What is remarketing in digital marketing and why should I use it?

Written by
Nick Burrage

Remarketing is a great tool because it is very much in tune with human nature. It’s very rare for me and, I suspect, you to learn about a product or service and then simply buy it straightaway! Nope, I like to learn about something, then perhaps do a bit more research and then think about it for a while.

There’s a strong chance that I might forget about this product or service, of course and that is where remarketing in digital marketing is so powerful. It keeps the product or service top of mind while I’m in my consideration phase.

An Introduction to remarketing in digital marketing

Remarketing in digital marketing is used to show people who have already engaged with your website reminders of your product or service to keep you top of mind.

A quick story to illustrate the power of remarketing in digital marketing 

Nick is shopping for a new electric mountain bike. He first Googles to find some options. This initial search yields two brands he likes the look of : Tazer and Marin. He realises that such a purchase is quite a big one so he’ll need to discuss it with his wife. He closes his laptop.

Later that day he opens his tablet to read the news and there, among the articles is an advert for Tazer eMTbs. Two days later he is on Facebook and sees an ad for Tazer eMTBs and notices that they have a special offer.

This was all he needed to be able to pluck up the courage to tell his wife he wanted to buy a bike. 

Taser have used remarketing to capture my sale

Who can you remarket to?

Anyone who has done one of these:

  • Visited your website
  • Clicked on one of your ads
  • Searched for you
  • Followed you on social media
  • Subscribed to your email newsletter list

How does remarketing in digital marketing work?

You’ve probably heard of ‘cookies’ - well remarketing is something that relies on these small ‘tags’ that you pick up as you browse the internet. ( They may also be called a ‘pixel’ by some platforms).

While there have been some changes to cookies lately, Google and others will still very much be in the business of letting you track your site visitors as they go off about their business.

So in simple terms: once a person interacts with your brand in one of the ways listed above they (or more accurately, their device) will be tagged and that will allow you to serve them ads based on their interest in your business.

A Remarketing Ad from Raging Bull Biltong that appeared on my daily paper today:

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Example: Sports Shoe Website - abandoned cart strategy

Nick’sSportShoes.com has placed a tag on your browser because you spent a few minutes looking at various Reebok shoes on their site. You even added a pair of shoes to your cart but you never checked out. This allows the website to know precisely which pair most interested you. Using remarketing in digital marketing they can then spend the next few days or weeks showing you those shoes again. Reading your paper, you’ll see those shoes, chacking facebook, you might see them again and so forth.

Remarketing in digital marketing is powerful because it targets people who are, by definition, your warmest prospects

Video remarketing

With people spending 80% of their time online watching video (and much of it on Youtube which is a Google platform), it is no surprise that there is much success to be had running remarketing in digital marketing campaigns on these platforms

Remarketing on video can be done using simple display ads:

remarketing in digital marketing using a display ad
remarketing in digital marketing using a display ad

Or it can be done using video ads

remarketing in digital marketing done using a pre-roll video ad
remarketing in digital marketing done using a pre-roll video ad

List based remarketing

If you have a mailing list then you can target people on that list by loading their email addresses into Google or Facebook. In each case the platform will target people who have an account attached to that email address and you can even use it to model a larger audience by asking the platform to create a wider group based on the demographics of your current list. This is still a form of remarketing in digital marketing.

Grammarly run brilliant remarketing in digital marketing campaigns 

Using a many video ads Grammarly harness the power of remarketing really well

A remarketing in digital marketing ad from Grammarly
A remarketing in digital marketing ad from Grammarly

Tips for success in remarketing in digital marketing

Segment your audience

If you own a DIY supplies website then someone browsing cement and bricks for a build project is not the same as someone browsing taps to finish their bathroom. It would be impossible to create an ad to appeal to both. So be sure to keep your lists as specific as possible to people’s expressed interest. This is a huge part of getting remarketing in digital marketing correct.

Build your brand

While remarketing is a powerful conversion tool it must also build your brand: even if you don;t make that sale right now you definitely want people to start to remember and recognise your business. This is down to great ad design, use of consistent colour, graphics, tone of voice and logo.

Use responsive ads

Remarketing in digital marketing will work best if that ads you display look great on all devices. Given that you ad may be served on a video on a desktop or squeezed right down into a small part of a screen in a mobile app, you must ensure the design works perfectly on all these devices - quite a challenge!

Don’t forget your buyers

Remarketing isn’t just for abandoned carts or other ‘near misses’ - it can work really well for people who have already purchased - even people who are currently working with your service. They may need just a nudge to buy again or add to their business with you.

Nudge but don’t irritate 

Remarketing ads can be annoying if someone sees them too much. Use a frequency cap to make sure that your ads stay well within the ‘useful nudge’ zone rather than being just plain irritating!

Equally do plenty of research into finding out which times of day are most profitable.

Set a Spend limit

As with all campaigns in digital marketing, careful budget control and constant optimisation are key for remarketing in digital marketing. They are not a ‘set and forget’ piece of marketing equipment. To run your campaigns well requires many hours of focussed time spent observing and correcting.

Add our expertise to your team today

As a fully Google certified team, our work is regularly checked by Google and so we can safely say that we have all the skills to make a huge success of your remarketing in digital marketing campaigns. Like all good things, it starts with a conversation where we work out what’s needed and if we might be a good fit.

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