Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Remarketing - Why Are These Ads Following Me Around The Internet? By Scott Mathias

Why are these ads following me around the Web?

You ever notice the same ads showing up wherever you go on the web? The ads you see during your web browsing experience are generally NOT there randomly. Typically, the ads you see are based upon your established web-browsing history. Sometimes, after visiting a certain website or making an online purchase, you will see their ads “following” you all around the web...generally for 1 to 3 months.  

This is called “Remarketing.” Virtually every website you visit puts a “cookie” on your device. A cookie is a small, harmless snippet of code that helps your device remember pages you have visited, login username and shopping cart details. They are also used to determine what kind of ads to serve you.  

Many online advertisers are remarketing to previous visitors to their websites...unfortunately, all too many are doing this wrong.  

You visit a website, browse a few pages and exit without making a purchase or completing a form. In this case, remarketing can be very effective if executed properly. You went to the website because you were interested in their product or service. Perhaps you are doing some comparison shopping and wish to check out other websites before making a purchase.  

In this case, a remarketing campaign would be effective. Over the next 30-90 days, the advertiser can show you ads on over 2 million websites that serve Google ads. When you arrive at one of these sites, a cookie on your device identifies you as a “member” of a remarketing list. You are then served an ad to “remind” you about that website you visited some time ago. These types of ads can go a long way towards building top-of-mind awareness about your brand or product...but if not properly administered, can leave a bad taste in the mouth of the viewer.

Illustration of the remarketing process. Visitor to website, visitor leaves website, visitor sees your ads on other sites, and finally the visitor returns to your site.

Too many advertisers set up remarketing campaigns and give no consideration to setting a frequency cap. All too often, advertisers inadvertently serve way too many ads to a previous visitor to their website, making the potential customer question their privacy, and simply get sick of seeing the same ad over and over again, everywhere they go on the internet.

Think about the product or service you are selling. How often does your potential customer think about what you are selling? Is it something they need all the time or only once in a while? What is the typical buying cycle for your product or service? Ask yourself these questions and then determine a logical frequency cap for your ads. You can limit the number of ads a potential customer sees on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Further, you can determine how long to serve ads after someone visits your site. Typically, you can choose to remarket ads to your website visitors for 30, 60 or 90 days.    

Smart online advertisers take advantage of Frequency Capping in their campaigns. Otherwise, ad servers like Google, Bing and Yahoo will simply serve as many ads as possible in the hopes of earning that valuable click.  

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