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How to Use Remarketing for Startup Growth 

February 1, 2016

 Reading time: approx. 6 minutes (that’s 6 minutes very well spent)

 Why? Because we are about to explain everything you need to know about remarketing:

  • How it works
  • The advantages for startups
  • Problems to avoid
  • Tips on how remarketing can work for you


You know those ads that follow you around the internet? Isn’t it funny that Facebook knows which phone model you were just browsing? Or that Ebay knows which accessories you need for the iPad you just bought? This doesn’t happen because of some miracle – it’s simply a result remarketing in action.

Remarketing (or retargeting as it is often called) is one of the strongest online marketing tricks known to mankind. It is basically a form of online advertising that allows you to show more specific advertisements to users who have already visited your site while browsing the web, and it has the potential to dramatically increase your ROI and the company’s growth. Some examples of platforms you may have heard of are Google Adwords, AdRoll, Yahoo Bing or Infolinks.

How Does it Work?

Remarketing is a simple technology. If somebody visits a particular part of your website, the website will then plant a cookie into the person’s browser. This means that the viewer will see your advertisement when they next visit a website that runs advertising systems in the background.

In simple terms, imagine you have gone into a shop, tried on a pair of shoes and decided not to buy them. Now imagine the shoe shop owner following you around the mall for the rest of the day holding the same pair of shoes. It would be hard to get the purchase out of your mind, right? Well, that’s pretty much how remarketing works!


Who can say no to Lebron?

The Advantages for Startups

In the most basic sense, remarketing is a great option for startups (or in fact any business), because it allows you to reach potential customers at a time that they are most likely to buy. According to Forrester Research, 96% of people who visit a website leave without completing the action the marketer would have liked them to take.  Unlike more traditional paid search advertising campaigns that aim to target all users to encourage them to visit a site, remarketing targets users who may have already been searching for your product, visiting your website or using your app. Remarketing is therefore the perfect way to ‘strike while the iron is hot’.

Remarketing has a large scale reach while also allowing you to customize your remarketing lists to achieve specific advertising goals and audiences. For example, you might choose to only ‘retarget’ those who might have arrived to the ‘basket’, ‘checkout’ or ‘download’ section of your company’s website or app before they abandoned ship.

Last year, a case study was conducted of the Brazillian online travel agency, Hotel Urbano. Hotel Urbano sells travel packages, hotel accommodation and cruises in the region and wanted to tap into the rapidly growing market for travel across Brazil and Latin America. By adding remarketing to its digital mix (and investing an additional $2.5 million a month), they managed to achieve a 38% higher return on ad spend between 2013 and 2014, creating 415% more revenue with only a 304% larger investment. 

We're Already Hubspot Partners, Let Us Help You Get Started! 

Is Remarketing the answer to all my problems?

Of course not. For startups, the cost is still a concern when using remarketing platforms.

When Google first launched Adwords, it was ideal for small businesses because anyone could launch a campaign and drive high quality traffic for their product at a relatively low cost. However, an article published in Forbes magazine last year indicated that Adwords may no longer be the most effective solution for a company that does not have a multi-million dollar budget. The pay-per-click set-up has now become quite pricey, especially since ‘clicks’ do not always guarantee ‘sales’. This is making it harder for smaller businesses to compete with larger corporations.

Of course, Adwords is obviously not the only option out there. Smaller companies like Adlandmark and Retargeter may better fit your niche, but they are unlikely to ultimately save you money and all work in a similar way. This may be why Adwords claims over 80% of internet users.

This does not mean that small scale startups can’t also achieve positive results with a much smaller budget. Remember that the advantage of remarketing on Facebook and Google is that you have the option to set the budget and there is no minimum monthly spend. You can also choose whether you want to pay per impression (CPM) or only pay for clicks (CPC).  

(Some Google Adwords tips here.)

So…. How Can I Make Remarketing Work for me?

As with all marketing campaigns, remarketing can easily work for you and your business if you devise a clear strategy.

Here are a few of Marketing Envy’s tips: 

Set frequency caps – Always, always set frequency caps! Often the technology will have it already built in, but make sure you check this (and cross-check it again) before you start. There is nothing more annoying (and more likely to decrease your ROI) than a particular advertisement following a user around the internet like a bad smell. By setting up a frequency cap, you can limit the amount of times a user sees your advertisement a day (we advise 2-4 times).

Do not show the same ads to a customer that has already bought – can you imagine how annoying that would be? Try to avoid having the same advertisements appear to the same user both before or after they choose to buy. Instead, try create a different sort of ad that might encourage a user to search or buy your product again.  

A/B Testing – As a startup, you need to be open to constantly re-evaluating your marketing strategies. Most remarketing programs will allow you to create or rotate a variety of campaign designs to ensure that your campaign maintains its Click-through-conversions and View-through-conversions. Advertisements can also take time to be approved so make sure you build this into your timeline.

Make Something Clickable – None of this is going to work if you don’t create an ad that users are going to WANT to click on. Perhaps a picture with only a few words? Try to create something that includes a call-to-action and that is clear and concise.

In short, remarketing may not be for every startup, but, when planned correctly, it is definitely a great way to increase exposure and improve your ROI….. so why not give it a try?

About the Author

Amit Lavi

CEO and Co-founder of Marketing Envy - A B2B tech and startup focused marketing agency based in Tel Aviv. Mentor at Google Campus and Microsoft Accelerator. Facebook and Google Alumni. Part of Google Experts Network

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