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March 11, 2013

Google Display Network AdWords Remarketing Tips

The Google Display Network (GDN), by delivering remarketing banners to users who visit your e-commerce website, can be a very cheap form of increasing conversions. This form of banner advertising can be a cost-effective form of bringing visitors back to your site and converting them into customers. There are a few top tips and guidance points below to help you set up an effective campaign in your AdWords account.

Generate and Install Remarketing Script

The first step in setting up your Google remarketing campaign is generating script to add to your site. Login to your Google AdWords account and click ‘Target Audiences’ on the left-hand menu and then click the ‘Audiences’ link to generate a remarketing script. Add the remarketing script to the footer of your site on every page just before the closing body tag.

Setup Target Audiences

In your shared library, within your AdWords account, you can now create specific audiences to whom you will target specific text ads, static banners and animated banners based on specific or general URLs a user visits on your site.

Campaign and Ad Group Creation

It is now time to create a campaign. First, select ‘Display Network,’ then remarketing. Fill out the various budget and campaign name fields as required and save.

Create the ad group for your remarketing campaign, filling in name, and budget fields, and then select the remarketing list you want this ad group to target (created earlier in your shared library) and save.

Banner Creation

The final stage is to create your ads that can be either text ads, static banners or animated banners (there are resources available for banner dimensions in AdWords help along with a ad generation tool).

To get the best results from Google remarketing you should create custom, animated, banners in as many of the set sizes available as possible, thus giving you a wider exposure and chance of being displayed on other sites. Animated banners generally give the best results because they are eye-catching and allow you to display more information relevant to the customers last interaction with your site (specification for all animated banners are available in Google AdWords help section).

To get the most out of your banners, it is key to include the following information: Brand ID and logo, product imagery, price, a visual button to click, USPs and key selling points. Try to create banners and target audiences that are as specific as possible.

Refine Ad Placements

In each ad group you can refine the category or type of site that you would like your remarketing banners to appear on — for example: remarketing banners for a laptop to appear on technology and computer-orientated sites.

Test Cookie / Remarketing Periods

A great way of refining a campaign is to test the period of time your remarketing audience/cookie is valid for. In most cases, the first day, then week will be the best time to convert people from your remarketing ads. Test to see how extending the date-range fairs. If you still bring in conversions under your cost per acquisition (CPA), then why not extend the period. I have in the past seen a campaign with a 365-day cookie that still converted and was well under the client’s CPA.

Create a Mobile Campaign

Try to split out your campaigns into mobile and desktop to achieve better conversion rates. This does require a little more work, but it gives you a broader understanding of how each is performing. Also, you may produce animated GIFs instead of animated SWF banners for mobile to reach iOS users more effectively. Splitting the campaigns into mobile and desktop is great if you have a dedicated mobile site on a sub domain, so targeting pages is easier to control. At the end of the day, you can see with which device your visitors access your site and produce effective campaigns based on that data.

Buying Process

This is a key element for a remarketing campaign: it delivers returning customers who have clicked your remarketing banner, as far into the buying process as possible or to where they were when they left the site on their previous visit. Create banners that hold as much relevance to where the visitor will be delivered and you should see a better conversion rate.

Remarketing Improvements

The key to a successful remarketing campaign is to monitor it constantly, refining who you target and where. Make it as relevant as possible to the visitor to entice them back to your site. As with any AdWords campaign, always test to see what works best, such as static versus animated banners (animated always seem to be more successful because they are more engaging) and look at different styles of banner, split testing to see what works best.

These tips are a general summary of the basic process for creating a remarketing campaign in Google AdWords, but there are many more features available such as targeting specific devices, geographical locations and so on. Find what works best for your site by testing and then improve your campaign based on results. Feel free to comment if you have questions or need more guidance.

Mathew Porter is a web designer and front-end developer based in Nottingham/Derby, U.K. with a core focus on e-commerce, conversion optimization, analysis and traffic. With more than eight years of experience in the industry working with some large online retailers, a wide range of experience has been gained for e-commerce and Web design.