June 12, 2018

6 Key Tips to Make the Most of Remarketing

Remarketing is that sometimes amazing, sometimes annoying, always present advertising we get in the modern world from websites we have recently visited.
As remarketing is now possible on multiple networks I won’t focus on the specific channels that use it, but rather talk from a holistic viewpoint.
Just remember dear reader that anything I talk about here can be done on Google Display, Google Search, Google Shopping, Facebook, and YouTube.

1: Member Duration

In terms of remarketing a ‘member’ is someone who has been to the site and is still on one of the remarketing lists. This means they can be shown an advert if we ad advertisers choose too.

Different platforms allow for different duration lengths but most run to about a year and a half. In most cases, advertisers run a simple 30-day window but sometimes it makes more sense to have shorter or longer window. Picking the right duration is key to making your targeting and your campaign relevant.

You might use a short window (24 – 48 hours) for a high-intensity campaign focusing on a product where the ‘window of interest’ is quite limited. For example, if your campaign was based on people who had found your site via the keyword like “emergency plumber Sydney” it makes sense that you would only advertise for a short period. After all, if they haven’t fixed it within the day or so the house might not even be there anymore!

Alternatively, you might run a longer remarketing window to the same person but this time show them a message about ‘Plaster and water damage repair Sydney.’ After all, we know with a high degree of certainty that this member may have the need for this service.

There is no right and no wrong answer, there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to remarketing list duration. It is down to you as the account manager. Just try to remember to make it relevant to the aim of the campaign.


2: Frequency Capping

Frequency capping means capping the frequency with which your audience members see or are exposed to your ad.

I’m sure we all have a few personal examples of how a brand became annoying by repeatedly hammering home the same ad over and over again without considering the damage this might be doing to their brand.

Annoying your audience in this way serves only to drive people away. Think of it this way: If they didn’t click it the first five times you showed it to them do you really think they will click it a sixth, seventh or eighth time? If it’s a no, set the impression cap to five a day and move on!


3: Dropped baskets

Dropped baskets represent one of the main opportunities for remarketing. This means creating an audience specifically just for the people who went to your site, added product to their basket, but then for whatever reason decided not to purchase. These people are already halfway down the sales funnel!

I know from personal experience and from occasional use of my wife’s laptop that the large online fast fashion houses use this approach to close their sales.

To use a real-life monthly scenario that actually happens imagine my wife (she’s called Nadine) sitting at work pretending to work but secretly shopping. She fills the cart right up on 3 or 4 different websites just waiting for payday. This is the modern equivalent of window shopping.

The different websites she has used and dropped baskets on now have the opportunity to compete with each other to close that sale. This might be by offering a free gift with purchase, it might be by offering a discount code just for her, or it could be something as simple (yet effective) as offering free returns and delivery.

By targeting those that have dropped baskets advertisers will often see a higher conversion rate than from other remarketing channels. It makes perfect sense!

4: Repeat visitors

Often when considering a purchase, consumers shop around and visit a site over and over. Consumers do their due diligence! This tends (although not always) to be more and more true the more expensive a product is.

By creating lists of repeat visitors, we are able to segment by the people who have visited only once, and the people who have been to the site five times in one week. Take a specific message to these people about how this offer won’t last and advertisers can see a rush in sales.


5: Product Set By Product Set

One of the worst examples of remarketing madness this advertiser ever saw was committed by one of the largest brands in Australia and department stores in Sydney.

After receiving millions of site visitors every week to all different sections of their site the campaign in place was set to show one single message to all site visitors! Madness!

This site had people looking for everything from vacuum cleaners to computer repair, TVs to Kitchen equipment – and everyone was seeing an advert for computer printer!

Once we had segmented the audience out into specific categories we were able to show them different offer messages. Those who had looked at vacuums saw a discount on vacuums, those who had looked at fridges say free delivery on fridges.

Specific messages for specific product ranges is a winning strategy.


6: Remarketing to Current Customers

This one might seem counter-intuitive but for some industries, this can be one of the most effective strategies. In industries where repeat orders are a large slice of the pie, remarketing to existing customers or people who have purchased twice in six months (for example) is an amazingly powerful way to communicate sales messages.

If you have 10,000 customers who recently bought a winter coat, following up with an offer on hats and gloves is a straight up genius play.

Pushing related products to existing customers helps grow brand loyalty and re-affirms the relationship with the audience.

Remarketing to existing customers can also be used to proactively combat brand-awareness-attrition. If a large Telco used remarketing cleverly they could make sure they appear every time their existing customers searched for the competition. This clever strategy would then provide the Telco with one last opportunity to retain the customer.



Remarketing is not a cure for all ills but when used properly it can be the diamond in the rough.

At its worst, it is an annoying, repetitive drain on resources that damages your brand and loses you customers. But at its best, it’s an amazingly powerful tool used by world-beating giants for a multitude of reasons.

All advertisers should have this tool in play at all times to some degree or another. If you would like to know more please feel free to contact the author directly.


Gary Devine

Head of Search

I’ve worked in Advertising & Digital since I graduated from university in 2010. I spent 2 and half years working for Google in the UK where I fell in love with digital and creative work. I now run a great team here in Sydney doing great work.

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