If you are running ads on any paid advertising platform, you’re probably aware of the term remarketing. Remarketing is a way to connect with people who previously interacted with your website or mobile app. You can target people who viewed an item and haven’t yet purchased, engage with your loyal buyers, target people who visited months ago, and so on. The options are endless.
The question of how to maximize remarketing campaigns and measure their true performance has been long debated and doesn’t have a universal answer. So instead of arguing for or against the value of remarketing, in this post, I will share seven common and deadly mistakes that can dramatically harm your campaigns and prevent you from maximizing their performance.
After analyzing 500+ accounts and more than $150,000,000 of combined ad spend, here are the most common mistakes that I saw in remarketing campaigns.
1. Not all users are created the same.
When you create a remarketing audience, the way you segment your audience is the most valuable factor. Should someone who visited your website two weeks ago be in the same audience as someone who visited today? Are they worth the same? If not, should you spend the same amount of money on them?
The time since last visit and the action the user took on your website are the two most important factors that you should segment your users by. Combining all audiences into one group and setting one global bid for all of them is one of the most crucial mistakes you can make.
The user intent level is generally measured by what action the user made on your website and the time since their last visit. People who visited in the last three days are generally the most valuable audience and should get the most spend and creative resources as they are most likely to take action. There are two ways to create custom audiences for remarketing campaigns. The first option is through custom audience creation.
The second is directly through catalog sales campaigns. Here is a very basic example of how you can segment your audiences into different ad sets.
For high intent items, the first three days are the most important as users are hot and are likely to purchase, therefore bids and spend are high and then gradually decrease.
Below is an example of a high price, slow intent remarketing funnel.
Note in this case, initially, we remarket less aggressively as it takes longer to create a strong connection, demonstrate the real product value, and impact a user’s decision-making process. Here the bids and spend are steady across the entire remarketing funnel. Note that these are just examples and should only be used to illustrate a general remarketing funnel.
Segment and focus on visitors based on time spent on your website.
Yes, the actions the users took are valuable, but what about the users who spent a lot of time on your website? Is someone who added an item to their cart and spent 60 seconds on your website worth the same as someone who added 5 items and spent 20 minutes? Like you saw in the illustration above where we segmented our audience based on the top 25% of users, Facebook offers a great tool to create an audience for your top website visitors.
It looks like this:
You can create an audience based on the top 5%, 10%, 25% of visitors based on the time they spent on your website. It is extremely powerful and in many cases works better than targeting strictly based on events such as someone who added an item to their cart or viewed a product page. Facebook explains custom audiences if you want to know more.
2. Wasting money on irrelevant users
Some advertisers remarket to everyone they possibly can, and that includes all website visitors and even people who engaged with ads or videos. It’s almost like some of them tend to forget that advertising is not free and every impression costs money.
Why would you pay again for a user who made it to your homepage but didn’t even take one valuable action? Perhaps they bounced off, or perhaps it was a fraudulent click. The question is, are they worth your money, or will that money be better invested towards a different user with a stronger intent that is more likely to purchase?
The same goes for users who viewed your videos or engaged with your ads. Why remarket to someone who didn’t make an effort besides “interacting” with your ads?
Don’t fall for the cheap conspiracies that perhaps they didn’t have time to click through your website. If they didn’t click through or take a valuable action, they are not worth the extra investment of showing them another ad. You are better off investing that money towards a more interested user.
3. Same ads for all remarketing users
If you look at the metrics breakdown of your ads, you will notice that your remarketing ads have a high frequency (which Facebook defines as the average number of times your ad was served to each person.) When you target the same small group of people, they will see the same ad more than once.
When we use the same ad and show it to a person five to ten times over three to ten days, they can get very annoyed, and I don’t blame them. During each time frame, your ads should be different and aligned with your overall strategy. For example, in the first few days when they might still have strong intent, you can use more aggressive copy, discounts, and promotions. Then, if they didn’t purchase in the first week, you can show them other ads to build your brand’s credibility such as testimonials, videos, behind the scenes, articles, or other types of content that might be relevant.
4. Budgets and bids are the same for all audiences
Similar to the illustration I provided above on how to segment users based on their level of intent and the time since their last visit, it’s important to understand that not all visitors should be targeted with the same bids and same daily budget. For example, users with high intent should be targeted with the highest bid and highest daily budget to ensure you target them when they are hot.
Normally your high-intent users should be targeted at 20%-40% higher bids and daily budget.
5. Wrong conversion window is selected for optimization
Your conversion window is the amount of time it typically takes for someone to convert after clicking or viewing your ad. For example, if your conversion window is one day, Facebook will optimize by using data from conversions that happen within one day of someone interacting with your ad.
For most clients, I recommend using a seven-day window for prospecting traffic. Even though most users convert within one day, some users take longer and you want those users to be considered in the optimization data as well. Therefore, all your remarketing campaigns should be set to one day click or view.
6. Using regular ads instead of dynamic ads
This is mainly for e-commerce websites that are selling more than one product. If you are running a remarketing campaign for your e-commerce website and are not using catalog sales to dynamically show your customer ads with the product they viewed, you are losing massive amounts of money.
Catalog sales ads (also known as dynamic ads) use your product feed and connect to your pixel to show your users the exact products they viewed as well as other recommended products they might be interested in. Using dynamic ads instead of regular static ads will dramatically increase your ROI.
Here is how a dynamic ad looks:
Also, you can use advanced features like automatic slideshow creation for multiple product photos and dynamic descriptions. If you want to know more, you can read all about Facebook’s catalog manager.
7. Generic copy
Refrain from using the same generic copy that all other advertisers are using.
Avoid copy like “Forgot something in your cart?” or “Left something behind?” Users rarely forget to complete checkout. They are mostly still in the decision-making stage. Placing an order online is a big decision that takes a lot of inner debating.
Instead of using the same copy that all advertisers are using, try to write compelling copy that might push them towards buying, whether it’s an offer that’s valid for a limited time, offers they can’t refuse, or something meaningful that will make them decide to click to complete their order. Imagine how many ads users see per day. Being authentic is key to standing out from your competition
Every advertiser that is using Facebook Ads is probably using remarketing campaigns. Remarketing campaigns are defined as showing ads to people who interacted with your business previously. The fundamentals of running a successful remarketing campaign include the understanding that not all visitors are created alike. It’s important to understand how to segment users so you can focus on the ones with the highest value. Also, keep your content relevant to users and familiarize yourself with all the features that are offered by Facebook to boost your remarketing performance.