I’ve been speaking a lot recently on the benefits of using audiences to their full extent, especially by customizing pixels to create new audiences for users on your website. The biggest benefit is that you can segment audiences into more niche groups and market to them accordingly—as in, based on more than just a site visit in the last 30 days.
After all of that, one of the most common follow up questions I get is some version of this: “That’s great, but what do I DO with this? What audiences should I be making with all this fancy stuff?” To be honest, I can’t tell you which audiences your specific business would benefit from. Every business is so different that to really create a custom strategy, you’d want seek out an individual consultant or account manager to do a deep dive into your business and your online marketing.
But just because I can’t speak to your specific business doesn’t mean I can’t help. I can tell you possible remarketing lists that you should consider to give you SOME direction. In fact, I can share 95 possible remarketing lists that you can use. So let’s go through some high level categories you should be thinking about when building lists, and I’ll give you those examples for each group.
These are the most common remarketing lists being used today. It’s the source of all the lists that look like this:
From here, you can do all sorts of things based on the pages of your website people visit. The biggest mistake advertisers make is not spending nearly enough time thinking through the value in each page of their website and the different user intent that each page visit signals.
For instance, a user who visits four pages on your site including a pricing page is likely much more interested in making a purchase than someone who only visits your homepage and then leaves. And they have a different motivation than, say, someone who visits your careers page—who you might want to exclude from your advertising to avoid wasting spend.
Here are some lists to think about making for page visits, both for potential targeting and exclusion:
Visits to a page are one thing, but what about the actual actions users take on those pages? If users engage with a tool or click into a photo gallery, they’re more engaged than a user who only views the page.
Think about your website. What actions can a user take on that page that don’t then direct them to another web page where you would be able to make a URL rule like those above? Do you have any? If you don’t, that’s not a problem and this section might not be immediately useful to you, but if you do, this is something you should think about when building out lists.
A user who clicks through these pages of options, for instance, might be more likely to convert and buy some little chocolate creatures.
Although a little trickier to set up than traditional page URL lists, these audiences aren’t too tough to create if you’re willing to spend a little time setting up custom events and custom triggers in the channels and Google Tag Manager.
Here are some examples of lists that leverage user engagement rather than a simple page view:
Just because a user doesn’t visit your site doesn’t mean they’re not interacting with you. Nearly all businesses have some sort of social media presence online (or you likely should) and engagements with those channels can often be just as good or better than a web page visit.
These engagement audiences can be found in the audience manager of each social platform, and they are usually segmented away from typical website audiences:
Here are some lists you can create based on how users are engaging with your social media profiles rather than your website:
These are likely the “easiest” list of users to put together as you simply take the user information (name, email, phone, etc.), add it to a file, upload to the platform and boom, you have a static list of users to retarget to. But there can be nuances in customer uploads just as there are with URL visitors.
Here are some list segmentation ideas to think of when creating your customer uploads for retargeting:
Another key factor to think about is the length of time in your audiences. Each of the ad platforms has its own length of time you can continue to retarget someone from a cookie. The longest at the moment is 540 days on Google Ads. Most others are 180 days.
But just because you can target someone for that long, doesn’t mean you should.
Not every audience needs to be for the maximum amount of time the pixels/channels allow. At some point, they’ll get sick of you and/or become completely unprofitable.
Instead, you should start to craft what I call time funnels for your audiences. Take some time to understand the value of someone in the first seven days, then the next seven days, then maybe the next 14 days, and so on. How do they differ in performance and value to you? At what point does someone become unprofitable?
Take those results and craft remarketing audiences with the same parameters we’ve discussed above, but for different cookie lengths for additional optimization opportunities.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the retargeting audiences you can make, but hopefully it’s gotten you thinking about what might be valuable to your company and how you can start to segment users for better marketing. Spend some time thinking about your business and analyzing the data and understand what works best for you, but also, what your customers respond to best as well. It’ll be a win-win.
Michelle is the Co-Founder of Paid Media Pros. She has twelve years of experience in all aspects of PPC and brings a wealth of experience developing and executing campaigns across search, social, and display platforms in both agency and in-house settings. Her experience gives her an especially well-rounded and holistic view of the paid search landscape—one she shares regularly as an influencer, author, and industry speaker at events like SMX, HeroConf, and Pubcon, as well as the Paid Media Pros YouTube channel.
See other posts by Michelle Morgan
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