A crucial part of running successful PPC campaigns is knowing who you want to get your ads in front of (and then of course, persuading them to convert!). Remarketing List for Search Ads (RLSA) campaigns allow you to layer rich audience data on top of keyword search intent to get the biggest (and smartest) bang for your buck.
With a thought-out RLSA strategy, you can better craft your ad messaging, landing page experience, and bidding tactics to align with where your target searchers are in the conversion funnel to then drive higher conversion rates and more efficient return.
So don’t leave conversions on the table! You’ve got so much data in the palm of your hands — and it’s all coming from your own site analytics. How people interact with your site provides insightful data that you should definitely be leveraging across your PPC efforts.
First, what is the conversion funnel?
Each person within your target audience goes through a path before they reach your desired action. That path is best defined based on their behavior on your site, as well as the context within their given searches. Many marketers give themselves a pat on the back once a searcher completes a conversion – the job is done, we are victorious, HOORAY! But in order to grow your PPC program, it’s important to go beyond new acquisition and also consider how you can create continued loyalty and lifetime revenue from your consumer base.
How does audience targeting come into play in all of this, particularly for PPC? It all comes down to how you define and segment your audience data and combine it with the intention behind each search. Consider how much more sophisticated your search retargeting strategy could be when you adjust your tactics based on how different audiences make the exact same search:
So where do you begin? Below are the remarketing audiences that you can (and should) set up right now for PPC:
Remarketing Audiences in the Research Stage
Here are some audiences that are still researching or learning more about what you offer:
Length of Time on Site
Dive into your analytics platform and try to get an understanding of how long users are spending on site before bouncing off. Do converters spend more than 5, 6, 7 minutes on site? What pages are they drifting towards? Are there pages that they’re bouncing off of more frequently? If this audience makes a non-branded search again while still in the researching phase, you can message to them differently to entice that reengagement and pull them back to the site and further down the funnel.
Site Search Users
Google Analytics allows you to set up Site Search tracking, which can help you identify how often site visitors are using site search and what they’re most often looking for. It’s basically a whole new set of search term data to work with that includes revenue and orders driven from those specific searchers. This provides new behavioral audiences opportunities for RLSA, as well as new keyword ideas to test out in your legacy paid search campaigns.
Do you provide an option to sign-up for a newsletter, download a whitepaper or case study, or subscribe to your email list? As long as this data is first-party collected, you can be using it for search remarketing using Google’s Customer Match. Not only does this audience option allow you to expand your targeting based on customer data that lives outside of AdWords, but initial results have shown that it has a higher email match rate compared to other ad platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Remarketing Audiences in the Awareness Stage
These are audiences that are already showing engagement with your brand:
People regularly reading and following your blog are part of your brand’s dedicated fan base. Test building audiences based on highly visited or liked blog pages. Adjust your messaging or landing experience, possibly offering incentives, loyalty program sign-ups, or early promo exclusives to continue nurturing that brand love and furthering content engagement, sharing, and ultimately conversions down the line.
YouTube may not be the biggest driver of your last-click attributed conversions, but don’t write it off altogether. Studies show that across social platforms, YouTube has some of the stronger rates in product introduction during the first stage of the conversion funnel, as well as higher rates in closing sales. Audiences watching your videos or subscribing to your channel are interested in your content, and remarketing to this group when they’re making relevant searches to your brand could present new ways to move potential converters into those final purchase stages.
Your different business groups/domains
Your site doesn’t have to live on an island on its own! Does your company have additional business groups, product lines, or entities that have their own domains? Depending on how your analytics code or other audience platforms are collecting data, sharing this first-party data across groups can open new doors to revenue opportunity via remarketing, especially if searchers often interact between these different domains during the awareness phase.
Remarketing Audiences in the Intent Stage
These are audiences that are demonstrating strong intent to purchase.
This audience is often cited as the classic, go-to pool to target for e-commerce advertisers in both Search and Display Network remarketing campaigns. Why not aggressively bid for those who made it all the way to filling the shopping cart and just didn’t click “buy”? When this group comes back through the SERP via your Branded terms, test offering them something that would incentivize them to buy, including discounted shipping or a coupon, making it all too easy for them to come back, whip out their credit card, and take that final step to purchase.
Sales Page Visitors
If someone engaged with your Sales Page, whether they converted or not – it means they are either interested and/or regularly aware of your discounts and reductions. What does that translate to – an audience with a high intention to give you dollah bills! Be sure to run up-to-date promotional copy to this group, highlighting specific offers or biggest discounts available to pull them back into the site.
Product Page Visitors
What products are your highest sellers or see the best conversion rate? What searchers are visiting certain products on the site but often not converting? Digging deeper into this data in your analytics platform can not only help you determine where to target, but also which pages to change up or exclude from your campaign builds. Segment out and bid up on product page defined audiences that populate beyond the 1,000 audience minimum and show tailored product-based copy to bring them back in to learn more and convert.
Action + Loyalty Audiences
Finally, for audiences that have both taken action and demonstrate brand loyalty, is there an opportunity to pull them back in?
Do you sell products that need to be refilled, restocked, or repurchased in a shorter window (maybe 60-90 days?) Build an audience of those who purchased those particular products and set up remarketing campaigns prepped to message to them in the days right before they may be looking to stock back up. If they had a positive experience with your brand’s product, you’ll likely see higher conversion rates and return on this audience group when you layer them onto your Branded campaigns.
Many advertisers may immediately exclude any previous converters – why would we dedicate marketing dollars to people who have already did what we wanted them to do? Don’t devalue the repeat purchaser or loyal brand buyer, who already has a strong association with your company and will likely come back, whether that be through a remarketing banner or while doing a search on your brand name. Be sure to be there with a remarketing ad when they do.
Loyalty/Rewards Program Participants
Maybe you’ve exhausted quite a bit of audience testing and are looking for further ways to build new revenue streams in paid search. Look no farther than your customers who are going out of their way to opt into a loyalty or rewards program you provide. Give this audience every opportunity to be regular converters by putting them on a pedestal. When possible, direct them to special offer pages or site experiences that give them that high-level service feel (like welcoming them to the site by name, prompting them to login for more features/offers, or showing them previous purchases and visited pages to give them a relevant returning point).
The Power of Audience Targeting in PPC
Keyword intent is incredibly important for paid search, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. But there’s greater power in layering keywords with high-quality audience data. PPC is going to continue following the paths carved out in channels like Display and Social, with Google and Bing further launching paid search targeting methods that are audience-focused. Rather than let your remarketing audience strategy sit dusty and untouched on the shelf, understand the stories your site visitor data is telling you and shape your paid search retargeting tactics accordingly.
What are some remarketing audiences you’ve seen success with? Share with us in the comments or on Twitter!
About the author
Maddie Cary is the Director of Paid Search at Point It Digital Marketing in Seattle. Her role involves overseeing and developing an amazing team of PPC account managers, while also running the global SEM program for Point It’s largest client. In 2015, she won the US Search Award for “Young Search Professional” and was acknowledged as a “Rising Star in PPC” by both SearchEngineLand and PPC Hero. You can also find her speaking and learning at great conferences like SMX, HeroConf, and PubCon, or writing monthly posts for the Wordstream blog. Outside of PPC, her biggest loves are her family, friends, and her idol, Queen Beyoncé.