Remarketing – you are doing it wrong – 1/2

For many marketers, Remarketing is a must have. Imagine: those leads are prequalified, they have already shown interest in your products and services – and you are about to remind them of the reason they came to your website in the first place! It surely can’t go wrong…

Well done on setting a Remarketing campaign for your business. They are many pros in doing so, which we have already covered in a different article, and it’s a great way of generating additional revenue at a reasonable cost. Chances are you will get it right; however we at iiWorks would like to offer our help should you encounter a hair-pulling situation like the ones below – when Remarketing is going wrong!

Issue: no impressions!

Campaign has been set up, filled with appropriate data, and launched. The next day, you still have no impressions. Nothing! Before you check every single setting in AdWords, here are a few reasons you might not be getting impressions:

Your lists are too small

AdWords requires at least 100 individual users in any given audience list before allowing you to remarket to them. You might have only recently added the Remarketing tag to your pages and the audience is still populating; or your lists might be way too specific to start the campaign. Make sure you remarket to at least a broader audience, so you can dip your toes in water and test your ads immediately while waiting for your more specific lists to populate. Do not bid too high on a broad list as to avoid any unwanted spend.

Your location targeting is not correct

It has to be aligned with your audience to make it work. If your audience list has been set up to only hold Australian users but you are targeting an overseas location with your ads, this will never click (pun intended).

Your ads are not accepted by third party websites for display

Check format, size, colour-scheme of your ads. Advertisers are free to accept (or reject) ads they do not want to display on their pages so make sure you follow Google guidelines and best practice.

Issue: no clicks!

Everything is working fine and you are getting plenty of impressions but your CTR is abysmally low – or nil. Why so? What happened?

Your message is not appropriate

Your ads simply do not work. Your brand or logo is not clearly visible. You use a different look and feel than your website design and this leaves searchers puzzled. You remarket a specific product to the wrong audience: they have looked at your accommodation packages and you display an ad focusing on meetings and conferences.

You do not use a call-to-action

Users do not understand what is there for them. What will happen after my click? Make sure to use active phrases such as “Book Now” or “Compare” or “Register” so there is no doubt about what’s next.

Your ads are not relevant to your users at this time

Check your Placements and Topics settings. You simply do not want to remarket your golf accommodation packages on a website listing tips for new parents! Timing is everything and if not done right, then you will not get any clicks. Even worse, you might alienate a fringe of your users by interrupting their browsing with an ad they simply do not want to be confronted with at this very moment.

You are remarketing off your buying cycle

Make sure you know what your usual buying cycle is as to not remarket your offering too late… or too early! If you are providing wedding reception services, there is no need to remarket the very next day as this buying cycle is typically 3 to 6 months long. You would be better off remarketing to an audience having seen your pages a few times over the last 2 to 4 weeks, not earlier. In the contrary, if you offer same day grocery shipping services, you should remarket immediately to your audience and only to users having visited your website in the last week.

Your frequency capping is too high – or not set

By allowing your ads to be displayed all the time, anytime, you definitely risk overserving your message. This could easily go downhill and make your ads completely invisible to your audience; or worse: giving the false impression that you are stalking them in their everyday Internet browsing. Limit your ads to a few servings a day, no more.

You only display the same ads, all over again, to your users

Similar than above, there is a potential risk of fatigue. Make sure to use different graphics, messages, call to actions, and rotate your ads so you can market the same product differently.

Your Flash ads are – well – too flashy

Flash is a wonderfully visual tool allowing to creating engaging banners and animated images. As with anything visually powerful, less is more with Flash. Do not dilute your message with pumping graphics at a scintillating frame rate. Keep it to the bare minimum for better results.

Remarketing is not for you

Even with the best of intentions, some industries should simply refrain from engaging in Remarketing. Sometimes, it just doesn’t not make sense. If you are running a medical practice, chances are you should not invest in Remarketing. Some one-shot events, principally bad experiences, do not need to be remarketed again and again. If you are a lawyer specialising in divorce, and you run a Remarketing campaign, your ad could be seen by another person that your previous website visitor; say the spouse of your client…


When done right, Remarketing is a powerful tool allowing you to tap in a source of prequalified leads. However, specific care should be applied to the setup of the campaign itself in order to avoid common remarketing pitfalls, such as no impressions or no clicks.

In our next post, we will address two additional issues that marketers deploying Remarketing campaigns can encounter: no conversions and a cost deemed too high.

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