Using remarketing to build an email circulation: the numbers

A reader asked me yesterday if I had any case studies on the idea of using remarketing to build an email circulation, and as it happens, I do (it’s what inspired me to write the piece!). Although we won’t name names, the company is fine about me writing this.

The initiative came about as part of a project to improve the email marketing at the company, which is in the process engineering sector. The main focus was to replace the company’s old “all about us” email newsletter with a new, punchier series of single-topic emails. As part of this, however, the company started looking at how it might build the email list, and thought first about advertising, and then more specifically about using remarketing.

The first thing was to get a remarketing list set up. This involved going to the company’s Google AdWords account, getting the remarketing code and putting this on every page on the website. From that point, visitors to the site would be marked as having visited, and would become eligible to see ads. The company decided to only show ads to visitors from within the last 30 days, so of course the campaign didn’t get “up to speed” until the second month, when the size of the list finally levelled off.

The ads which they set up described the company’s email list as a good way to find out about the latest developments in their sector, almost as if people would be signing up for a trade magazine. They set up a landing page for the ad which explained what recipients would get, and contained the signup form, which was fairly simple. Critically, they set up the “acknowledgement” page which followed the signup as a “goal” in Google Analytics.

The company also considered what it thought to be a good return on investment. I believe this included how many contacts which they might bring back from an exhibition, and the cost of doing so, or what the cost-per-signup might be from a postal mailing to known contacts who weren’t on the email list. My guess is that in either case, getting names at under £50 a time might be a result.

With the remarketing, ads now show, around the web, to anyone who’s visited the website in the past 30 days but who hasn’t visited the landing page (once they have, the ads stop). The return on investment is easy to calculate, as Google Analytics shows where the successful signups have come from, even if the page is shared between multiple sources. I shan’t reveal the actual figures here, but I’m sure that you’d agree that a quite feasible scenario for an exercise like this might be as follows:

Ads show: 50,000 times/month to 2,000 previous visitors
Clicks on ad/month (0.5% CTR): 250
Cost/month: £500
Conversion rate to signups at landing page: 10%
New signups/month: 25
Cost per signup: £20

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