Google AdWords’ “remarketing” option is getting more interesting. You can now target specific groups of people in intriguing ways. Before discussing this, however, let’s recap on what remarketing actually is. On over two million websites worldwide, the owners have turned some or all of their advertising slots over to Google to run the advertising. This is known as the “Display Network”. For many years, you got your ads into these slots by specifying keywords you were interested in, and if Google could detect a page about that subject, your advert might appear. Slowly, however, Google is moving to a model where the ads which get shown are tailored to the person looking at the page, rather than the page’s content. One of the ways it does this is remarketing.
What remarketing does is to show ads to people who’ve already visited your website. Ever looked at a product on the John Lewis or Marks & Spencer websites, then started to see ads for that product appear all over the web? That’s remarketing.
If done badly, it can be a bit creepy, with ads “following” you around the web – although I suspect most people don’t realise what’s happening and just think that the advertiser concerned has a massive budget and is advertising everywhere. But if used sparingly, it can be very effective.
One of the best ways of using remarketing has been for people with online stores. If somebody looks at a product in that store, but does not get as far as the “checkout” page, the remarketing campaign swings into action, showing them the ad all around the web in the hope that they’ll decide to buy after all.
That’s not necessarily appropriate for many B2B companies, but the new remarketing options may well be. These tie in with “segments” in your Google Analytics application, so that the people marked for being shown the adverts around the web are those which meet any defined criteria in terms of actions on your website. For example, we might use a benchmark which we already use to define a “quality” visitor, such as “a first time visitor to the site from the UK, who spent some time on the site”. This means you wouldn’t be showing your ads around the web to regular website visitors, or anyone who’d just visited and left quickly. An interesting prospect.