Remarketing 101 – A Step by Step Beginner’s Guide

Remarketing harnesses the power of technology to get your message to indecisive customers again and again, until you almost hypnotically persuade them to take out their credit cards.


It usually follows this pattern – a potential buyer visits a webpage and for whatever reason, exits the website. They then start seeing banner ads of that website in many different places. This focuses on a psychological marketing principle that is simple and effective: familiarity. The user feels as if he has known the brand for a long time, and starts subconsciously trusting the website and becomes comfortable with it.

If this sounds like vague, mildly interesting marketing psychology that seems to be more of a hypothesis than a fact, the numbers tell a different story. Customers using active remarketing report more than 50% increases in revenue, boost conversion rates anywhere between 200-500% and lower their overall CPA as well.

How Does Remarketing Function?

Setting up a remarketing campaign is remarkably non-technical. Sometimes all it requires is simple Javascript inserted into your website’s coding. When a customer lands on your website, a cookie will automatically be dropped on his computer (which essentially records that he visited your website).

Your ad service providers can recognize that cookie and “know” that your visitor had an interest in your website. They can then send targeted ads of your website to them directly. In essence, the ad service providers are “learning” your customer’s preferences.

The main difference between a remarketing campaign and standard banner ads is this:

  • Banner ads have data that tells them about your visitor’s “interest graph” (based on gender, age, interests, etc) – so they can “calculate” what ad to display.
  • Remarketing banners already know what you like! They eliminate guesswork and work with the knowledge about your past habits, making sure they only get ads of the services they are only genuinely interested in.

Remarketing: Typical Trends

Remarketing translates to hard profit numbers for a huge majority of the customers who integrate it with their standard ad campaigns. Perhaps the most famous remarketing success story is of Loews Hotel Group, who made a whopping 7400% profit off their remarketing costs ($60,000 returns on a $800 remarketing campaign). In addition, their revenue increased 10%, and bookings went up 9%.

These trends are repeatable and predictable all around the Internet as remarketing emerges as a powerful tool that makes full use of psychology and technology to increase profit margins for online campaigns.

Why Is Remarketing So Effective?

The reasons why remarketing campaigns are successful are as follows:

  • Seeing the same ads again and again creates familiarity and trust
  • Most people need to see the same information 7-10 times before they make the decision to buy
  • Creates the impression that the company must be a big brand and has tremendous advertising budget
  • Persistence, more than anything else, is the key to successful marketing

Current Remarketing Technologies

As technology adapts and becomes smarter, we can expect remarketing to pop up more and more, wherever we go. Right now, remarketing has been implemented successfully in the following media:

  • Email: Services like Gmail can “read” the content of your message and understand the subject – and display relevant ads on the sidebar. These ads are usually very accurate contextually.
  • Website: The most common form of remarketing, where once an user has visited your website, they are shown ads of your company again and again.
  • Search: Based on keywords and phrases being searched for, contextual ads can be injected to people looking for more information or a solution.
  • Social Media: Very similar to Website Remarketing, you simply see ads of the websites you’ve visited on the sidebars of your favorite social media platforms, like Facebook.

Understanding Your Customers

Not all visitors are created equal – some simply have more buyer intent than others. Here is a common segmentation, ranked in order of buying intent:

  • General Visitors
  • Specific Visitors
  • Shopping Cart Abandoners
  • Buyers

Best Platforms To Setup A Remarketing Campaign

Some companies are simply better at implementing Remarketing Ads and have locked in the “secret” of creating dynamic ads that convert. Here are the top 3:

  • Google
  • Adroll
  • Perfect Audience

Remarketing is a very effective strategy that you should consider looking into if you’re serious about increasing your online presence – but remember to setup and track all the key metrics like CTR, CPC, CPA etc. to make sure your campaign is giving you the best results.

Some people find it “creepy”. But again, remarketing does result in profits when done right, so it’s really a matter of how comfortable you are with it.

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