I am sure that you have been there. Last month, I shopped for and purchased a sofa on-line. For weeks following my purchase, the store from which I concluded the transaction sent me daily ads for the very object I had already bought. Annoying? Yes. A waste of advertising dollars? Pretty much. A missed opportunity to do more? Absolutely!
Remarketing is one of the most powerful, and yet one of the most mis-used forms of programmatic advertising. Part of the problem is that traditional media agencies are not equipped to do the job properly, as they only really control 50% of the equation (less if they are still reliant on soon-to-be extinct 3rd party cookies). To fully exploit the power of remarketing, you also need to get your website into the act. If you plan your site properly, the content can actually help you better segment, and ultimately better customize the information you send a given customer during your campaign. Let me explain using my sofa example.
“When done correctly, your digital ecosystem can become a sales and new-client-acquisition juggernaut!”
Let’s begin with a simplified refresher on the stages of a typical path to purchase. In this case, three.
For our example to work, we first have to consider the UX of our sofa website. In this very straight-forward example, we will create a site with three distinct pages, each with very specific content.
Our awareness page contains our elevator pitch and branding. It may introduce why Sofas are a great solution versus other options, like bean-bag chairs and recliners.
Our consideration page contains content that speaks to our unique selling proposition (USP) and points of differentiation versus the competition. Our designer leather sofas have superior stitching, are ultra comfortable, sturdy and come with a 10 year guarantee.
Finally, our purchase page contains an ecommerce option or content that drives to our sales team.
By tagging each page separately and collecting the 1st party data of the users that consume the specific content on each, we can set-up a remarketing campaign that optimizes our programmatics along the path to purchase and actually helps acquire new customers while we do. 1st party data is key. It is data that is 100% customized to your audience and it is not affected by the 3rd party cookie policies you may have heard about.
Stage one: prospecting campaign. With our Google Ads and brand awareness campaigns, we bring new customers to our awareness page. Maybe a learner video or other rich media that introduces our solution and the category to which we belong. Anyone tagged as having viewed that content should be remarketed, but not by sending them more of the same campaign. They have seen that content. Now they are ready to move towards stage two of our campaign.
Stage two: comparison shopping campaign. Because we know that we are reaching customers familiar with our category, we can now focus on ad content that addresses our brand’s USP and we can position ourselves versus our competitors. Social media and programmatics bring users to our consideration page where, again,1st party data is collected to build an audience for stage three.
Stage three: promotion. Now that the user is aware of our competitive advantages, it is a good time to close the deal. Ad content that features a call to action to purchase and an offer brings the user to our ecommerce page or sales contact. Again, we collect 1st party user data by tagging the transaction page.
Now if you were paying attention at the beginning of this article, you could be tempted to call me out on this last tag. Isn’t remarketing sofas to a proud new sofa owner pointless? If your intention is to continue recycling your USP ads back to them, then yes it is. But the wise digital marketer thinks past the basic remarket reflex and uses that digital data to go one step further. A number of options exist.
Positively reinforce the sale: put in some creative effort and find a way to thank the customer for their great taste. Offer them a loyalty bonus or a refer-a-friend program. Wouldn’t it be great to receive a surprise gift, like an offer for a free bottle of leather treatment after such a big purchase? It would make the customer feel valued, and it would also bring them back to our website where we can introduce them to some complementary products, such as end tables.
Acquire new customers: when your agency works with a data management platform (attitude is a Google DMP partner) then artificial intelligence and machine learning turn that 1st party data into a customer acquisition gold mine. What better way to identify future customers than by cloning the profile of current customers? The tactic of remarketing to similar audiences is a great way to breathe new life into your prospecting campaigns and grow your customer base. When you enable the similar audience feature, you go back to stage one with an entirely new audience of qualified prospects.
Win back your empty shopping carts: perhaps your customer choked at the last minute and left without completing the transaction. Additional incentives and offers may be just the ticket to winning them over.
Building an effective remarketing campaign takes some effort.You need to understand your customers’ journey and you need to plan your UX and creative campaigns accordingly. When done correctly, however, your digital ecosystem can become a sales and new-client-acquisition juggernaut! Try it for yourself. Don’t be afraid to A,B test web pages and be creative as you refine your marketing mix. Be patient at first. Building an effective ecosystem may take some time. Ultimately though, you’ll thank me in the end.