More than two years ago, I wrote a post on PPC Remarketing: What Not To Do. It was one of the most-commented posts on this blog, with differing opinions on what makes sense.
Two years later, advertisers are still doing remarketing wrong. Now, I get that it’s still a somewhat new-ish concept, and not everyone is doing advanced remarketing yet. And that’s ok – we all have to start somewhere. But when I see basic mistakes being made by large companies, it makes me cringe.
Here’s the example I saw today that prompted this:
This was at the very top of the page, above a news article I was reading. The good news? It’s a huge banner – you can’t miss it. How did I know it was a remarketing ad?
Because I’ve already booked a stay here.
Next week, I’m speaking at a client convention in Los Angeles. I booked my hotel over a month ago. Earlier this week, I dug out the reservation confirmation email, and clicked through a link to prepare for my stay. And now I’m being bombarded by ads asking me to book this hotel in LA! How many stays do they think I’m going to be booking?
Clearly, this is how not to do PPC remarketing. Don’t target people who clicked through a reservation confirmation email and ask them to book!
Of course, as I’m known to do, I posted a comment on #ppcchat. I loved the responses I got:
I agree with Julie – I’d love to see the stats on how many remarketing ads just run without any parameters or audiences. I can see serving ads for a perk, as Julie suggests, such as a rewards signup. Or a dining offer at one of the hotel restaurants. Or 25% off a massage in the spa. Or whatever – the point is, remarketing would be highly effective to the already-converted audience as an upsell. It’s not at all effective to ask those who’ve already booked a room to book a room.
It’s so simple to set up an exclusion for people who converted. As mentioned earlier, the hotel could set up a PPC remarketing audience of users who visited the site from a confirmation email referral. Failing that, they could exclude everyone who viewed the reservation confirmation page.
There are exceptions, though, as Steve Seeley pointed out:
Fair enough – and I agree, some agencies and/or advertisers don’t link their AdWords and Google Analytics accounts. I get that there are reasons why this happens. But if you can’t do remarketing correctly, you shouldn’t be doing it!
We then got into interesting use cases for PPC:
I’ve seen similar situations to the one Jason describes: getting remarketed with ads for a product I just bought. Again, it’s not hard, as Richard Fergie suggests, to drop a long cookie and delay showing ads until you’re likely to be ready to repurchase. Tires do wear out, as do clothes and shoes; food gets consumed; etc. Learn your buying cycle or buyer journey and show ads at the appropriate time. Yes, it takes some research and some time to set up, but this is really what remarketing is designed for – not harassing people with irrelevant ads, but showing them ads that are useful.
I love the conversations we have on #ppcchat. I always learn something and get great ideas. Just as I was smiling from all the cool interaction, I got this:
Have you seen any what-not-to-do remarketing ads lately? Got any tips for the right way to do PPC remarketing? Share in the comments!