Remarketing & Behavioral Ads @ClickZLive #czlny

Remarketing is red hot. A jam-packed session at ClickZ Live New York 2014 showed attendees how, if done right, remarketing reduces online clutter, ups the relevancy quotient for users, and improves advertiser ROI. Here's a recap.

Andrew Goodman (@andrew_goodman) from Page Zero Media started by putting remarketing into perspective, making a point to break down a few stereotypes.

Goodman made it clear that it's not just for aggressive or lazy marketers. Many remarketing campaigns can indeed be done with existing or older assets. You can take old campaign or content assets and bring them back into the mix using remarketing tactics. So it may be lazy, but not in a bad way.

We're seeing so much remarketing for several reasons. Not just relevance, but also because advertisers aren't controlling or carefully controlling their remarketing campaigns.

Remarketing allows us to market in an individual way, to a mass audience. In that sense, it's the killer app for display marketing that increases the value of previously worthless ad inventory by making it relevant to the user. Display advertising has come back from the dead, and the big crowd in this session proves it to be true.

There are many flavors of remarketing: Audience, keyword, or viewed a product or pages. These triggers then result in a specific creative piece showing up on Google search, the GDN, or on one of the various ad networks or exchanges. There are names for each combination of tactic: Retargeting for Search Ads, Remarketing on the GDN, Google Search Companion, and others. The names change fast, as do the players.

Google is the major player, but there are third parties doing well too.

Key players off the Google network: Fetchback, Chango, Criteo, Adacado.

As Google moves to encrypted search and privacy concerns grow, it may get harder for third parties to show quality search retargeted ads.

Executing behavioral-targeted requires creating a whole lot of audiences. For example, things like cart abandonment excluding past buyers. The complexity of remarketing right in AdWords is extensive and not that hard to set up. Set up lists using these tips:

  • Consider the audience carefully (e.g., exclude people who visited within the past 3 days to avoid irritating people)
  • Use more image ad formats
  • Set impression caps – especially per day caps
  • Experiment with bidding
  • Don't overpay – you're harvesting lost demand – don't squander loyalty or trust. You can only pump this up too much.
  • CPC model is very attractive. CPC reporting often compares apples to apples. Keep an eye on things like view through, etc., but keep them in perspective.

The three Rs of remarking:

  • Relevance
  • Respect
  • Recency

Don't let creative be an afterthought. Remarketing is usually display, so the creative needs to reflect the remarketing trigger. This means investing in creative. Often changing the copy is enough to create stories that work for different behavior triggers.

Be careful about turning off 'inferior' performing ads as that interferes with reach. Text ads may 'convert best' but they are best as part of a mix. Text ads are less intrusive, so when people click they are more qualified.

Customized or dynamic display ads can be creepy, so experiment with mixing in a bunch of products.

  • RLSA: The remarketing lists for search ads strategy here is strange, since your ad would have shown anyway. It takes some thinking to figure out how to best use them. Telling sequential stories via search ads is one option.
  • Google Similar Audiences Targeting: Right now, this isn't working for his clients very well. The idea is to show your ads to people who have attributes that are identified as similar by big data approaches. It's in its infancy and needs to be refined. Maybe target audiences statistically to your buyers only – keep it targeted.
  • AdRoll: Has momentum and the ads convert well on Facebook. They are a nice shortcut that allows advertisers to retarget on Twitter, Facebook, and other non-Google properties and exceed native advertising capabilities. Broadly targeted ads on native platforms often do poorly.

Covering the privacy side, Goodman noted the reliance on Google, Android, and cookies. The big guys are less vulnerable to cookies as people are often logged into their services. Don't expect remarketing to disappear due to privacy issues any time soon.

Next up was Christopher Hansen from Netmining (@netmining) to cover his view on the opportunities of this brave new world.

Christopher Hansen at Clickz Live New York 2014

In the age of big data, the right mix includes humans, automation, and algorithms. It's not just the algorithm, skilled people – marketers and story tellers – are still required to do remarketing well. Beyond creative, there are the elements of setting up lists, audiences, goals, and strategic approaches required smart people.

He made the point that it looked for a while that display was dead and search was on the rise. But then, with the rise of big data and information on users, display (and its cousins) have come back into ascendency.

Getting started in remarketing is super easy. Sign up with DoubleClick or Google, put the tags on, and you're good to go. But that doesn't mean you're doing it well.

You need to understand the audience and creating one-to-one ad creative and remarketed stories that make sense for each user. Bidding can then be driven by a scoring model that takes into account what their individual paths where, bidding more for the folks with the most conversion potential.

Since remarketing is going after you audience again, it's not a good prospecting or tool for new customer acquisition or brand building. Audience targeted, mentioned earlier, is one way to do this, but keep in mind the conversion rates will be lower. There is also a ton of data that can be bought online for targeting to get in front of users who may have the right intent, or be in market for your product.

Given the current capabilities, you can target creative that speaks to the weather, the road conditions, or the other local factors. Then you can show creative for snow tires versus low profile tires. Or hot chocolate versus iced tea based on the weather. This is possible via integration with first and third party data.

On to the Facebook Exchange. recently Facebook has opened its inventory to other players (as noted above with AdRoll). Now you can create dynamic ads based on audience that will stay in newsfeeds along with posts, or on the right rail.

Some final thoughts included: Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Use more than one remarketing vendor. Do lift analysis and other types of testing. Impressions have some value – it's hard to say how much. Use your search keywords and search insights for your remarketing campaigns. And get your attribution house in order. Attribution is a difficult topic as there are so many tactics in play vying for attribution.

The session was info packed, and the little time remaining for questions focused on the use of frequency capping, and the fact that very large numbers of impressions seemed to be required.

The panelists, while not fully in agreement about the best single capping policy, seemed to agreed on testing the best number of impressions, and to consider how few impressions people actually see. It also depends on the type of company, as large companies with big budgets get more leeway than small companies as people are used to seeing their ads more often.

Based on the size of the crowd and the frantic typing on keywords, expect big things from the remarketing industry in the future.