Behavioral Remarketing: Bring The Right Ones Back In

Interana Blog StaffJune 14, 2017

The long-term vision of big data analytics is not a massive warehouse filled with all the world's data. It's a world where you can use data to continuously set up new experiments, learn from your customers, and iterate through answers to your most pressing questions. One of the most important, pressing questions that entrepreneurs ask is, “What's the best way to get people to convert?”

Remarketing is a great answer to that question. Behavioral remarketing identifies those interested in your product and helps nudge them towards a decision to buy. It's a process that really benefits from being partnered with data and analytic efforts. Understanding who is most likely to convert and why upgrades your remarketing from targeting-as-guesswork to an actual, segmented campaign.

The basics of remarketing

Remarketing is targeting advertising material at people who have already started to engage with your brand. Generally, the aim is to find interested people who haven't yet converted and encourage them to make that conversion.

One of the most common examples — and something that you've likely experienced as a consumer — is retargeting ads on social websites like Twitter or Facebook. If you browse an online store for patio furniture, and then see that store's ads for patio furniture popping up on your newsfeed, then you've been retargeted to.

Generally, this approach works because you're narrowing down your advertising to those you already know are interested. By staying on their mind and perhaps offering a discount or two, you can get a better return on your ad money than if you advertise to a group of random people, even if you segment well.

Creating a campaign: remarketing 101

The basics of remarketing are pretty simple, and it's fairly easy to use tools like Google Analytics/AdWords and Facebook advertising to create campaigns. Let's look at the basics of what creating a traditional retargeting campaign would look like. For simplicity, we'll stick with the example of an online furniture retailer.

1. Identify which recent visitors you should remarket to. There are going to be people who visit your website that aren't good targets for remarketing. Those who quickly bounce off your homepage, for example, are likely not interested in your product. Separate recent visitors into rough categories based on your last 30 days, such as: obviously uninterested parties, browsers, and recent purchasers.

2. Split your remarketing targets into more specific segments. Once you've identified the browsers and recent purchasers, split those further to create more specific segments. For example, of browsers, you could split to people who browsed outdoor furniture and people who browsed outdoor cooking equipment. Of purchasers, you might want to start your split by product to avoid marketing items that someone has already bought.

3. Craft a remarketing strategy for your segments. The ads you show people should speak to their segment, like showing grills to the outdoor cooking folks. One part of this is timing — you don't want to bombard people with so many ads they start to ignore them or become annoyed. Creating several different ads that appear over the course of a couple weeks or a month is standard practice. To encourage purchase, a common tactic in remarketing is to offer discounts in your second or third ad.

4. Assess your strategy and tweak your segments and strategies. No good campaign is complete without an evaluation to see how it worked, and that includes remarketing. Looking at campaign results helps create better iterations on your marketing efforts.

This basic remarketing campaign can be made using a variety of standard tools, like Google Analytics or Facebook's ad center. You might start by looking at Google Analytics to find users who browsed around your website, and see which different pages of your website people visited the most often. Then, you can take this information and use it to set up your campaign in whatever ad software you use.

Your website host may even have presets to help you create ad campaigns, and those can be used for retargeting as well. For example, Google Analytics can integrate with AdWords to help your remarketing (unsurprisingly).

But other platforms often have presets or extensions that will allow you to remarket with the platform of your choice. Here, AdEspresso, a leading Facebook ad platform, shows that it's easy to segment Facebook ads using website information from WordPress through a plugin:

You can pre-fill data, and choose your time frame to start your segmenting. Then, you can narrow down by pages viewed.

This allows you to build a basic remarketing campaign based off of your website. It's relatively fast and easy to set up, and the ads are slightly narrowed down, which helps your dollar stretch further.

But basic remarketing is really just the start of what's possible. Although looking at page views and visitor paths in Goole Analytics is a start, to really connect with your customers you need to turn to your behavioral analytics.

Upgrading your remarketing

When you bring behavioral analytics into your remarketing, you can learn about how your targeting is working and adapt based on the most up to date data you have.

Behavioral analytics gets to the heart of what customers are doing — how they get to purchase, what features they like, etc. Frequently, it's used as a way to improve product, but it can be just as powerful a tool when applied to advertising.

To make the most effective ads possible, you want to tap into what your customers actually want and what they'll actually do. With retargeting, you have the perfect opportunity to combine ads with analytics, because those you retarget have already started their customer journey. You can see how they're behaving and how similar customers behaved in the past, and continually refine your effort based on what you learn from your actual customers.

Remarketing better with behavioral insights

Better data insights means you can create even more pointed campaigns. Instead of settling for a broad segment that doesn't see high engagement or conversion, and therefore wastes your advertising resources, slice and dice your users down to even more specific traits.

Let's look at how this might shape up if, for example, you were interested in remarketing to upsell your users to pro accounts on your music app.

1. Identify who converts to pro accounts, and what path they take. Look at your existing users and dig into your conversions and funnels. What actions do people take before conversion? Making playlists? Following artists? Are those actions missing from those that don't convert? Are users with a certain number of events more likely to convert? Use questions like these to identify the paths that your paying users took to get where they are.

2. Identify people who haven't converted, but are candidates for conversion. Just like you'd advertise patio furniture to people who browsed that section of your website, you should target those who show signs that they're on the path to upsell. Maybe they're approaching a certain number of songs played or they have just connected a second device — whatever is an indication that they're following a path to upsell.

3. Pull a list of those users into your ad platform to target your remarketing. When you have powerful analytics platform like Interana, you can continuously pull a list of appropriate users into your marketing efforts. This will help you pinpoint the people who are most likely to be profitable based on your available data.

4. Track your results and iterate. When your results from your remarketing come in, you can use those to refine your ads and your ideas about who is ready to convert. As you refine your understanding of who is most likely to purchase, upsell, etc. through your analytics, you can continue to revise and refine your remarketing — a valuable feedback loop.

Structuring your remarketing this way eliminates the guesswork that makes traditional remarketing less effective than it could be. You're learning more about your customers and product, and using your resources more efficiently at the same time.

Helping your data help you

Simply collecting and saving all of the data your business produces is pointless — there's too much. Real value comes out of discovering insights, through continuously refining your own questions and assumptions.

In the case of remarketing, the broad and ineffective strokes of the traditional approach can be improved by incorporating insights from data. With any remarketing campaign, you can pinpoint the questions that are important to answer and make an immediate impact with their answers.

When data is added to remarketing, customers are more likely to be receptive to your ads because you're actually helping them instead of just hoping they'll decide to purchase and bombarding them in the meantime.

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