Down the Funnel: Google Launches Search Remarketing

With so many customer touchpoints these days, mapping the customer journey can be difficult (see below). In a perfect world, you’d like to develop a comprehensive, compelling and personal dialogue with the customer that gets them closer to a transaction.

Photo of purchase funnel chaos by Flickr's lauradinneen

In digital, display retargeting has been around for a long time. If someone comes to your site, you can target them with special creative and offers as they surf elsewhere. If you have a firm grip on your purchase funnel, you can get the visitor one step closer to completing a transaction by enticing them to return. (Some advertisers go a little crazy and don’t set up any sort of frequency capping, but that’s a topic for another day.) If they’ve made it to Step 3 on your site, you can give them incentive to make it to Step 4, or just gently remind them how fantastic your offer is and drive them directly to Step 4. Easy peasy.

Paid search has always been a much trickier thing. If you’re in a very tight niche, it can be quite hard to distinguish searches meant for your B2B target versus those that fit better in a B2C category. If you really don’t want to talk with your typical consumer, this is a problem. For example, let’s say that you sell a ‘simulator’ that allows engineers to design hardware virtually before it is physically produced. You’ve got a wonderful business case and ROI to offer. You just need to introduce it to the right people. What kind of terms do you buy? If you buy a term like “simulator,” you are going to get people who want to work on their golf swing in the middle of the winter, people who want to experience life as someone else, and kids who want to fly a Cessna through downtown Chicago. While it may drive traffic, it’s the wrong traffic that will only hurt your bottom line. (Those wasted visits and impressions cost you money.)

Google recently launched a great enhancement to their core source of revenue. It’s called Search Remarketing, and it’s awesome. You can now put special, targeted ads in front of people who have already been to your website. So, in our simulator example, before someone visits your site, you need to really dial-in your terms. Phrases like “TMS470 32-Bit RISC simulator” may be key, but few people will search for something so specific. More generic terms like “microprocessor simulator” may drive a bunch of traffic for people looking for micro simulators that you don’t support. However, with search remarketing, you can show ads for phrases to people who have already been to your site. You can buy a term like “simulator,” show it to only the hardware engineers who have already been to your site, and even put more specific copy in front of them. If they visited your site, but didn’t check out the demo, for example, you can have them visit the demo. If you think customer support is a virtue and a core feature of your product, you can talk about your best-in-class customer service and show up for a broad match term like “simulator.”  You know they’ve already been exposed to specific sections of your website, and you can use that to your advantage.

Get the official scoop from Google with this quirky animated short:

Personally, I’m really excited about this enhancement. It means more things to think about and analyze, but it also means you have that specific and appropriate dialogue with people who have already said “Hello.”

Photo Credit: Flickr’s lauradinneen

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