So, What’s the Catch?
There are two points to consider before taking the time to launch a remarketing campaign. The more people visiting your website, the greater return rate and volume. In most cases, I contend it's only worth your while if you have at least 1,000 website visitors per month. First, check your Google Analytics to see if you hit this number (you are running Analytics, right?). Second, you'll have to make some easy changes to the code on your website. If you don’t manage your own site, get your webmaster to handle this.
Making It Go
Okay, so you have at least 1,000 visitors per month to your company’s website, and your Web developer is not whining about a basic code change. This is great news, because you are already 70 percent done.
Log into your Google AdWords account and find the “Audiences” tab. (Note: This tab keeps moving as Google updates the application, but it’s currently under the “Shared Library” tab on the left-hand sidebar.) Click “Audiences” to land on a new screen, where you can click the “New Audience” button. From there, click “Remarketing List,” and then “Define a list of site visitors." (Yes, I know, Google doesn’t make this as easy as it could be. Don’t get mad at me; just be happy that your competitors are too lazy to stick with this.)
From there, select “New Tag” and give it a name like “Entire Website,” if you plan to put one tag on your whole site, which I recommend. Save that, and you should see a screen with some code. Just give this to your Web developer, or if you are your Web developer, place the code before the </body> tag for each page on your site. If you don’t know what this means, your Web guy does.
Whew ... Still with me? I know it's a pain the first time.
So now that you've tagged your site, all that’s left is to create the campaign that will use this data. This is different than your other AdWords campaigns, as those are based on keywords. This is based on a tag of “audiences,” which you earlier defined as all of the people who visit your site. Once the new code is placed on your site, log in to AdWords and create a new campaign. Select a “Display Network” campaign, and you will have the option to choose “Remarketing.” From there, just follow the prompts to complete setup.
Optimizing for the Best Results
Given that the campaign is already targeting people who visited your site, you can rest assured your audience is highly qualified. Optimization will focus on writing good ad copy or creating new banner ads. The core goal is to remind people about the benefits of your location, the benefits of making a reservation, and how you differ from your competitors.
If you lock this down, you can expect a couple of extra bookings each month with very little maintenance on your part. Remarketing can take a little bit of effort to set up, but given that it’s usually one of the lowest cost-per-acquisition forms of marketing, I feel it is well worth the effort to configure.
Craig Barrett, director of search marketing for SpareFoot.com, has created pay-per-click marketing campaigns for a variety of companies, from big companies that spend millions of dollars a month to smaller ones with minimal budgets. Craig also has a fundamentally sound grasp of most digital-marketing activities. Follow him on Twitter: @craigabarrett.