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Tom Bukevicius

How Silos May Be Killing Your Retargeting Results

Tom Bukevicius
How Silos May Be Killing Your Retargeting Results

You know that retargeting works, but not for everyone.

I also suspect that you know that using default retargeting settings will not make your campaigns successful. For the two of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, I am referring to setting your ads to reach the “All Users” audience with a 30-day cookie window and no ad frequency limit.

                   When you go “default,” your ads will feel like an overly attached girlfriend to your buyers.

“Don’t be like her.” Source: Meme Generator

In fact, a recent study reveals that increasing ad frequency changes buyer emotions from positive to creepy, then to intrusive, annoying and finally angry. You get the idea how this shift in buyer emotions can impact your revenue.

“The effects of increased ad frequency.” Source: InSkin Media

One more item, we will not make Google feel special and will refer to AdWords remarketing as retargeting.

Be Useful, Go Granular, But Don’t Get Into the Weeds

Before trying to sell anything, be useful to the buyer first. This will put you ahead of the game.  I learned this idea from Jay Baer’s book Youtility.

This concept works well in retargeting.

Buyers appreciate usefulness too. Close to 80% of US consumers expect brands to personalize their experience. Let’s dig even deeper:

●  58% appreciate a sales alert for the product they show interest in

●  34% appreciate a reminder to buy a product left in the shopping cart

●  33% appreciate a special offer for returning to a brand after a long delay

On top of that, consumers are 4 times more likely to buy if the ads they see are relevant. 

To sum up, you need a retargeting strategy that is useful for your customers and achieves your business objectives.  

                                                                 I call it the “Be Useful” Strategy.

You cannot be useful unless you know:

1.  How buyers use your website

2.  What their pain points are

3.  How to address the pain points

To be useful, you can’t rely on default campaign settings. You need to go granular.

If your campaigns are not granular yet, there are four key areas you should address to get better results from your retargeting campaigns:

1.  Conversion funnel. Home page visitors, product browsers, users with abandoned shopping carts and recent customers are all in different stages of the buying process. Do you have audience set up to reach buyers at each stage?

2.  Recency segments. Buyers don’t want to see the same ad from 7 days ago 180 days from now. Do you have recency-based segments for key stages of your funnel? Example: 1 - 14 days, 15 - 30 days, 30 - 60 days, etc.

3.  Ad creatives. I hope you are not “engaging” visitors with the same offer across the board. Are your ads  useful and addressing the pain points in each stage?

4.  Channels. Which retargeting channels to invest in is important to consider. You have Google AdWords Remarketing, Facebook Audience Network, Twitter Retargeting, etc.

Now here is one problem that can occur when you go granular.

                                                                            It’s easy to get into the weeds.

Especially if you treat each channel as a silo. You grow them individually with new tactics you find online. Until you realize that your retargeting program is a mess.

Useful Campaigns & Silos Don’t Go Together

One event changed how I look at retargeting.

At SCUBE, the marketing agency I founded, we were adopting new retargeting channels as they came out. We started with Google AdWords Remarketing, then AdRoll, then Facebook, etc. We had a process to manage each channel and treated them as silos.

Then, we landed a client with complex account spending over $50,000 per month. The account was messy. Multiple retargeting audiences, no clear campaign structure, and no documentation. Retargeting campaigns across different channels were completely different. There was no unified strategy. It was a silo city. For the first time we saw how silos can work against the overall marketing goal.

Silos photo by Kickize“Silos don’t help your campaigns”. Source: Flickr

The icing on the cake was that the client’s previous agency messed up retargeting tags resulting in a decaying of the retargeting audiences.This frustration forced me to ask an important question:

                                  “Why do we have silos when we are targeting the same customer?”

I started auditing retargeting campaigns with a simple spreadsheet. I mapped each audience to respective tags, then to campaigns and ads. This spreadsheet grew into a document, which later became Retargeting Matrix (more details soon).

We finally had a document with a clear and unified strategy for retargeting. It was essential for the turnaround of the account. Once the strategy was clear, we implemented it and turned around the account.

Enter the World with No Silos and Useful Campaigns

I knew that as we grow, we will need a framework to plan, develop, and scale useful retargeting campaigns and break down the silos.

So I developed one.

                                                                        I call it “Retargeting Matrix”.

It changed the way we handle retargeting in our agency. We use the framework to develop the strategy and the tool to implement it.

The Strategy

Let’s break it down into three pillars:


Pillar 1: Plan

●  Unified strategy. Target the buyer in a unified way across all retargeting channels. Keep strategy and tactics in one place.

●  Segments. Break down the strategy into conversion funnel steps. Each segment is clearly defined with a goal and the actions we expect people to take.

●  Audiences. Focus on one conversion funnel step at a time. Build audiences within each segment.

Pillar 2: Develop

●  Context. Develop context by understanding the pain points of each audience and steps they need to take action. Better context about each user segment helps you create better ads, which lead to better campaigns.

●  Hooks. Create hooks to address the pain points of each audience. Each hook educates, builds trust, promotes or upsells.

●  Creative. Develop ad creative focused specifically for each audience.

Pillar 3: Scale

●  Structure. Develop audience structure that moves users from one segment to another based on their behavior.

●  Channels. Reuse the strategy and tactics of existing channel segments to launch new channels.

●  Workflow. Leverage other team members by clearly communicating the workflow across the team.

The Implementation

I also developed a tool to help implement the framework. The tool captures the outcome of all three pillars.

To illustrate the concept, here is what the Browsers segment looks like in our tool:

●  Customers browsing only product pages on the site, except the checkout area

●  Retargeting channel: Google AdWords Retargeting

●  Campaign duration: 180 days

●  Objective: drive people to the checkout area or account creation


Once implemented, here is how it looks on Google AdWords interface:


Where Do We Go from Here?

Hopefully, by this time you have a different perspective on how to approach retargeting. The world is becoming more complex and as marketers we have to think strategically, while not forgetting the tactics. I found that stepping back and stepping into the buyer's shoes and finding ways to make their life easier put our campaigns ahead of the game.

If you would like to learn more about Retargeting Matrix and learn how to implement it in your business, join our webinar on June 29th. Here is what you can expect:

●  How to apply Retargeting Matrix into every stage of your funnel

●  5 steps to setup Retargeting Matrix (advanced users)

●  Examples of the segments you can use and how to target each segment

●  Why discounting may not be the way to go (and what to do about it)

●  Rarely used ways to increase your customer value

●  Questions and answers

Tom is a founder of SCUBE Marketing – a digital marketing agency that specializes in PPC and CRO. With his extensive experience in finance, strategy, and digital marketing, he is known for improving campaigns’ profitability. His marketing motto: “It’s not a rocket science. Everything can be done with a clear strategy and good process”.

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