Posts about paid search, display and other online ads.

How to Use Retargeting Ads without Coming on Too Strong

Anyone who has been online in the last several years has experienced retargeting, whether they recognize the term or not.

 

Let’s say you’re browsing an outdoor store’s website because you’re interested in buying a new tent. You see one you like and click on the product page, but decide to do some more research and leave the page without purchasing the tent. A couple days later, you see an ad for that outdoor store’s tents while browsing another site.

 

That’s retargeting, and it works like this:

  1. When you visit a web page, a small piece of code (known as a cookie) is stored in your browser.
  2. This cookie stores data related to your site interactions.
  3. As you continue to browse the web, the cookie lets retargeting providers know when to serve certain ads that are relevant to you based on your browsing history.

 

When used well, retargeting ads help remind people about products they were interested in and makes it easy to purchase those items if they’re still interested. When used poorly, retargeting ads can be kind of creepy and annoying. Let’s talk about how to avoid falling into the latter camp.

 

How to Get Retargeting Wrong

Although I still hear the occasional jokes about how retargeting seems like a form of stalking, the practice has been around long enough now that most people accept it as a normal part of the internet browsing experience.

 

However, it’s still possible for retargeting ads to cross a line into the realm of the obnoxious. Here’s what NOT to do, unless you like turning off potential customers:

 

Serve an ad that links to the wrong landing page. You serve an ad about a shoe sale to users who have browsed your site for boots, but when they click the ad they get sent to a landing page for your fall sweater collection. They’re not looking for sweaters– they just wanted a 25% discount on a pair of boots they’d been eyeing — so they navigate away from the page, and you lose out on a sale.

 

Place incorrect or outdated info in your ad. Let’s say you end that shoe sale after a week…but forget to swap out the copy on your ads, and continue luring people to your site with promises of a discount you no longer offer. No one’s going to be particularly happy if you can’t deliver on the claims in your ad, and you will damage your brand’s integrity.

 

Be obtrusive. I have yet to meet someone who truly enjoys pop up ads flashing onto their screen while they’re trying to browse online.  Sure, you want your ad to stand out, but you don’t want it to distract web users to the point that they have negative associations with your brand.

 

Serve the same ad too many times. Showing a site visitor the same ad over and over again for a product that they showed a vague interest in is the internet equivalent of following someone around a store and out the door saying, “You’re sure you don’t want this? How about now? Or now?” To avoid this, you should set up frequency caps (which I’ll talk more about in the next section).

 

Serve an ad for a product that a customer has already purchased. Your customer just clicked on one of your banner ads and bought your product. They were feeling pretty good about their purchase — until they start seeing more of your retargeted ads for that same product around the web. Not only is this annoying, it also shows that your company doesn’t care enough about its customers to notice when they’ve converted and change the way you communicate with them.

 

4 Retargeting Best Practices

Segment your audience. You don’t necessarily want to serve the same ads to someone who just viewed your homepage as you would to someone who abandoned their shopping cart. Tailor your ads to visitors’ interests by creating different lists based on a visitor’s interaction with your site. Your segmented list should be as specific as possible, but don’t over-segment if your audience is too small. You typically want at least 1000 cookies per list.

 

Set a frequency cap. A frequency cap ensures that a web user stops seeing the same ad after it has been served to them a specified number of times. There’s no magic number — it will depend in large part on your product’s life cycle and advertising standards in your industry. Talk to your retargeting provider to determine the best frequency cap for your ads.

 

Pay attention when visitors convert. It’s easy to avoid following your customers around the web with ads for a product they just purchased from you. All you have to do is add a snippet of code to your transaction confirmation page so that customers are untagged from the segmented list once they convert. You can, of course, still add them to other lists in order to cross-sell to them based on their purchase history. Again, this is something that your retargeting provider will be able to help you with.

 

Keep testing. Don’t get complacent — when people keep seeing the same (or similar-looking) ads from your company over and over again, they may develop ‘banner blindness’ and stop noticing your ads altogether. Just make sure that when you A/B test your ads, you only change one variable at a time in order to pinpoint what works best.

 

Want to talk more about how to use retargeting without scaring shoppers off? Comment below, or contact Leverage Marketing.

Get the Phone Ringing With Google’s Call-Only Ads

Google has just unveiled a new campaign format to help advertisers take advantage of the continued trend of searches going mobile. To help advertisers dip their toes in, AdWords now offers “Call-Only Ads”. Google has re-introduced the ability to get phone calls directly from mobile ads. While you can always enable “Click-to-Call” extensions for your campaign, this doesn’t guarantee that they will appear in every ad auction. In addition, users still have the opportunity to click through to the main website, which is not ideal if your only goal is to drive phone calls. Call-Only ads allow advertisers to bid on mobile searches and serve ads that, as the name suggests, only lead directly to phone calls.

To get the most out of these ads, you should create a separate campaign for your Call-Only ads. To do this, create a new “Search Network Only” campaign. On the Campaign Setting page, select the radio button for “Call-only”. After rolling all device targeting together with Enhanced Campaigns over a year ago, Google has given back a bit of control, allowing you to separate your Call-Only mobile ads from other ad types. This is important for segmenting your bidding strategy, since you are likely to have different CPA or ROAS goals for phone calls than for website visitors.  Since you don’t have to worry about sharing the campaign budget with more traditional search ads, you will be able to bid efficiently for phone calls.

The next step will be writing ads that entice users to place a call. The ad format itself is basically the same as a traditional search ad: headline, two description lines, and a display URL. The difference is that the headline will always be your phone number. As with call extensions, when creating your ad, you’ll have the option to use a Google forwarding number for call tracking. You’ll also need to supply a Verification URL, which is a page where the number in your ad is listed. Once you have this all set up, start testing ad copy and get that phone ringing.

5 Digital Marketing Tools to Stay Ahead of the Game

There are a multitude of digital marketing tools out there to choose from. It can be time-consuming and daunting to evaluate all the options, but great tools are necessary to get the job done. The Leverage Marketing team has picked out some of our favorite tools in an effort to help you make the best choice and waste less valuable time when it comes to finding new tools for your company or marketing department. These tools are some of our favorites because they aren’t just passing fads. They’ve stood the test of time and will be around for a good while to help you be more competitive online. Read more

CHEERS TO RETARGETING!

It’s funny how a couple casual cold ones with a friend can turn into fuel for this here blog.

A few Fridays ago, I met up with a pal for a pit stop close to the home front. Being a Friday afternoon, the corner pub was its usual busy self, but on this particular end-of-week stop, all eyes were on a table full of 20-somethings and early 30-somethings who, judging by the rowdy celebration (not to mention quantity of booze consumed), were celebrating landing a big client or account.

Anyone whose livelihood is tied to sales should be able to identify with these guys. The crushing hangover that had to follow that Saturday morning, though, is optional.

The importance pretty much any company puts on new business is immeasurable, from the CFO making sense out of spreadsheets and percentages to the corporate salesperson whose fate lies in those numbers their bosses are looking over. New business is paramount, putting it mildly, to companies of all sizes, shapes and forms.

Leverage is hardly immune to this mindset. Like any business of any size, our annual goal isn’t solely to keep the lights on and our staff paid: we want to prosper and grow, both fiscally and in terms of innovation, at a steady clip. We are also elated when our hard work results in a new client and, on the other side of the coin, have been dealt our fair share of blows in terms of missed opportunities.

Yet to continue to thrive, we at Leverage are just as concerned about maintaining our relationships with the clients who have rewarded us with their business. That means continuous evolution of their online marketing strategies, with the end result being further success – and profit – in their online endeavors as well as continued satisfaction with our work.

For our clients, this means retaining their customers or clients. Once they have established their relationships with their base, continuing and expanding upon those relations is crucial.  While this is a long-term and continuously evolving process for all parties involved, the cost to our clients to retarget their customers is, compared to the cost of establishing the relationship in the beginning, much lower, and the practice is as, if not, more rewarding long-term than bringing them into the fold the first time. We all know how significant the lifetime value of a client is. Retargeting keeps customers in the loop and makes the rewards of customer lifetime value a reality.

Retargeting generally produces between 25%-40% more in sales revenue than targeting new clients

There are many approaches to site retargeting for an online client base, but three proven methods immediately come to mind:

  • Using marketing automation to trigger customized e-mail retargeting based on the browsing and purchasing behavior of customers.
  • Using paid search to retarget current customers with ads based on items they have viewed.
  • Using an e-mail database to trigger ads in social media news feeds based on the clients’ interests.
  • Remarketing solutions generally produces between 25%-40% more sales revenue than targeting new clients.

To me, the ability to be a company that continues to dazzle our clients by retargeting their proven customers with unique and profitable solutions is as satisfying and worth celebrating – be it with a Budweiser, bourbon or Barq’s root beer in hand – as that first success. First time clients are exciting, but repeat customers are what keep you in business. Are you ready to start reaching out to your customers? Contact us today for a FREE evaluation on your digital marketing strategy and learn how retargeting can benefit your business!

[Video] Why Leverage Chooses to Be a Marin Partner

Leverage prides itself in using cutting edge technologies to give its clients the greatest advantages over the competition, and Marin does just that.

Marin, a Revenue Acquisition Management Platform, allows our analysts to manage paid search campaigns across any search engines, manage social media campaigns across multiple channels, analyze thousands of keywords, and review data and reports from multiple sources.

 

Marin not only incorporates data from platforms like paid search accounts and social insights, it is also able to incorporate data from offline sales, call-tracking software, warehouse data and more.

 

With Marin, our analysts and our clients are given the gift of time, speed, and even a kind of marketing omniscience. As a Marin partner, we can make marketing decisions in real time, taking advantage of marketing trends as they emerge and preventing wasteful ad spending that may have occurred otherwise. Marin doubles the efficiency of online marketing. Rather than collecting and analyzing data spreadsheets from multiple sources before making a business decision, Marin puts the data we want to see in one place and at the moment we want to see it.

 

Marin doesn’t leave money sitting on the table and helps us invest it in the right place at the right time, increasing revenue wherever possible, hence the term Revenue Acquisition Management Platform.

 

So, why do we choose Marin? Basically Marin makes us a white whale of the competition, and it does the same for our clients. Without Marin, who can keep up?

 

Want to know more? We don’t blame you. Watch our Director of Paid Search, Tiger Sivasubramanian as he discusses the unique advantages that Marin offers any company.

Also read what our CEO, Bob Kehoe, has to say about Marin Software as our Force Multiplier.

 

 

 

Three Simple Ways to Take Full Advantage of Google Shopping

Google has been making changes to Product Listing Ads for quite awhile now, slowly moving people over from traditional PLAs to the new Shopping Campaign type.  You may have noticed the “validate” button disappeared when you tried to create new product targets for your PLAs.  And now the official announcement has come, Google will discontinue traditional PLAs in August, and only show product ads from Shopping Campaigns.  For those who fear change, or are at least afraid of losing out on all of the valuable optimizations that they’ve been faithfully performing on their product listing ads over the years, I bring you good tidings!  Once you start digging around in the new Shopping campaigns, you will probably come to the same conclusion as I have: “Where have you been all my life?” Read more

Digital Marketing or Marketing in a Digital World?

The shift is coming and most of us already know it. The Don Draper dinosaur is extinct. Not only has most of advertising become digital, but the majority of marketing departments will also be digitally-focused. Let’s reflect on all the old mediums of advertising: radio, TV, and snail mail. All of these things are now functioning digitally through podcasts, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and of course e-mail. The future of TV and radio is through the internet, and so it is with all forms of communication, including the telephone. As the future of internet TV progresses, digital advertising will surely become more involved, and cable TV will slowly fade into the background. So as you can see, digital marketing IS marketing, the marketing of the future. Sure, you’ll still have the occasional hard copy of a newspaper, magazine, or brochure, but for the most part, marketing strategy will be internet-based and integrated. Any other marketing efforts will be secondary. Read more

Get More Traffic to Boost Holiday Profits

Holiday web traffic

Offer Time-Sensitive Deals

Offering a variety of deals that expire shortly give buyers a since of urgency, and is sure to get more traffic to your site. Maybe potential buyers already have one gift in mind that they’ve priced on several websites, including yours. Offering free shipping or a temporary 15% discount can drive them to finalize purchases sitting in their shopping carts, cutting out the competition in a matter of minutes. Advertise deals at the top of your site, in PPC ads, through e-mail campaigns, or all three.

Grab a Partner
Partner with a company that offers a product or service that compliments yours but is not direct competition. For instance, if you sell clothing, you could partner with a shoe store or website. Offer a $10 discount on a pair of shoes for buying your products while they do the same for you. This will get more traffic for both partners and help finalize sales.

Make Gift Suggestions
Many holiday shoppers are lazy or just don’t have the time to figure out what to get for their Uncle Tim or Aunt Jane. Even shopping for Dad can be difficult. Help them out with suggestions on your website or through your automated e-mail campaigns and save someone the time by coming up with a great gift idea for them.

Make Shopping Easy
If you’re missing product information or images on your website, now’s the time to get them up. Don’t lose holiday shoppers to competition just because they have more detailed information. Someone who can’t zoom in and see all angles of a product will go to a site where they can. Also, make sure the shopping cart or ordering process is fully optimized. The ease of ordering and customer service will bring shoppers back to your site. To get more traffic on top of that, make sure your site is optimized for mobile shoppers. 56% of Americans now own a smartphone while 4 out of 5 of these will use it at some point during the shopping process.

Google Trends
Utilize Google Trends to test search terms for your products, services or sales. Google Trends allows you to select your region and date range so that you can see how your search terms have performed historically around the holidays. This will give you a better idea of what to focus on when writing ads or web content to get more traffic over the holidays. You can also monitor current trends and create Google Alerts to notify you when your holiday search terms or terms related to your business escalate. Take advantage of the burst of traffic to post an ad or a time-sensitive deal.

How Important Is Landing Page Optimization?

Landing Page Heat MapIf your company relies on generating leads or selling products online, landing page optimization (LPO) is essential to your success. Depending on the size of your company, you could be losing thousands to millions of dollars a year due to something as miniscule as the text on your call to action button. Let’s take a look at some of the factors on your landing page that could boost your customer conversion rate between 20%-300%.
Read more

Infographic: Cross Industry PPC Statistics

Online marketing has become massively more competitive and sophisticated over the past few years. This has come about not merely through the introduction of social and the proliferation of mobile, but through the increased integration of all of these elements and an improved understanding of how these elements behave.

A recent study released by iProspect in 2010 states that the likelihood of a site visit increases by 91% when Organic Search and Paid Search results are on the same page. This suggests that beyond just running an Adwords campaign for paid conversions, a smart marketing campaign will leverage both organic and paid to play off one another and increase brand recognition.

Below, our PPC infographic expands upon this concept, providing PPC statistics regarding the cost per click (CPC) trends for  a number of important industries. Read on below and leave a comment with your thoughts on what direction your industry should take or where you see online marketing going in general.

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