The chances of an online shopper buying on the first visit to your site are pretty slim. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t interested and won’t be back – the key to having them revisit and completing a sale is realizing that they are still on their purchasing journey.
You know that they have some purchase intent – they visited your website to check something out. Now, what you need to do is keep the lines of communication open, and get your message across to bring them back to close the deal.
On this call I’m speaking with Marcus Cudd, the founder of SearchworxX, and we cover all you need to know about retargeting, and making sure you continue to put your offer in front of warm prospects.
links mentioned on the call
Read the transcript:
Daniel: Hi everybody. Welcome back to another episode of eCommThinkTank, my name is Daniel Kohn and today we’re going to be talking all about retargeting. We’re going to be joined by Marcus Cudd who is the president and team lead at a very interesting search agency called SearchworxX.com and Marcus and SearchworxX are very focused around retargeting and specialize a great deal in retargeting and I thought it would be interesting to get Marcus on and talk a little bit more about some of the bigger picture ideas around retargeting, how to improve your retargeting campaigns or if you’re not doing retargeting yet how to actually approach it and possibly get started. So Marcus welcome to the show.
Marcus Cudd: Thanks, it’s great to be here, thanks for having me.
Daniel: Yeah, so maybe just to get started, maybe give us a little overview of SearchworxX, what you guys do and then specifically around retargeting.
Marcus Cudd: Yeah, absolutely SearchworxX is an agency I founded almost a decade ago. We kind of burst onto the scene as an SEO agency in our local area. We actually evolved into an agency that provided SEO and other digital marketing services support for direct clients as well as other agencies around the country. That has been something that we’ve continued to do and it’s been a core business in that process of evolving we became very interested in retargeting and the types of activities, engagements, saying conversions we were seeing from it. We decided to focus a lot of our energies on assisting our clients and agencies on really improving their retargeting efforts. So we’ve become strategic experts in the part of digital marketing so we’re constantly excited to talk about it.
Daniel: Right. So just to sort of get started and get into the whole world of retargeting maybe a good starting point would be to maybe help us understand a little bit more about how to actually view retargeting as a strategy I guess when you put it in line against all the other areas of the online marketing paradigm. You’ve got all these, paid search, SEO, affiliate stuff, like how should people really look at retargeting as a strategy?
Marcus Cudd: Sure. Absolutely, and I think some people look at retargeting as an either or, and the reality is retargeting is a technology that really works across the board. I think, strategically thinking the implementation is going to be different based on what you're trying to accomplish and I think too many people when they use it they try to plug in the same strategy for every single campaign and then they're not sure why it doesn't really succeed for them. Most people are familiar with retargeting but I generally get asked a little bit more specifically, retargeting remarketing are kind of the same idea, I know Google refers to it as remarketing but we're essentially talking about the same thing. It's technology that allows a website owner to continue to communicate with a prospect after they've left their website. Hard to describe it that way because the process of a sale is really all about communication. If you improve our advertising you improve it by improving our communication, you're never going to force somebody to buy something they don't need so more important to actually try to continue to communicate with them, offer them information, provide them bonuses. Things like that, that actually allow you to stay engaged with them. And the experience they have with your brand and retargeting allows you to do all those things. And that's why we find it so exciting.
Daniel: Right, and like in some sense I guess it's like continuing the story line of a customers path to making a purchase because it's not always that someone's going to buy something when they're immediately on the site, they might sort of come back a couple days later, and I think retargeting is that sort of, that glue that sort of brings the different channels together as well and acts as like an assisting, like would you say, like it sort of helps to complete the story and completes the gaps in between someone's journey.
Marcus Cudd: Absolutely, I think, and this is usually one of the things when we're talking to an e-commerce brand that we continuously have to make sure we nail home is this idea that the user generally speaking is not going to convert on that first visit. Generally speaking what they have to do is get comfortable with what you offer, details of your offer, what your brand is about, and whether or not that's the way they want to spend their money. Generally speaking that's not accomplished in one visit. People on different devices, they're in different states of mind when they're thinking about your brand so the problem with this idea that when you're driving somebody via SEO or a paid traffic source to your site and that if they fail to convert on that visit you've failed in that journey is kind of inaccurate. What retargeting lets you do is have that user as a prospect and continue to continue to talk to that prospect and continue to tell the story. The story of course is the story of your brand, it's the story of the product, it's the story of why they want to have a purchase experience with your brand and I think that once... starts to think about the conversation, they will find that they're a lot more successful with retargeting. They're a lot more successful with the entire experience the user has with their brand in making a purchase.
Daniel: Right, so I think sort of, to bring it home a bit more as well, like I always look at retargeting as scoring points on the basketball court where you've got all different players and all different marketing channels and usually when you look at retargeting you can't look at it as it's own person that's going to score all the goals all the time, it's really the assisted conversions and it plays a role in assisting these sales when you're actually looking at the numbers as you're saying, you've got to look at it in context of the bigger picture and be able to understand the value of that assisted marketing strategy in that bigger picture and I think that's where a lot of marketers go wrong when they're looking at evaluating retargeting.
Marcus Cudd: I absolutely find that they look at a single website visit in it's own silo and instead of looking at the entire users journey. And sometimes that's hard to do, purely with Google Analytics, you have to look at other tracking systems and you need to layer in your retargeting to take advantage of what that tracking can tell you and I think if you're going to do retargeting it's also valuable to invest in additional tracking that allows you to track customer journey to your brand. I also, one of the big value propositions of retargeting besides the idea of really continuing to speak to the customer, it's the idea that you can actually data mine information from your customer about what they think of your products. And what I mean by that is, generally speaking I think the mistake most marketers make when they're running retargeting is they tend to want to run the same creative over and over and over again. First of all that's boring, second of all it doesn't really give you a lot of information. If you were going to retarget somebody about your product and let's say your product had 5 or 6 very distinct features to it and you were really trying to understand what is the feature that sets your product apart from the others in your space. The best way to do that is to run 5 or 6 different creative that outline those different distinct features, one separate from the other... running those in parallel to those users visiting your site. You can see based click-through rate and click-volume where your customers are re-engaging with your product. So, if you have 5 or 6 features, distinct features and two of those features actually get by far and away the better click-through rate and the better click volume, what that tells you is that is the distinct feature that your users typically are seeing as valuable with your product.
Daniel: That's cool. I like that.
Marcus Cudd: ...take back and you can improve your product pages, you can improve your landing pages, you can improve your other marketing by virtue of the fact that you know that. I have found that routinely we have run features campaigns where we have found one or two distinctive offerings within that product that were not actually visible or apparent to those users that when brought back and that was made a really distinct feature to them actually led to conversions and that's important from a practice standpoint to use retargeting to figure out.
Daniel: Wow, that's really interesting, that's a great idea, I never thought about doing that. But talking and speaking about creative and displaying different creative, I know that there's you know with retargeting there's especially in retail, there's dynamic ads where you can dynamically repopulate the products that someone was viewing back into the ads and having them dynamic for every single person so that they're targeted. Or alternatively you could just have static ads and is there, could you share with us any difference in the click through rate between the two. Is it worth going the extra mile and creating these dynamic ads because they obviously take a lot more work to put together,is there something you can share with us around the difference of those two types of ads.
Marcus Cudd: Yeah, from our experience, dynamic ads within the e-commerce space specifically they work really well, I think a big piece of what makes that work well though is the incentive to return, right? Somebody comes to your site, they look at a blue widget, they've left your site, they're looking at blue widgets on other sites, they're looking at various other sites where there's ad inventory where your retargeting ad can be seen. I don't know that all of the time just simply showing them an ad of your blue widget is really going to generate that click back to your website. I think sometimes what you have to do is, you have to gauge the cycle of the sale, so is this something where they're going to make a purchase within 24 hours, are they going to make a purchase in three days, is it going to take them a week, two weeks. That type of thing, you have to really adjust how you're going to continue to contact that prospect via retargeting based on that time frame, number one. Number two you have to consider at what point in time in that time frame you are actually going to make another offer to them and I think that's a critical piece of retargeting that most marketers don't actually use, which is the idea that if I have you retargeted and I've shown you some ads and you still have not returned. Why wouldn't I choose to show you some ads where I've reduced the price 20% if you act now bring you in to a special landing page that's just for those people who have seen that retargeting ad, allow you to convert at that 20% off and get that engagement. To me that counter offer, that opportunity to make that last ditch effort, if it's a price sensitive type of deal, to bring some users back in and actually convert them, it's an opportunity a lot of marketers miss out on using retargeting.
Daniel: Right, wow that's interesting, so basically what you're suggesting is creating a generic campaign for people in sort of the immediate future and if it's been a week, two weeks, or relevant to the product cycle or the purchasing behavior of a certain product, as time lapses you try and offer them something to close that sale. Wow, that's an interesting way of doing it. And I guess that leads me to another question around, like I know with retargeting you can create different segments when you get setup with these different platforms you have the ability to create segments for different parts of your site, so for example you might want to create a campaign just for people who visited your home page or people who just visited your check out pages and be able to target them specifically based on where they actually were on your site, I guess that seems to be another area of I guess optimization where people to get the most out of a retargeting campaign would probably look at setting up as well around segments, right?
Marcus Cudd: I think optimizing retargeting is a combination of factors, some of which you just touched on there, number one, first of all you don't want to retarget people necessarily who've been on your careers page, so you've got to know which pages to exclude from your retargeting. Number two, you have this process of understanding who your converting users are, so it is always helpful to use some type of metrics platform where you can identify the types of users who are buying certain products and what you want to do is, even though on your paid side you can control the demographics of users who are looking at certain paid products. On the SEO side that's less likely so if you do well in search results, you could be bringing anybody in through a search result to your product, however that doesn't mean that you want to retarget all of those people. So you can use your data on who's converting to go back and add that layer to demographic targeting to your retargeting so that you're more efficiently spending your retargeting dollars on people who are more likely to convert.
Daniel: Right, so I guess if you really look at the funnel where people who dropped out of your home page are really the top of the funnel and... is at the bottom of the funnel closest to the sale. If you're creating lists around more, around cart abandoners, you might also want to possibly spend more on trying to bring them back as well, because those people have a much higher purchase intent then people who just browse the home page. So creating those lists can also help you in terms of allocating budget and doing things like that as well. But I think that it also touches on, when you create these lists, and by the way anyone who's listening to this and hasn't done retargeting or used any platforms, once you've actually set up your accounts and you've placed the retargeting scripts on your pages creating these lists and doing what we're talking about actually isn't so complicated, so if it sounds really difficult, these things actually aren't that difficult to do, but, what I wanted to say as well that I thought was interesting that you said before was, you know, using the right creative and maybe using the right creative for that right lists so, you know what I was hearing from you was that maybe people who are category browsers or home page browsers who have less purchase intent, may be the camp, sorry the creative might be a little bit more generic, or it might be, as opposed to a specific product it might be based on top sellers or just random products because it's reflective of where they were in the funnel and maybe for abandoned shoppers you probably want to display the product or the products that they were thinking about buying because it's more relevant for them to see it at that point in time because you know that they were very close to buying it.
Marcus Cudd: Yeah, absolutely and I think where that kind of crosses over with what you do with email is that typically what you as a brand want to do is if a customer is engaged with a product made a purchase and you have products that are related, or essentially accessories that go with that product. Typically it would make sense that you have an email campaign that's lined up to say, hey we have this product too, we have this product too. And essentially retargeting is that same conversation only you can continue to make them different offers of different products without continually emailing them, so you could have an email that comes through, it makes those offers to them then you have a retargeting campaign that essentially runs the same way. And to go back to your point about the segmentation and the setup, there's some key points from the standpoint of setting up retargeting that people have to understand, which frankly, there's too many people that think all retargeting companies, all retargeting networks are the same and from our experience we've found that a lot of them are vastly different. We have found that, we actually would work with 2 or 3 sometimes 4 retargeting networks with the same client because we found different feature sets within those different retargeting networks that we preferred to use for a particular clients goals. So we have e-commerce clients and certain retargeting networks do well there. We have B2B clients and certain retargeting networks do well there. We have to make those decisions on the fly, so sometimes, basically with any of that decision you really have to take the time to evaluate the different networks, but once you've made your choices, implementation is not difficult if you're thinking logically about your users experience of going through the buying cycle.
Daniel: Right, that was actually one of my questions for you, I've personally used AdRoll and Criteo and I've used Google Retargeting, Remarketing whatever they call it, so can you share with us maybe some of those differences. Because for me, I'm curious to know what they are and maybe specifically for retailers which platforms you actually think may be more beneficial for retailers.
Marcus Cudd: Interestingly, you mentioned a few, we've used all of them. We currently use all of those and they provide different levels of what I would consider feature sets that make a difference. Summit is very granular based on how you create campaigns. The one most people are going to be familiar with is Google Remarketing because Google promotes it pretty heavily. I think one huge advantage that Google Remarketing has is the fact that it's integrated with Google Analytics. That you can build segment and audience smart lists and use them for your retargeting and you can get pretty sophisticated with your smart lists in order to develop retargeting campaigns on the Google AdWords side. You can also combine YouTube with Google Remarketing and run retargeting ads in YouTube as part of that whole program, so I think Google Remarketing is always something to consider particularly if you, especially if you are running Google PPC to drive buyers to your site. I think AdRoll is also a great network, AdRoll, most people don't realize but AdRoll will let you actually on-board your purchase data so, essentially if you have a spreadsheet of all of your buyers, name, email address, address, some other data. They'll let you actually import that, they will build out a targeting file and they will help you retarget that audience as well as find essentially look alike audiences to do that. That actually touches on really another piece of technology where we specialize, you know essentially we went the route of exploring another area of retargeting that we found really kind of deficient out there which is the idea of being able to create retargeting partnerships with difference e-commerce companies, so...
Daniel: That's what I was, I was going to ask you about that. Is that, because there's another program called Perfect Audience that do, is that what you're talking about?
Marcus Cudd: Yes, I was just going to touch on Perfect Audience, they're one of those companies that will allow you so share your retargeting audience between different companies. I haven't necessarily found there are a lot of users of that, I think mostly because people don't understand, to a certain extent the interaction needs to occur outside of Perfect Audience, then you come back into Perfect Audience and you do the actual technical process of sharing that. But from an agency standpoint what we will do is we will actually go out and look for what we call second party data partnerships, the whole idea is that we can find other companies, other brands that are aligned with your brand as far as the type of customer you are pursuing without necessarily being competitive. So if you're a company that sells bikes, and you are, or you sell bike accessories, we have a client like that and we're looking at second party data partnerships as companies who sell certain types of bikes and the idea is that somebody completing a purchase of a bike on their site, is going to be that much more intrigued by an offer from our client on a retargeting campaign for our product. The great thing you as a data owner, essentially the person who created the retargeting audience is that you can actually license that data as a revenue opportunity for you.
Daniel: Yeah, it's funny because I, as you were talking before I remembered Perfect Audience and remember when I looked at the landing page for that particular feature in the platform and I thought to myself, well if I'm a jeweler why would I share my data, or whatever it is with another jewelry company. But I guess, the way that you're describing it is making more sense, where it's obviously a bit more complimentary and less crossover.
Marcus Cudd: I often talk to, we have a lot of Real Estate agents that we work with, and one thing I like about working with Real Estate agents is they have a lot of activity on their site, a lot of search activity, and we can build retargeting segments based on the engagement level of users on their site. And for local businesses who want to retarget people who are in the process of buying a home or moving, moving to a specific area and want to introduce their location to those people. It's a great relationship to have because the agent, they're selling somebody a home, but these other retailers who benefit from someone buying a home in their area definitely can inquire very targeted audience at a very low rate and can skip a lot of those filtering and audience definition criteria that have to go into up front.
Daniel: Yeah, wow, it's a very interesting area of collaboration and use of data and sharing data for the benefit of everyone, it's very interesting. And sort of, in terms of, when we're looking at getting started with some of these platforms, what would be some budgets, like test budgets to test campaigns, if people listening are like, you know what, I know I need to be doing this, I've been doing this but I haven't been doing it properly, like how much money do you think someone should be spending on campaigns to really figure out is they're working or if they're not working?
Marcus Cudd: Sure. It's a great question, and you know honestly I think that's where people get sidetracked with retargeting is they worry about how much it's going to cost before they actually do any of it. The best answer is really it depends on how many people are already coming to your site. So, you know, I generally speak, as an agency we have a rule that you need to be spending a minimum of $300 a month on retargeting to really get the value out of it, or at least pull the data out of it that allows us to optimize and improve. I feel like if you're spending less than that you're just probably not getting enough data out of it to be useful and it takes a lot more time for your brand to start picking up momentum from people seeing those ads on a regular basis or a consistent basis. I think what is more important is strategically determining how you're going to do your retargeting because there are so many different strategies out there based on what it is you're offering. You're retargeting campaign might tilt more towards a lot of creative which can add some expense to doing that start up. Or you can simplify it and say, you know what, I'm going to pull one product, I'm going to grab, I'm going to make three sets of creative, I'm going to run one campaign and I'm going to target this audience on this product and start and do it one at a time, and can you put that together for less than $1000, absolutely. And I think you have to break it up into these pieces that you can digest and you can say, I can test this, I can learn from it, I can see how we can improve it and that's really the process that you have to go through. You know, we're an agency and obviously we're going to advocate to work with an agency, you know if you're technically savvy and you understand your customer segments and how to create them, how to look at your analytics and understand how you might want to strategically setup your marketing, it's certainly something you could certainly try on your own. I do advocate though that working with an agency they're going to have a lot of experience working with different networks. They have a lot of experience with creative, they have a lot of experience with things like frequency, and bidding and duration, that are going to save you time and money in the deployment of retargeting. So don't skip an agency just because you think that it might be more expensive.
Daniel: Right, but you said $300 right? That doesn't sound like a lot of money.
Marcus Cudd: It doesn't and that's the thing. I think people have this idea that retargeting is hugely expensive. It's actually not, if you break it down, now I have clients who spend 5 figures on retargeting.
Daniel: We're talking like a month right?
Marcus Cudd: That's correct. But the idea is that if you have a certain objective that you want to accomplish through retargeting then we can determine what that budget should be to accomplish that objective. If you're going to come and say, hey I want to sell more blue widgets this month and I'm going to come back to you and say, well to sell more blue widgets, what's your conversion rate, I'm going to ask you for a bunch of metrics and say, ok this is what you need to spend and this is going to be our frequency and duration things like that in order to make that happen. But that might not be the best plan for you, I might be actually telling you to spend more money than you need to, to really learn what we have to, to do a better job.
Daniel: The other thing for me, just from my experience with retargeting and using tools like Ad Role and Criteo, you know I look at the metrics, the reporting metrics I always get sort of thrown off because when you run paid search there's usually one paid goal that you set everything around those and that could be a CPA goal, it could be a cost per lead goal, it usually boils down to one goal, but in a lot of these retargeting platforms, there's you know, and I'm not overly familiar with what these all means, but the click-through view and the conversion per view, I guess it gets quite complicated when you start looking at it all, and you're trying to figure out, what should my goal actually be, and I think that's an important thing to really, like you said to have figured out before you actually get started. So when you're halfway through the exercise you don't get confused about it.
Marcus Cudd: Yep. I think, again, it comes down to, some of those metrics are going to be confusing because they don't necessarily apply to your situation, you know objectively what you're trying to do is say, how much am I willing to spend to get a sale for this product, so if you're selling blue widgets and they're fifty dollars, what in your mind is the maximum you can spend to get that customer on a fifty dollar sale. So if that's fifteen dollars then you need to optimize your campaign around bringing back customers that convert at a fifteen dollars per conversion, right? And those metrics are there to help you determine that, however, I think one of the shortcomings to going direct to a network to make your media buy for retargeting is the networks job is to deliver your job per the program that you've setup for the campaign and they'll put some metrics there to tell you the volume of impressions the number of clicks you're getting, your click through rate and they'll tell you your click through rate per ad and all of those things are really helpful, they'll also tell you if it's, if a conversions been tripped through that click, generally speaking in the same session and the problem with that is, that's really all they're going to tell you. There's a story in between, which is, what's the reason that certain creative is getting the click through rate it's getting and how is the landing page performing. Are people actually adding product to cart are they just bouncing, are they going to different areas of your site are you just leaking traffic, what's actually occurring there. So if you look strictly at the metrics in your retargeting network you're not getting the whole story, you have to be able to look at and identify where you might be having problems in the campaign. Too many people that I talk to when we bring up retargeting will say, well that doesn't work, we tried that. We spent $3000 on it and we got nothing out of it. And I'll say, well why didn't you get anything out of it, what did you do. And you'll find out that they setup a pretty generic campaign and they sent people back to their homepage or they sent people back to a page that wasn't as relevant and then they had this huge bounce rate. And when I look at the creative versus the landing page and the offer, you're kind of like, well this string of events made no sense to the user, so of course they're going to bail out of the campaign. I think sometimes you need a thrid party to assist you through that process that's not only involved in the network but involved with the website itself, and helping you kind of connect all the dots on what needs to happen to make it convert and again as an agency and I advocate for agencies, but that's the reason why.
Daniel: Right, no, I think it makes a lot of sense and you know with a lot of these tools and strategies, there's so many little things to learn and understand it's really not so simple just to get across. You've got email, now you got the world of paid search, you've got retargeting, and then you've got SEO. I mean, there's a whole world inside each of them, so I guess what you're saying makes total sense. So if people are getting in touch with you or are wanting to have a conversation with you or someone at your agency what's the best way to connect with you guys.
Marcus Cudd: Well, our website is SearchworxX.com, that's our website, you could certainly use the contact form on that site. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn.com/marcuscudd, that's M-A-R-C-U-S-C-U-D-D. You can also reach me on Facebook again, my personal is Marcus Cudd and our Facebook page is SearchworxX, those are great ways to reach us, we are on Twitter as well. Any of those ways reach us, we have people that monitor all those things all the time, including myself so we would love to hear from people even if it's just, they have a couple questions. We do do consults, we do do simple strategy consults if that's all someone wants. We can help people come up with actual entire strategy plans and then if they want us to execute for them we can do that as well, so it's really up to you, if you just want to talk or if you want to actually talk about an engagement that's great too.
Daniel: Ok, cool, well look Marcus thanks so much for joining us today. It was really, I mean, I definitely learned a lot, I've done quite a bit of retargeting before and I think you've definitely got quite a bit of experience in doing it all, so thanks for sharing some of that with us today and let's be in touch.
Marcus Cudd: Absolutely, thanks for the time and I look forward to talking with you.
Daniel: Thanks Marcus.