Dynamic Remarketing for Retail Advertisers

Foto Simon Bertschinger @ Webrepublic AG)

Simon Bertschinger

Re-targeting your audience with remarketing campaigns should be a no brainer for retailers. Now, with Google's announcement of their new re-targeting version called «Dynamic Remarketing», Google has catapulted remarketing to the next level. It is now a «must-have-feature» for all E-Commerce websites. 

Dynamic Remarketing for Retail Advertisers

With this new remarketing tool, it is now possible to automatically create highly relevant ads that target specific segments of your audience, which, for example, have visited your website before, or have bought something from your site in the past.

The old way

Having a Google Merchant Account is crucial for all e-commerce websites these days. This, as not every potential customer purchases something when visiting your site for the first time. Thus, remarketing has become very important as a way of readdressing these customers. If you don’t want to lose your customers after their first contact with your webpage, you are now able to influence them later in their decision finding processes by maintaining a close connection with them through the retargeting possibilities in the Google display network (GDN).

However, targeting each single visitor of your site with one generic ad does not correspond with the goals of  remarketing campaigns to specifically readdress potential customers after they left your site. At the very least, you should segment your visitors into different clusters, such as single visitors, returning visitors or visitors who have abandoned their shopping cart for for example. If you have already gotten this far with your own remarketing campaigns – well done!

But there are still further hurdles to overcome: What if your shop offers over 10’000 products? There is no way to manually create hundreds of audience clusters plus a unique image ad for every single product they could be interested in!

Dynamic Remarketing changes it all

Dynamic remarketing now can automatically adapt to your actual ad-layout and the product shown. Based on this information, the tool then creates a relevant ad-text according to consumers interests – all based on their past behavior on your website. If, for example, a visitor of a hiking gear online-shop has checked out the 3 Seasons tent collection from Hilleberg, he will most likely be targeted with highly relevant ads about the new "Anjan GT Tent" in Google’s Display Network (GDN). The optimal fit between product, layout and cost-per-click will be recalculated for each new impression of each user in the GDN.

Four options to choose

Before using dynamic remarketing, there are a few things that should be considered. First of all, you need to have a Google Merchant Center Account. Second, dynamic remarketing is currently only available for retail clients – but there are already various pilot projects underway for the travel and education sectors and we expect Google to expand the service to other sectors soon. Third, you should familiarize yourself with the whole campaign set-up procedure, as it can be quite challenging for non-professional marketers – although Google claims to provide an intuitive set-up process. If you need set-up assistance, we recommend you contact Google directly or just give us a call - we would be happy to help you out!

Right now, Google gives you four options when segmenting your target audience:

  • General visitors: This targeting option targets all users that have visited your site, but did not buy anything, and also did not view any specific product pages. Because of this relatively wide targeting method, Google will provide your targeted users with images containing the most popular items from your site.
  • Product viewers: This option will target users who have looked at a specific product or item, but didn’t put it in their shopping cart. In the GDN the user will then be shown the product they viewed before, along with further products that other visitors viewed when also viewing the same product in question.
  • Shopping cart abandoners: Sometimes people decide not to buy what they have put into their shopping cart. For this reason, this group of “abandoners” will see ads that feature all the items they had in their shopping cart, along with further related and recommended products.
  • Past buyers: This option is quite similar to what Amazon already does today with their remarketing: Someone who already bought a product on your website will be shown popular products, as well as items that have commonly been purchased with the item that previously was bought.

With the remarketing tag dynamic remarketing lets you segment your audience very precisely by letting you define and implement custom parameter values when building your remarketing lists. The tags collect user details such as product ID, visited pages and items, visit date, and also details regarding the online device used. As of October 2012, Google also provides the Tag Manager, which easily lets you include all these tags into one tag manager.

Build an ad in minutes

Although Google’s Display Ad Builder (the actual tool that creates your image ads) still has some room for improvement, it lets you build an ad in minutes. Dynamic remarketing lets you create smart dynamic ads from components that already exist in your Merchant Center and it connects customized ads with your consumer’s past shopping experiences on your site – and all of this without a professional art director. While text ads will be automatically created as a part of the campaign setup, image ads just require an upload of your logo. The various prebuilt templates will do the rest. For even more customized ads, you can adjust the colors, fonts and layout of any dynamic creative template to reflect the style elements of your brand, or even adapt the color-scheme of the website in question. If you are looking for further information, visit Google Think Insights.

However, the data quality of your feed in the Merchant Center is crucial to creating meaningful ads! You will need a flawless data structure as the automatic integration of your product descriptions, product ID and further information into the ad relies on the information gathered from the feed. Only with a clean feed from your side can Google guarantee immaculate ads. Therefore, a well-structured feed with reliable product information is essential to reducing your operating expenses and to fully benefit from the automation of this tool-feature.

Is it worth it?

Along with their product release, Google has published various cases studies from their beta-testing partners (Sierra Trading Post, Campmore). Furthermore, Susan Waldes (Director of Client Services, PPC Associates) acknowledged at the SMX Advanced sessions in Seattle (Pro-level tips to succeed at retargeting) that dynamic remarketing is definitely a MUST HAVE for every e-commerce website, including the merchant center feed and remarketing tags. She presented her own case study where users had viewed a product page less than a week ago. She saw a 40% increase of the click-through-rate (CTR) and 112% increase of the page conversion rate (CR) when compared with regular GDN remarketing. Account Managers at the Webrepublic have seen similar results. We have been using dynamic remarketing since the beta launch in 2012 and can fully confirm its benefits: significantly higher conversion rates and increased cost efficiency when compared to traditional remarketing campaigns.

This tool can also be used as a type of "newsletter within the GDN" for very specific target audiences, spread automatically in the display network. For example, if you sell day lenses, with Dynamic Remarketing you are now able to automatically target customers who bought a 30-day package 27-33 days after their last purchase. With a highly relevant discount offer for the next purchase, a free shipping offer or some additional accessories for the preferred product – visible all over Google’s Display Network – you will definitely have an impact on your consumers purchase decision journey.

Finally, dynamic remarketing allows you to target smartly while keeping your website updates to a minimum. And beyond that, it enables you to create new strategies to optimize your bids concerning more valuable users, and to manage your marketing budgets more efficiently.