Just a couple months ago Google announced their Retargeting platform moving into the general AdWords advertising arena. That is, it’s now in a Beta stage, like all of Google’s products  :-) This marks a new level of behavioral targeting and flexibility offered by Google.  They are starting to dip a Google-size toe into the waters prowled by the likes of Fetchback, Retargeter, and Criteo.

multi-arrow-targetBut before hopping too far ahead of myself it’s probably best to cover the “what” and “why” of Remarketing, also called “retargeting” and “behavioral remarketing.” This online marketing tactic continues the longstanding marketing adage that “it takes X touches on a person to get them to remember you.”  As in, it’s been researched and found that somewhere around 6-7 connections you can make with your potential customers greatly increases the likelihood they will have you at top-of-mind, and therefore take a favorable (buying) action towards you.  It’s the basic concept behind branding campaigns:  make your brand strong and recognizable, and then keep it in front of everyone as much as possible by whatever means you can.

The Bunny

So, in the case of retargeting, when a customer visits your website and does not perform your desired action, you will continue to show them ads even after they’ve left your site.  Not just any ads but ads that relate to their initial interests or behavior.  “But how?! How does this crazy technology work?!” Bewildered looking Blue Bunny

Is it fueled by little blue ad bunnies hopping behind a site visitor in an effort to get noticed?  Kinda.  When this phantom customer first lands on your website a persistent cookie (blue bunny) attaches itself to their browser and follows them (hops) through the path of your site.  When this visitor leaves your beloved website and begins reading blogs, news sites, help forums, etc, your cookie (bunny) will alert the ad networks to show your specific ad to this potential customer wherever contextual ad space is available and opted into the given remarketing network.

Good bunny.

Within the Google ecosystem your retargeted ads will appear on websites opted into the Content Network.  So, as a an example, a kindly Soccer Mom takes a minute to peruse Crate & Barrell’s fabulous best selling dinnerware collection but doesn’t purchase.  She leaves to go read about the latest oil catastrophe’s affect on those poor fishies, then checks her gmail account to find the latest soccer schedule.  In both locations Crate & Barrell’s ads are appearing and hopefully garnering her attention again.  And again.  And again.  The blue bunny is getting tired.

Eventually one of their strategically placed ads works!  Soccer Mom returns to Crate & Barrell, remembering the sleek design and the perfectly-matches-my-kitchen-decor plates, and purchases a set. Holy hopping Halleluja!  Bunny, go rest now.Soccer-Moms

See how that worked?  Now, where the “behavioral” part of the platform comes into play derives from what the potential shopper does on your site.  Did Soccer Mom check out bed pillows, patio furniture, and dinnerware?  Did she put several office chairs into the cart and then abandon the site altogether?  Is she someone who visited before and did purchase a few products?  What can we learn from these clues, and how can we better target our remarketing efforts accordingly?

Have you been working with any Retargeting Networks or providers?  Have you tried out the new platform Google’s rolled out?  Thoughts, advice, dislikes?

In a few days, I’ll have another post up about the “how to” of creating a Retargeting Campaign in the Google AdWords interface.  See you then.  The blue bunny misses you already.Retar