Add3 – Digital Marketing Agency with offices in Seattle & Portland

retargeting best practices & optimization - add3 retargeting guide

This is the 3rd and final post in our 3-part series on retargeting. See Part 1: Choosing a Retargeting Platform and Part 2: Types of Retargeting. Get the full series of posts and more in our downloadable Guide to Retargeting PDF.

Retargeting Best Practices & Optimization

The last part in the retargeting series covers best practices and optimization for retargeting campaigns. No matter the platform or type of retargeting, there are some standard conventions to follow and levers to pull to keep even the best campaigns performing efficiently.

The 3 Parts of a Successful Retargeting Campaign

When setting up retargeting campaigns, there are 3 main aspects to consider – audience segmentation, creative and cookie duration.

1. Audience Segmentation

Proper segmentation of audiences is the number one building block to successful retargeting campaigns. Cookies allow advertisers to know exactly how far down the sales funnel users have gone and which pages and products they viewed. It is important to use that information to build audiences that:

  1. Will be most likely to come back and become a customer through retargeting
  2. Are large enough in size
  3. And are divided in a way that makes sense for ad messaging.

Some ideas for segmentation: Visitors by product or type of products viewed, visitors who viewed pricing pages or visitors who started down the conversion funnel (a purchase or application or lead form/process).

basic retargeting audience segments

Basic Audience Segments for Retargeting Campaigns. Source: Google

Why is Segmentation so Important?

Part of the reason audience segmentation is so important, is that it sets the fundamental campaign and ad group structure that enables you as an advertiser to display the most relevant and compelling ads to each audience.

2. Ad Creative

Having unique and compelling creative is the next step in creating successful retargeting campaigns. The users in the audience pools left your site for a reason, so ad messaging needs to be strong enough to bring them back. Using promotions or discounts is appropriate, or showcasing competitive advantages or stand-out benefits and features of the product or service typically work best.

3. Retargeting Cookie Duration

“The default 30 day window is not always a one-size-fits-all solution”

Another major component to retargeting optimization is cookie duration. The default 30 day cookie window is not always a one-size-fits-all solution and most platforms allow customization of the cookie window. Depending on your sales cycle, it may be appropriate to shorten or extend this window. Even with the longest sales cycles it can be beneficial to break your audiences out into 10-15 day chunks and message and optimize campaigns based on recency of website visit. Testing different windows is the best way to learn where there are significant differences in behavior.

Sample Retargeting Cookie Duration Segmentation

Sample Retargeting Cookie Duration Segmentation

“Even with the longest sales cycles it can be beneficial to break your audiences out into 10-15 day chunks…”

BONUS!!! Tips for Optimizing Retargeting Campaigns

Even the most well-structured retargeting campaigns need continuous attention and care. It is not realistic to expect performance and bids to be optimum from the start. Placement and bid management and creative and landing page testing are on-going activities that keep campaigns humming.

Placement & Bid Management

There are several ways to look at placement reports to optimize performance by both increasing positions on top performers and excluding poor performers.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Exclude placements with high cost, low conversion rates and high CPA’s to maximize spend efficiency
  • Exclude placements with high impressions and low CTR as it can bring down the ad group quality score (below 0.05%)
  • Bid higher for specific placements driving low CPA’s to ensure continued impressions on that site and maximize volume

Bid management can be less transparent on the Google Display Network as average position can be a bit misleading. Using impression share and lost impression share due to rank (Google AdWords metrics) can be a better indicator of potential gains to be had with increased bids. As previously laid out, placement level bidding is another lever available to maximize efficiencies.

Creative & Landing Page Testing

As with all digital advertising, creative and landing page testing are also crucial to unlocking campaign potential. Especially with retargeting it is important to tailor ads for the audience based on all you know about them. At any given time, it is recommended to have 2 ads live, running in A/B testing format, continuously testing headlines, images and calls-to-action.

Determining the best landing page requires testing as well and coordination with ad testing. Dedicated pages may be the most effective, driving directly to the past viewed product page, or even the home page might convert potential customers at different rates.

ABT: Always Be Testing your retargeting campaigns

ABT: Always Be Testing

 Next Steps

There you have it! The final pieces to all you need to know about retargeting campaigns. For even more information, download the full Guide To Retargeting below!

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Nora Park

About Nora Park

Nora Park is an Account Director at Add3. She has been doing paid search marketing for 8 years; the past 5 with Add3. Outside the office, Nora enjoys running, cooking and spending time with her husband and 2 year old son, Tyson.

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