The Pros and Cons of PPC Remarketing

If you’re hip to the PPC marketing game, you’ve probably heard a lot about remarketing lately. It’s another PPC gimmick provided by Google and some third-party ad providers that lets you target display ads to people who have previously engaged with your website in some way (i.e. checking out but abandoning their cart, viewing a specific product page, etc.). But is remarketing right for your account? I have mixed feelings about it myself, so I put together a short list of remarketing pros and cons.

Remarketing Pros

1. It helps you convert a customer you might have lost.

The most effective remarketing campaigns take a user that very nearly converted and give them the extra push to come back to your website. For example, you could set up a remarketing campaign that targets users who abandoned their shopping cart and shows them an ad for 10% off your store with a special promo code. That extra discount may give the reluctant purchaser a little boost, and make them come back and complete the conversion. It’s much better for you to get 90% of the sale value instead of 0%, so if your profit margins can handle it remarketing could bring in a lot of lost revenue.

2. It’s more effective than traditional display advertising.

With traditional display ads, you have a few good targeting options available. You can target by keyword interest, specific websites, or demographic data. But remarketing ads offer an even more focused targeting method: people who have already engaged with your website. You know that they’re already interested in what you have to offer, so it’s only a matter of giving them that extra push to go from a browsing customer to a converting one. Remarketing ads can be that push.

Remarketing Cons

1. You might pay twice to acquire the same customer.

The flipside of remarketing is that you’ll never know if the person you’re targeting was going to come back to your website and convert anyway. For a lot of websites, the conversion process may take days, weeks, or even months. Many customers like to think about a purchase before making it. So your remarketing ads may not have any additive effect on your conversion process. If a highly-interested customer clicks on your PPC ad, thinks over their purchase, then clicks on a remarketing ad to return to your site, you just paid for two clicks when one would have sufficed. This could run up your cost per acquisition across campaigns.

2. It’s kinda creepy.

Let’s face it: the average consumer isn’t as big a fan of privacy-invading advertising schemes as us marketers. Just take a look at the recent backlash against Google’s “Search Plus Your World” rollout. Customers get kind of freaked out when their searches and ads get too personal. Extensive remarketing could make potential customers think ill of your brand, and cost you conversions from every marketing channel. If you’re going to try remarketing, be sure to do it in moderation.

So should you try remarketing for your account? It depends. Some accounts will benefit greatly, while others will just waste money. Consider the pros and cons listed above, and think if your customers would appreciate the gentle reminder that remarketing offers. And when in doubt, do like we always do: test it out, measure your results, and calculate the difference to see if it worked.

About Shawn Livengood

Shawn Livengood is a search engine marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He has extensive experience managing pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients in various industries, from small home-based businesses to large international companies. You can connect with Shawn on Google+.
This entry was posted in Display Network, Google AdWords, Image Ads, Remarketing, Search Engines, Text Ads. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Pros and Cons of PPC Remarketing

  1. Jay says:

    Creepy it is! I cookie myself on remarketing campaigns to see the ads working well…. and man they follow me EVERYWHERE! Love it from a marketing standpoint.

  2. Pavlicko says:

    Unless advertisers learn to properly adjust the ‘frequency’ of the retargeted ad, they shouldn’t use them. Not only does it turn into a complete stalking situation, there is no easy way to opt out of just that ad.

    I’ve been stalked by an ad for almost a year now and I wound up contacting the business to tell them how creeped out I was getting so they could notify their advertiser to chill out. That was 2 months ago, and I still see that freaking ad. Arrrggghhh