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How to get Google ads working in your favour this Christmas

Thursday, 13 December 2012 | By Ned Dwyer

feature-santa-google-thumbYesterday, we explained how you can retarget your online marketing so that people see your ads on Google’s network after they’ve finished browsing your website.


But how can you make this work practically for you, now that the silly season is upon us?


If you're in online retail this is likely to be one of the busiest times of the year, and you need to make the most of it. For many retailers the Christmas holiday period represents as much as 20% of their annual revenue.



Christmas retargeting


Here are four creative ways you can implement a retargeting campaign to make the most of the spending period:


1. Product-specific Boxing Day promotion


Retargeting can be used to show advertising to customers based on the products that they've checked out on your website, but haven't purchased yet.


If you're running a Boxing Day promotion, or discounting the item, you can target an ad with details on the discount specifically to people who have already shown an interest in the product.


If they didn't buy the product the first time this will give you a second chance to get them over the line.


2. Facebook retargeting


AdRoll.com is a launch partner with Facebook for a new retargeting product that lets you display Facebook Like ads to customers who have visited your website.


This is a great way to drive engagement on your Facebook page with your new customers.


3. Apologise for out of stock items


With the sales volumes you are processing you are more than likely to run out of stock on some products.


Make it up to your customers with a cute retargeting campaign apologising for the fact that you were out of stock on their favourite product.


You can then retarget to the same customers when it is back in stock, potentially with a discount to lure the customer back to finalise their purchase.


4. Play the long game for Valentine’s Day


You can place retargeting cookies on a customer’s browser that last for over a year. This means you can show them ads around different holidays throughout the year.


Considering the next major retail occasion is Valentine’s Day, why not start to segment your customers by gender and then send them gender appropriate Valentine’s Day gift suggestions closer to the time.


As a terrible gift-shopper myself, this is a retargeting campaign I can get behind.


Three general tips for building an effective remarketing campaign


1. Target specific users as much as possible


The more targeted the better. For instance if you sell clothing and I'm viewing men’s clothing, send me ads featuring other men’s clothing.


2. Invest in great creative


While many ad networks have simple advertising banner creators, you can get a graphic designer or a service like RightBanners.com to build you a great ad for less than $50. Quality matters.


3. Set frequency capping


There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Retargeting lets you show your advertising everywhere your user goes.


If they visit a lot of websites with advertising on them, then they're likely to start seeing your ad too much. You can set the number of times your customers see your ad in a day and I generally recommend you keep it to less than five times a day, but it's different for every business.


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So why should I retarget my ads anyway?


In case you missed the memo, retargeting is one of the most effective tools in re-engaging with prospects who have visited your website.


The technology allows you to target your display advertising on networks like Google AdWords or AdRoll.com to specific users who have previously visited your website - giving you the chance to win them back.


Here are five reasons why you need to get in the game with retargeting:


1. Brand awareness


When you launch a new product it takes a long time to build up your brand. There is an old marketing adage that a customer needs to be exposed to your brand seven times before making a purchase – while it's a little outdated it certainly doesn't hurt your brand to remind your customers that you exist.


For RecruitLoop.com CEO Michael Overell, retargeting helped to reinforce their launch messaging and to stay front of mind for their customers. "Within a week, we'd had a dozen tweets, emails or comments about how effective our digital advertising was".


2. Segment your advertising campaigns


Regular display advertising can be segmented in a number of ways. But it can't be segmented based on what your customers have done on your website.


Retargeting lets you create segments based on what your customers have done on your website.


For instance, if I looked at a particular product, you can show me advertising only about that product. Or if you saw me looking at the men’s section you might only show me advertising targeted at men.


The more targeted your advertising campaigns to individual users, the higher the conversion rates you can expect.


3. Reduce cart abandonment


Every online marketer suffers from cart abandonment and the story is always the same. You run a marketing campaign, bringing a user to your website. They look around and add some products to their shopping cart to make a purchase and at the last minute they have a change of heart, put their credit card away and close the browser. You were so close!


Retargeting lets you place tags on the purchase page of your shopping cart. You can then place a different tag on your payment confirmation page.


This then lets you target ads at people who have the cookie from the first tag, but not from the second – these are the people who have abandoned their shopping carts.


One idea would be to create banner ads offering a 10% discount or perhaps free shipping – whatever you need to do to get that purchase over the line.


4. Seasonal promotions


A lot of online retailers will run special promotions on Boxing Day this year.


The savvy ones have been running email campaigns around these events to let their existing customers know; which is a great way to drive traffic to your sale.


Retargeting works in the same way but it's on every site the customer is on, instead of just in their email inbox, which is often overlooked during the Christmas/New Year period.


Retargeting cookies can be set to last over 12 months, so you can even target next year’s Christmas campaign at customers who purchased from your site this holiday season.


5. Driving lifetime value


The lifeblood of any online business is lifetime value.


It's expensive to bring new customers to your website to make a purchase. The higher you can get your lifetime value from an individual customer the more profit you will make out of your marketing dollars.


Retargeting is a great way to optimise lifetime value by re-engaging with customers you have already brought to your site to encourage further purchase behaviour.


Ned Dwyer is a digital marketer and entrepreneur. He is the founder of Tweaky.com, a marketplace for website customisation.