The Triumphs And Pitfalls Of Remarketing

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punch11.jpgI love behavioral-based remarketing. It’s one of the most powerful tactics in my clients’ arsenals. Having run many behavioral marketing campaigns mostly on a CPA basis, it’s obvious to me that no marketer can afford to not take advantage of this tactic. Despite my enthusiasm, not every campaign works. Some never even get off the ground. I want to share some of the major reasons why behavioral remarketing can fail.

But first, let’s get on the same page as to why remarketing works. As Advertisng.com points out in its presentation, “Moving Consumers Down the Purchase Funnel” remarketing is essentially the art of shepherding more prospects through the sales funnel. For example, say that Manufacturer X is in the business of selling Product Y. X is pretty effective at converting prospects into customers. After showing ads to 5 million prospects, X gets a 1% CTR and a 10% conversion rate from click-to-sale. Hence, of the 50,000 clicks, 45,000 users do not initially convert. Remarketing seeks to add 2,500 to 10,000 incremental sales. By showing ads to users that have already clicked and expressed interest in the offer, advertisers are more likely to get a percentage of interested customers to buy when compared to a campaign against an audience that has not expressed behavioral interest in the product.

At face value, it would seem that this tactic is a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t it succeed?

Well, unfortunately, not all landing page users are equal. There are a multitude of reasons why a consumer might click on an ad but not go on to buy because of remarketing ads:

– The consumer can’t afford the product
– The consumers are interested in the product but don’t have the means to participate in the offer (don’t have a credit card)
– They’re window shoppers, not buyers
– They’ve learned all they want or care to about the product being sold and are more disinterested than willing to re-explore the issue
– The consumer has already bought a competitive offering or changed his mind about buying anything
– The computer has more than one user, thereby the ad server mistakenly assumes that a user is interested when it’s really someone else that reached the landing page
– The advertiser does not segment its users based on homepage users vs. landing page users, nor does the advertiser target based on deeper behavioral metrics (how many times has the consumer visited the homepage or landing page)

Remarketing lives and dies based on the total number of landing page users that are still open to considering the purchase and the quality of their interest.

Also, like any other campaign, behavioral only works if the campaign is set up strategically from the beginning. For a CPA campaign, the advertiser really needs to think about how much it can afford to pay (not simply how much it wants to pay or guesses it can get away with). Behavioral campaigns still need a variety of fresh creative and need to continuously optimize the creative and landing pages against its target goals. The marketer must think through what it wants to accomplish. Is the goal of the campaign to acquire new customers, increase the lifetime-value of current customers, cross-promote new products to current customers, etc.

If you decide to run a behavioral remarketing campaign, it’s critical to plan out the campaign well before launching. As much as I love behavioral marketing, a campaign is only as good as the thought put into it.

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