The first step to user-friendly retargeted ads is to choose—or switch to—a platform that gives you adequate control. There are lots of retargeting networks, and each has its quirks. They fit into two categories:
1. Managed platforms.
These vendors require a higher minimum, but will manage your campaigns and provide you with no-fuss analytics. You tell these networks what metrics you’re after, and they’ll do the rest. You will be assigned an account manager who will update you regularly.
2. Self-service platforms.
What it says on the tin. These networks are best suited for experienced Internet marketers who need control over every aspect of a campaign. You will create and optimize your ads as well as manage your spend, audience segmentation and reporting. Self-service platforms have lower minimums and may offer lower fees overall.
Which type of network to work with is a matter of confidence level and personal preference? The key is to make sure you can change things when you need to.
The next step is to audit the ads you’re already running. Ads themselves are notoriously small, but you can still achieve a lot of variation by tweaking these factors:
- Ad copy
- Ad size
- Calls to action
- Ad headline
- Background color
Focus the bulk of your optimization efforts on your headline, body text and images. Note that even a minor tweak can have a drastic impact on click-through rates. Ideally, you should run each ad group for at least three months. This may seem like a long time—and a lot of money—to invest, but this is the minimum to achieve statistical significance. If you hop from ad to ad, your results will be skewed by variance. Variance is the random data—or noise—that crops up in small data sets.
As a rule of thumb, your ad must be clicked 500-1,000 times before you can gauge its effectiveness.
If you’re on a limited budget, test your largest market segment before targeting more niche areas. This will make sure your most relevant ad achieves statistical significance first. Remember to rotate your ads to avoid over-exposing your audience.
Let’s move on to the four actions you can take right now to make your ads more user-friendly.
1. Use Impression caps
This first item on our list may be the most important. With retargeted ads, subtlety is everything. If you don’t use impression caps, you’ll show a user the same ad over and over. In marketing, you need to expose your prospect to your marketing materials a certain number of times to get a conversion. Paradoxically, after each failed try, the likelihood of conversion becomes smaller. Your ads offer diminishing returns. One popular axiom has it that either the prospect will convert within the first seven impressions, or they never will.
An impression cap allows you to protect your precious ad budget and your relationship with the prospect at the same time. Don’t hit customers over the head with ads. Impression caps can help you build trust.
2. Embrace the opt-out feature.
Give your prospects some credit. When they search for a product on one site, and then see ads for it on another site, they know they’re being retargeted. Allowing customers to opt-out will save you money, and it protects your brand from the spammer label.
Not every form of retargeting will be right for you. If you take a blanket approach to this advertising method, you’ll end up alienating your prospects. Look back at your past advertising campaigns and identify the most successful. Chances are, the techniques you used there will work again. If you’re just starting out, you must experiment. Consider this an investment. The key is to drop strategies that don’t work for you. Cut the ads that don’t provoke a response in your audience.
4. Optimize your site.
Look at your site. Is your shopping cart easy to find? Is the checkout process as smooth as it could be? Does your search function leave a lot to be desired? Can customers search for specific products on your site easily? Do you have lots of hidden fees?
While these factors aren’t directly related to your retargeting campaigns, they will impact your conversion rate. Don’t focus on your campaign so much that you aren’t optimizing elsewhere. After all, why would you spend good money on a sophisticated advertising campaign just to alienate your prospects once they land on your site?
Did you find these tips helpful? Let us know in the comment section below!
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