropping off at certain points make it clearer to find out where your business is lacking and find the best strategy. For example, if all 2,000 people who added to cart dropped off at the final step of checkout where shipping is calculated, offering free shipping may help increase conversions.


Create & share audiences. Audiences help you profile your ideal customer and adjust messaging, bids and creative based on user behaviour. Some audience segments such as 'converters' are automatically created, while others may require additional set up, depending on your retargeting goals. Combined audiences are an excellent way to advertise to users who have performed certain actions on your website.


Make sure you regularly update your audience lists and revise your retargeting criteria. Audience lists are an excellent way to stay in the minds of those who subscribed to your mailing list to get 10% off but didn't convert or to exclude those who made a purchase. You can use audience lists on many advertising platforms to remarket and upsell as long as you meet certain criteria.


It is worth mentioning that some business categories are not eligible for remarketing or using any audiences at all, such as bankruptcy and debt management services.


Advertisers need to be cautious when setting up remarketing audiences and comply with certain policies. For instance, retargeting ads can not be implying knowledge of users' personal information, such as referring to them by job title or address. You may lose the right to advertise through retargeting if your audiences are too narrow through combining remarketing with other criteria.


Campaign & ad set up. The remarketing campaign setup process is pretty straightforward. Make sure you follow the platform's best practices and comply with other advertising policies. The key to good remarketing and retargeting is segmentation and messaging.


In most cases users would need several interactions before making a purchase and would be looking for a specific product category. For instance, parents of infants won't be looking for toys for 7yo children. Luckily Google and social media offer dynamic product remarketing, allowing advertisers to automatically show the products your users have already seen.


If you offer services and not products, users would have found your website through certain terms and visited specific pages on your website. You can easily create an audiences and customise the messaging and ad creative, to best match your audiences intent and stage of user journey.


Once you have planned your campaign structure, messaging and overall advertising strategy, get on with creating engaging ads. Experiment with different formats and sizes, especially with Google Display Ads. Different websites on the Display Network allow different formats and sizes, so it is crucial to use all formats, including HTML5 ads and video and don't forget cross channel retargeting.


Analyse data & optimise your campaigns. How you monitor and optimise campaigns would depend on the platforms of your choice, as well as your budget and campaign objectives. Check out our other blog posts on managing Google ads and Social Media Lead Generation for more tips.


Once you start running your ads, make sure you’re A/B testing to find which ads and platforms work best. A great and easy way to experiment with A/B testing is Google Optimise - easily tweak landing page copy, colours and messaging to find out what works best for new and returning visitors.

If you’re ready to take your PPC advertising to the next level, make sure you get in touch!

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