By Alan Coleman on 4 Oct 2015
Alan reveals some clever ways you can use the latest innovations from Google AdWords and Google Analytics to create 'elegant' remarketing lists for search ads (RLSAs) and remarketing campaigns.
Welcome to the Wolfgang Blog, Alan here. I’m really excited to talk to you today about some recent and really important innovations to targeting within Google AdWords. So before we talk about the innovations themselves, we need to talk about the Elegant Conversationalist.
The Elegant Conversationalist
The Elegant Conversationalist might look a lot like these people. The Elegant Conversationalist is a very good listener. More than just being interesting, the Elegant Conversationalist is interested. Another important trait of the Elegant Conversationalist is that they are very skilled at allowing a conversation to mature based on mutual interests. And the third and final characteristic of the Elegant Conversationalist is that they’ve a wonderful memory for detail. So you might meet them at another time, in another place and the conversation can pick up exactly where it left off and move on from there.
So, let’s park the Elegant Conversationalist for a minute; we'll come back to it later on.
I had the pleasure of going to MozCon in Seattle in July (if you are looking to go to an American digital marketing conference I’d highly recommend it) and one of the best and most interesting, exciting talks I got to was by a gentleman called Marty Weintraub. One of the statements that Marty made during that talk was that
“Audiences are valuable brand assets”
Now, this set my mind on fire, first of all because this means we're taking our paid media and generating an owned media asset from that and also because of some of the innovations that had just really recently come out, I felt there were much more ways we could apply this.
When we talk about ‘audiences’ we’re often talking about remarketing. Now a lot of people are probably overfamiliar with remarketing these days. We’ve all suffered at the hands of repetitious, almost aggressive marketing that probably follows us along for way too long.
But based on a recent sequence of AdWords and Analytics innovations, there’s now an opportunity for us to be much more ‘elegant remarketers’.
So, let’s talk about those innovations.
Google AdWords and Analytics Remarketing Innovations 2015
The 25th of June 2015 is the day, for me, that Google AdWords changed forever. What happened on that day was that Google AdWords announced that Analytics and AdWords were now integrated in a manner which meant that you could take any of the 200 lists, reports, segments, or dimensions of data within Google Analytics and you could now target those people via remarketing on search.
While you could remarket previously based on cookies, this gave us much more options in how we would remarket to people.
Let’s look at some examples of how this could be done in an interesting and engaging way.
1. RLSAs Based on Facebook Audiences
First of all we can take our Facebook traffic within Google Analytics, define it as an audience and we can create tailored communications for those people. That might look something like this. Somebody could click on a Facebook ad for your dresses and come to your website. You can now own that audience as a ‘Facebook audience’ and you could even go deeper than that and tag them as an audience who are interested in dresses. What we’ve been able to do then, is that when those people go to YouTube, we’ve been able to serve that same group of people with one of our video ads specifically relevant to dresses. And beyond that, when those same people go to search ‘dresses’, we’ve been able to put an ad in front of those people and bid very aggressively so we’re top of the page. You can see in the ad text, we’ve actually been able to reference the fact that they’ve previously clicked on a Facebook ad, so we’re referencing that this is a conversation that is evolving across multiple channels.
2. RLSAs Based on Your Customers
Another really interesting audience that you can tap into here in Analytics is your customers. You can capture all the people who’ve bought from you as an audience and you can start tailoring campaigns trying to encourage them to come back and to buy again.
An example here shows someone searched a very generic keyword, ‘dresses ireland’. Typically this is too generic to go after. This could be somebody who’s got €20 to buy a dress or it could be someone who’s got €2,000 they want to spend on a dress. But because this is someone who’s bought from us before, we’re 100% determined to get this person back to the website. You can see in our ad text, we’ve referenced the fact that this person has bought from us before and we’re encouraging them to come back and shop the new collection. You can see we’re in position number one, because if someone’s bought from us before, you better believe we want to be front and centre when they go searching for our products again.
Another really interesting way of targeting that similar group of people – your customers – but this time with a view on turning them into advocates, is this case study.
These are Facebook ads that were aimed at people who were previously customers. We used Facebook cookies to target these people on Facebook, and we are encouraging them to share the love, to encourage one of their friends to come and shop at Littlewoods Ireland and the two parties, the original customer and their friend, both get a discount code.
For anyone who clicked on this ad, we could then tailor a message specifically for them. They go to Google, search relevant keywords and in our ad text, because we know they are aware of our offer, we can repeat that offer to them: ‘Refer a Friend to Get €20 Off Each’.
You can see how using the principles of the Elegant Conversationalist and using these recent innovations from AdWords and Analytics there’s a brilliant opportunity for you to become an elegant digital marketer.
Customer Match and Overcoming the Weaknesses of Cookies
There are a lot of exciting ways of using these innovations, but I also wanted to look at the other side of that coin. One of my favourite parts of the week is every Friday morning I take two hours out of the office. I don’t have an agenda, I go to a café and I just take some time to think about the things we were doing during the week, deep dive into them, get excited about the strengths but also trying to pull them apart and find the problems. The more I thought about this remarketing on search the more I could see a really fundamental problem.
What excited me in the first place was this thought that these could be ‘assets’, and for me an asset is something that you have for a long period of time. However the technology underpinning these audiences are cookies and the two main issues we have with those is that:
1. You get the person on one device only.
2. They are a really short-term way of capturing an audience; cookies expire and people clear their cookies.
So I was thinking it would be much better if there was a much more robust way of capturing this audience in a way that you could still be remarketing to them in two years or three years. It’s possible that Google were listening in on me because two weeks after this they announced that you could now upload your emails to AdWords and target people based on that.
An email address is, of course, a far more robust way of generating an audience and targeting them over a long period of time. My first thought was ‘What can we do with email addresses that we couldn’t do with cookies?’ While cookies are great for recency, and there’s a lot of intent there because if people have recently been on your website, it’s quite likely they’re still in a purchase process. So there is a strength in that. But the power of email addresses is that you can chop up your CRM and say ‘Let’s target all the people who haven’t bought from us in 12 months’ or ‘Let’s target all of the people who haven’t bought from us in 24 months’ and let’s create some specific reactivation campaigns and target those people.
You can also do some other interesting things. We uploaded all of our customers’ email addresses to Google AdWords and now if they search any words around digital marketing agencies or Google AdWords management we’ve an ad which encourages them to step away from the computer, that their digital marketing is in very good hands!
So there’s lots of creative ways you can use these audiences and I hope you enjoy having fun targeting people with them.