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In-Depth Guide to Google Remarketing for E-commerce

A customer visits your e-commerce store, adds a product to their cart, and leaves without buying.

Sound familiar?

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Source: imagejuicy.com

Would you like to follow your customer and remind them about their products? This is exactly what remarketing is all about.

You can create excellent yields from remarketing campaigns, such as:

  1. More sales with the same (or even lower) cost per conversion
  2. Effective branding

You can use various platforms for remarketing such as:

We have tested all of them but if you are already running AdWords campaigns, it makes good sense to first utilize their full Remarketing potential. In this article, I will provide step-by-step instructions that will assist you in setting up maximally effective AdWords Remarketing campaigns.

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How do I Get Started?

1. Create lists of people you want to retarget

The users which previously visited your website are called your ‘remarketing audience.’ Information about their previous visits is stored in cookies and you can save these to specific lists. 

You can target different people based on conditions which you would specify:

  • All visitors;
  • New Visitors;
  • Number of pages he visited;
  • Time on site;
  • By specific actions which they have performed on your website, for example only people who have sign up for your newsletter;
  • And much much more conditions;

To give you some taste here are specific instructions on how you can create different audiences:

  • On a property level click on Audience Definitions

 

  • Create new audience based on conditions which you would specify

You don’t have to create lists by yourself, you can import ready made lists from Google Analytics Soltions Gallery, for example you can try these two:

[Ecommerce Pack] Intermediate Remarketing Lists

[Engagement Pack] Core Remarketing Lists

Also you can create lists directly in Google Google AdWords using it’s remarketing code but I would not recommend you such approach. Let’s compare Google Analytics and Google AdWords fincltionality:

new-piktochart_883_b21ef41fbedca99409749c67438cfe6632dfe016

There is a clear advantage to use Google Analytics – it provides far more flexibility, as you can set up separate lists based on demographics. Also, it’s very easy to implement – if you already have a Google Analytics code on your website, you can start to create remarketing audiences straight away.

  • Once you have create Remarketing lists you can see your audiences in AdWords under Shared Library > Audiences:

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At first, you will not have as many people as you see on this screenshot, but once you get more traffic, your list will grow, so you can add even more.

2. Set up remarketing with Google Analytics

  • Enable remarketing and advertising features at Property Level in your Google Analytics. Admin Tab>Property>Data Collection

enable-advertising-features

  • Connect your Google Analytics and AdWords accounts. Google Analytics>Admin>Property>AdWords Linking

3. Create needed campaign type

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#1 Remarketing on Google Display Network

This is the easiest and fastest way to get started with remarketing. There are only two requirements:

  1. A minimum of 100 visitors on your list (in reality more than 150)
  2. Animated, image, or/text ads.

Optimization:

  • Use responsive ads – previously, one of the best practices was to create a separate Ad group for text and banner ads; however, with responsive ads, you can keep everything in one Ad group.
  • Create a separate Ad group for each audience. You can set bids and analyse performance on an audience level; however, many more metrics are available for the Ad group.
  • Don’t add too many exclusions. Unlike other Google Display Network campaigns, you are targeting specific people, not keywords or interests, so you can accidentally cut the amount of relevant traffic if you exclude certain placements. However, if you see placements that are creating lots of traffic but just don’t convert, you may want to exclude them.
  • Set up frequency capping so as to not bother people too much. Due to ‘banner blindness’ you can keep frequency capping at an optimal level of between 5 and 10.   

frequency_capping

  • Exclude mobile applications by adding appspot.com and adsenseformobileapps.com to campaign placement exclusions on a Shared Library level.
    mobile-exclusions

#2 Video Remarketing

Video remarketing on YouTube and related websites will allow you to utilize two different ad formats:

  1. Truview In-Stream ads
  2. Discovery ads

In order to be eligible for video remarketing you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Link your YouTube channel and AdWords account
  2. Have at least one video on your YouTube channel

You can utilize more lists compared to other campaign types:

video-remarketing-lists

#3 RLSA

Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) allows you to target your previous website visitors, using keyword targeting. It uses the same search campaigns, but you are targeting your previous website visitors directly, instead of new customers. In most cases, this results in a higher conversion rate:

rlsa

You can target the same keywords that you have been using before in the same search campaign, or you can create a new campaign and use more general terms for this one. For example, if a person came to your online wine shop, using the keywords [pinot noir wine new zealand], you can target them in the RLSA campaign using the keyword [wine]. That’s a good example; however, Google will not allow you to promote alcohol using remarketing.

To add a remarketing list, navigate to the Audience Tab in your search campaign and add the required audience:

audiences

The system will ask you to choose between “Target and bid” and “Bid only” targeting options.

If you choose “Bid only” you will bid both new and old customers so it will be a combination of a typical search and a search-remarketing campaign. In this case, add bid adjustment to your audience as shown on the screenshot above.

“Target and bid” allows you to target only previous visitors, so this would be a 100% remarketing campaign.

Important note! To start an RLSA campaign you must have at least 1000 active people on your list.

#4 Dynamic Remarketing

With this type of remarketing, you can show relevant content and products based on your customers’ previous behavior on your website. For example, if a customer has been adding specific shoes from your website to their cart, but never completed the purchase, you will be able to specifically display those shoe models to him once more as a reminder that he was interested in these shoes. Information such as product price and an image will be dynamically added to your ads.

Step 1: Create a feed. You need to pull data about your product or services from a specific feed, which can be stored in the Shared library level, or in Google Merchant (if it’s an eCommerce store). If you already have a shopping campaign, you may use the same feed for that purpose.

Step 2: Create custom dimensions in your Google Analytics account and amend your google analytics code, to send the required information about products or services to Google Analytics. You need to add special parameters called ‘vertical attributes’ to your Google Analytics code. Follow this Google guide for more detailed information.

When your visitor views the page with the modified analytics tag, then information will go to Google Analytics as a custom dimension.

Last, but not least – add banners to your campaigns. The easiest way to start with this is to create responsive ads, which will automatically adjust their size to fit any placement across the entire Google Display Network.

If you need more flexibility you can also take advantage from Doubleclick dynamic remarketing, here is a quick comparison of its capabilities:

 

Feel free to comment if you have any questions…

 

 

Save Your Money in AdWords with Universal Negative Keyword Lists

One of the most important things for Pay Per Click (PPC) optimization is the use of negative keywords.

 

Negative keywords are words and phrases that are irrelevant for your business and ones that you do not want searchers to associate with your products and services.

When you add negative keywords to your PPC campaigns your ads will not be served if those words are part of the user’s search query. It’s important when adding them to make sure that your Ads are shown only for potentially interested customers who are looking to buy your product or services and not to someone who is looking for a job, or guideline, DIY, etc.

I would like to share with you some lists of negatives that could help you to increase your traffic quality once you start using them.

For your convenience, the lists are separated by the area of business in which they should be used. These lists are good to start with and you can then develop them for your campaign by checking the search query report.

As these are general lists, they would be suited to almost every business. I suggest that you review them and make sure that the ones you add do not contain the specific words that would be relevant for attracting customers in your specific area of business.

Once you review the list you can add it on the Shared library level and apply to All of your campaigns.

General Negatives. These are suited to almost any Campaign:

Job seekers. If you need to prevent your ads from being shown to people looking for information related to jobs, resumes, etc.:

Unless you’re a school or training company, you can add these words as negatives:

Unless you are connected with the travelling industry, you can add these words as negatives:

To avoid being shown for mix researchers, reference searches & statisticians:

Manufacturers & industrial:

No bargains here! These are good if you’re a premium provider:

To avoid clicks from developers who are looking for free resources, and consumers looking for tools, guidelines and home-use products:

Countries. If you need to target only one country (don’t forget to exclude your target country):

PPC marketing for Ecommerce – 7 Proven Methods to Grow ROI

Unlike any other area of marketing, Ecommerce PPC management is unique in that all of your decisions can be driven by math and statistics, not by intuition. In saying that, if you were not too strong in statistics at school there´s no need to worry; this guide will give you enough info for a quick decision-making process.

If you would like to improve in the art of statistics itself, there are tons of excellent books available for example, Naked Statistics by Charles Wheelan, which can help you to understand just how sexy it is.  

It’s easy to lie with statistics, but it’s hard to tell the truth without them.Charles Wheelan

The goal of this small guide is to cover the main Pay Per Click principles which would help you to get higher ROI. When you fully understand them, you can get a much better understanding of what Pay Per Click marketing is really about.

Sometimes you can achieve your monthly goal just spending 15 minutes a week focusing on the highest frequency actions, which have the biggest impact on your Pay Per Click campaigns.

 So let's uncover these key components that will help you to get higher ROI  from PPC this week.  

You may look on Pay Per Click marketing as a puzzle - you will not see the full picture unless you have all 7 elements:

1. If you need more relevant traffic, you will have to pay more for it. 

This may not sound logical, as we've gotten used to a totally opposite approach. The wholesale price for potatoes is much lower compared to market price. So why do we have opposite situation when it comes to PPC marketing?

  • A volume of relevant traffic is always limited; there may be only 100 people who are searching for your products or services. 
  • All people are different and on a different step of a sales funnel. Person A is ready to buy your product straight away while Person B needs time to think. Person C is just performing research and, probably he is never going to buy your product. 

What comes from that, then? The more clients you need, the more you have to pay for every additional client you will get. For example, let's take the keyword "PPC management." On average, there are 1,300 monthly searches for it.

ppc-management

If you are ready to pay only $10 per click, you will be displayed on low position and, as a result, you may participate only in 400 auctions, getting 8 clicks ( assuming that your CTR is 2%). If you are ready to pay $70 per click, you can participate in a higher number of auctions and as a result, CTR will grow. If you participate in 1000 auctions, you will get 50 clicks, assuming that your CTR would be 5%. 

Make the most of the traffic you already have: PPC management is very closely connected to landing page optimization, so you might have to become an expert in that too, or hire someone who can increase the conversion rate of your website.

2. Reach is very important.   

By definition, CTR = Clicks/Impressions

So Clicks = CTR x Impressions.

That's why if you want to get more clicks, you just need to grow impressions.

For example, you have a Search campaign on AdWords. The campaign is not limited by budget, but you are getting only a 60% search impression share, or in other words, you are losing 40% of impressions due to low bids. Perhaps campaigns are profitable, however you would like to increase sales. Here are some options to increase the number of impressions: 

  • Increase CPC
  • Add remarketing or other types of campaign such as DSA 
  • Perform further keyword research
  • Add DSA 
  • Add additional relevant ads and extensions in rotation to increase CTR 
  • Import campaigns to Bing or set up Facebook Ads

If you increase CPC your cost per conversion will grow, so it's the last option to consider, as you can get relevant impressions from other keywords and placements on Google Display Network, or via other platforms as Facebook or Bing. So you can get many more conversions by just increasing the impressions volume from new sources of traffic. 

Another example: What will happen if you will decide to cut down the scope of your traffic? For example, adding a schedule to show ads only on even days. Your impression share will drop from 60% to 30% and, as a result you will get fewer sales and lose money. So cutting down the scope of relevant traffic will almost in all situations lead to decreased profit.

Let's take another example: Your budget is $7000 and you are getting 1000 AdWords clicks a day (average  CPC is $7). What if you decrease your CPC to $5 and import campaigns from Bing? The conversion rate from Bing may be slightly different, however most likely, you will get more orders within $7000.

So increasing CPC should be your main strategy to get more traffic. Due to the auction system in this situation there would be only a few winners - usually Google, Facebook or Microsoft.

3. Use the correct PPC Key Performance Indicators.  

To compare how effective different optimization methods are, you need to use some Key Performance Indicators. But in most cases it's not easy. All KPI's such as CTR, ROI, CPA can provide misleading information.

Most likely, you have also read a lot of case studies, such as: "How we achieved 800% higher ROI in 2 weeks from PPC." It's a very misleading headline - to achieve 1000% higher ROI you can just make your bid 10x lower, but you will also get far less in profit. So the correct headline should be "How we achieved 800% ROI and 2x profit from PPC."  

The same situation can happen with any other KPI. It's funny when some people take CTR as KPI. CTR is directly influenced by your position: You can write nonsense in your ad, but having dynamic keyword insertion can get you awesome CTR. Also, you can increase CTR  just by changing your match types. But at the same time, you can get less profit.

For me personally, CTR is a great indicator of traffic relevance. One of my weekly PPC management routines is to check CTR + average position.  If any of my search keywords, which have an ad position better than 3, have CTR of 1% or less, I check the search report to see something like this: 

low-ctr-ppc-management

The best KPI we can use is profit, but it's directly influenced by cost per click. Also we can't calculate all marketing expenses such as salaries, taxes etc. That's why it's impossible to measure success using just one key performance indicator. 

Combine different KPIs to have clear picture, for example cost per lead + lead volume or ROAS + revenue.  

4. Never make decisions based on a small set of data.

Most of my new clients can call me on Monday and say, "Oh, we had terrible results over the weekend!"  I reply, "It's ok, don't worry." Then, on Wednesday I receive another call: "Wow, we had such an amazing day yesterday!" My answer would be, "It's not as good as it looks, let's wait 'til the weekend." What I mean by this is that most people tend to evaluate the results by checking across a one day period. It's the wrong approach. Let me explain why...  

We think, each of us, that we're much more rational than we are. And we think that we make our decisions because we have good reasons to make them. Even when it's the other way around. We believe in the reasons, because we've already made the decision.Daniel Kahneman

Based on the law of small numbers, written by Daniel Kahneman, who was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, if you analyze a very small percentage of data you will get misleading results.  Your results would be different every day due to multiple reasons, which you can't influence.

Let's take a specific example: In one of my projects the eCommerce conversion rate during the last 12 month was 11.19%. Every month it's between 10% and 12%.
law-of-small-numbers

But if you check the data individually, on different days, you can see that very often you will have a 6% conversion rate, or 20%:
law-of-small-numbers-2
So, this Monday I get terrible results, but next Monday everything is amazing. In PPC management it's often very easy to make quick but detrimental decisions, for example, increasing CPC based on observing just a few days, or a few clicks. Please don't do that - you will just waste your time. 

So be patient before making any pay per click management decisions. 

5. Focus on the highest frequency actions. 

Following the Pareto Principle, 20% of your targeting methods will provide you with 80% of your profit; 20% of your ads will give you 80% of clicks, etc.  That's actually great news - you don't need to optimize thousands of keywords - by just focusing on the top 20-100 you will achieve the required results. Sometimes, I've achieved a client's monthly goal just by one action alone: Reallocating budgets to the segment of his traffic which was bringing the best results, so I had plenty of time to experiment with new and interesting strategies. 

Highest frequency actions are often different from account to account, but I will list some of my favorite routines: 

    • Maximize volumes of relevant traffic by collecting as many keywords as possible and using all types of PPC campaigns and additional PPC channels such as: Facebook, Bing, Amazon, Twitter, Yandex, etc. 
    • Dynamically change the website content based on the target keywords.
    • Add in rotation all possible extensions.
    • Ad copy optimization using the SKAG structure: 5-7 ads in rotation for each of my top 20% keywords.
    • Price in ad copies. 
    • Negatives.
    • Automation with AdWords scripts. 

I am not covering bid management techniques in this article; that topic will be covered in greater depth in a different guide!

So, to sum up, always think about the highest frequency actions that will help you to achieve your goals with minimum effort.

6. Provide a more relevant website user experience. 

Nearly 15-25 of search queries have never been asked before, which means it's impossible to collect all possible keywords. You will have to use broad match keywords at some point and it's impossible to have website content that will match with all user expectations. We have great news here - you don't have to create 500 landing pages for each of your search terms, but you can dynamically change the website content for each visitor. This is possible via AdWords and Facebook API and we do that using our own scripts. I will cover this point in greater depth in a separate article. 

The other interesting thing to consider is price segmentation. First of all, you may segment customers who are using words such as 'cheap' and its synonyms, which indicate decreased price as a requirement for such customers. Price segmentation is actively used by companies that are selling flight tickets, for example. 

Take the most from each click.

7 . Keep track of your experiments. 

There are hundreds of Pay Per Click management methods and sometimes it becomes hard to measure the impact of the specific actions that you have performed. So you need to carefully track all of the important actions that you have performed. To increase your conversion rate, you can reduce the amount of irrelevant clicks by adding negatives or by adding the price to ad copies. In this case you will not get more conversions, but you will decrease the cost per conversion, yet quite often, you will also exclude those clicks which might lead to conversion. I've seen so many times that "bad" keywords which contain "free" have a really good conversion rate, but blindly adding negatives is not the best long term strategy, because your profit may decrease. I prefer to add negatives which are 100% irrelevant, or which have some statistics behind them. Another option is to improve your website content, so with the same amount of clicks you will get more conversions. As a result, you will get many more conversions within the same AdWords budget.  

Always measure your actions!

 

AdWords Search Innovations – DLSA and updates to RLSA

Today I was excited to share 2 AdWords updates.

AdWords improves RLSA

RLSA (search remarketing) has proven to be one of the most useful types of targeting in AdWods. Usually, I use it in 2 cases:

  • To target my past visitors bidding on more general keywords which usually have a lower conversion rate. For example, I create a remarketing list of people who have visited parts of my website which are related to shoes.  Then I create RLSA campaign adding this remarketing list and target keyword +shoes. It would be a great reminder for people to come back to my website to complete a purchase. In this case, I need to use “target and bid” option.
  • To bid on all my current keywords increasing bids for people who have already been on my website. In this case, I don’t need to create a separate campaign, I just add required audiences in existing groups under “Audience” Tab and add bid adjustment. In this case, I should choose “bid only” option.

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Here are main RLSA updates:

  1. Now you can keep visitors on your list for a longer period (up to 540 days);
  2. You can reach people across different devices, if someone has searched on laptop or tablet, you can reach them on the mobile phone.
  3. A bit later this year you would be able to add remarketing lists on the campaign level.

AdWords introduces DFSA

Demographics for search ads (DFSA) were available both in Bing and Yandex but not in Google. What advantage can you get from this update? If you will create AdWords segment in Google Analytics account which would show your AdWords traffic and open Gender report you could see that your conversion rate from male audience is higher compared with female like in this example:

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If you have high lost impression lost due rank in the campaign, you can add bid adjustment for the male, so you will get more impressions when the male audience is searching for your products in Google. As a result, you will get more traffic with higher conversion rate and more transactions.

Apart from gender settings, you can also analyse age and parental status reports.

Also, you can exclude some audiences, for example, specific age groups, but first check needed report because I was often surprised checking age and gender reports.

Read more about recent updates and some interesting case studies at official Inside AdWords blog.

Join Today is using Google Display Network to promote their brand and increase number of conversions by 734%

The challenge:

Join Today is the Institution which is offering relevant content for people who are looking for financial news.

The company has created a great piece of content and was interested in getting more relevant visitors, who interested in financial news to grow their brand awareness.

At that moment they were getting traffic from  http://www.outbrain.com/ and http://go.taboola.com/ with very attractive CPA. 

Previously they have been testing GDN by themselves but faced such problems:

  1. It took 4-5 days to get enough amounts of relevant traffic;
  2. CPC and cost per call were higher compared with other traffic sources;

We didn’t have access to their previous campaigns and we have been very time limited – we had only 14 days to show results.

Strategy:

1.Create measurement model:

First of all, we had to come up with measurement model. We decided to use micro conversions to evaluate traffic quality, our main conversion was registered once visitor has viewed 75% of the video and was implemented using AdWords tracking code. This conversion was used for CPA bidding. 

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Also, we have created several conversions using Google Analytics – we have used this tool to analyzed campaign performance.

2.Structure campaigns to get higher impression share from placements with highest conversion rates.

From the very beginning we have decided to use AdWords CPA bidding, so we had to organize campaigns following 2 main principles:

  1. Separate ad group for each targeting method (keyword, topic, placement etc.), so we would be able to place CPA bids on ad group level;
  2. Focus on 1-3 main campaigns, which would get 90% of conversion volume so AdWords will have more data;

 

3. Test different targeting settings:

We have been testing all suitable targeting methods limiting CPC:

  • DSK
  • Search + Display Select using Accelerated
  • Keyword targeting
  • Remarketing
  • Similar audiences
  • Topic and Interests

From the very beginning, we combined different targeting methods using Target and Bid settings (condition AND).

Also, we have created Custom affinity audiences:

custom-investors-gdn-audience

 

4. Optimization 

  • We have constantly checked placement report and from Top performing placements were moved to separate campaign to get higher Impression Share:

selected-placements

  • We have realized that some big websites such forbes.com have been giving low conversion rate, so we have been adding an additional topic or keyword targeting in needed ad groups. As a result, we have received less traffic but increased conversion rates;
  • There was a big volume of placements which generated low page depth traffic with 0% conversion rate, so we have created script which excluded them on a daily basis;
  • We have been using the method of rotation – “Optimize for conversions” and have been utilizing all possible type of ads to participate in more auctions;
  • We have been constantly working on CPA bids;

Results: During first two weeks we have lowered cost per conversion from $13 to $5 but amounts of traffic were limited so if we wanted to spend more we had to decrease Impression Share lost due to rank. It wasn’t the best strategy because this would lead to higher cost per conversion, so we have decided to test YouTube using both In-Stream and Discovery ads. Next day client called us and asked to increase YouTube budget by 500% because they started to get much more phone calls.

What’s next: We have discovered YouTube after spending 85% of project budget so right now we are preparing a set of questions and plan to massively invest in YouTube Brand Lift campaigns starting from the beginning of December, right now the client is working on new relevant content.