This is part 2 of a 2-part series about remarketing banners. You can find Part 1 here.
If you’re testing a remarketing program for the first time, make sure you test it at the best time of your year. A lot of companies test remarketing programs on their off-seasons thinking that it’s a good time because they’re not busy or they won’t “possibly do worse” at any other time of the year. Although that may sound like a good idea it doesn’t really give you a good idea of your maximum potential or what you should budget annually.
Choose your properties carefully. There is a big difference between running your technology banner on HotMail and putting it on a tech news site. Additionally, a lot of times the networks “fill” their different packages with less desirable (read: garbage) properties. You’ll want to know exactly what you’re getting and more important, what is and isn’t working for your brand. You may be surprised at what will work for you so try not to put a lot of names on your holdback list just because you personally don’t like them. Remember, your network partners want this program to work for you.
Make sure you know which properties are in the group. If your remarketing partner won’t tell you, make sure you are clear about what’s acceptable to you. If you don’t want your banner on sites with adult content, you need to be specific about it. The truth is that it’s not usually the adult content that marketers find offensive, it’s often some of the niche properties. For example, a plus size clothing company was “shocked and appalled” to find out that their best performing site was for “fat chicks only.” Funny thing is that when they surveyed their users, the users weren’t at all offended and actually thought it was “cool” that the apparel site was supporting one of their “favorites.”
Try for CPA deals. All the networks yap about CPA (cost per action) deals but most of them offer them anyway. Decide what you can pay per order, lead, e-mail sign-up, etc. and offer them a set fee for each action delivered. Warning: most networks make their CPC (cost per click) deals sound very sexy. That’s because they are comparing them to their pathetic CPM (cost per thousand) deals. Setting your price via CPO (cost per order) or CPL (cost per lead) will be far easier (and more profitable) for you to manage if you know your numbers.
Determine how low you can go. The thing about remarketing programs is that you have a lot of choices. You can market to everyone from plain site exits to cart abandoners. Best practice: test cart abandoners first and then work backwards. As long as it’s profitable, it’s probably worth doing but again, it’s critical that you know your numbers. (Emphasis on YOUR numbers not those provided to you by the partners.)
Make sure you have an exclusions program. Chances are not all your transactions will take place in the first visit. To maximize the success of your remarketing program, you’ll want to suppress people who’ve ordered. A lot of companies forget this important step. Don’t be one of them. It’s a waste of your money and it confuses the heck out of your users.
Set aside a control group that you do not send to your remarketing partner(s). Most partners will try to talk you out of this citing all sorts of conspiracy theories about aliens and Mayan calendars. Ignore them. Keep a small sample out of their remarketing efforts (yes, you should do this on an ongoing basis.) Doing so has lots of benefits but the biggest advantage is that you’ll be able to see at-a-glance how you’re doing without the remarketing banners. This is especially important if you have active trigger e-mail programs or internal remarketing programs (catfishes for example.)
Test cookie lengths. How long do you want users to see your ads? 1 day? 7 days? 15 days? 30 days? Indefinitely? A lot of partners (even the good ones) won’t talk to you about this because they want to be able to run your ads forever. However, it’s important for you to test different intervals to determine where your ads stop working or often more importantly, when you need to swap out your creative.
Remember that advertising within the Google Display Network is often very different from using other remarketing companies (Fetchback, for example.) If you’ve tried one type and it hasn’t worked for you, don’t be afraid to try the other. In the end, this is nothing but a numbers game.
Don’t benchmark your results versus overall industry results to gauge the success of your program. Everyday there’s a new blog post (usually ghost-written by one of the partners) about some random company that has increased their results 1200% using so-and-so’s unique retargeting methods. There’s no doubt that this sounds sexy but the reality is that your business may not compare with the kids niche clothing company who is offering 50% off all their apparel this week only. Too many successful campaigns are cut because they don’t meet industry standards. The only standard you should care about is yours. You can either make this work or you can’t.