Paid Media

Common Reasons Your Remarketing Campaign Isn’t Working

Photo Credit: The talented Thomas Bormans

Remarketing campaigns can be a great source of revenue but for many brands, remarketing is a poor performing channel because of overly broad audiences, mismatched messaging and poor funnel design.

If your remarketing campaign is a cost center rather than a revenue driver, here’s our list of common reasons for poor performance and how to address them:

Overly Broad Audiences

Most brands have just two remarketing audiences:

  1. All visitors
  2. Abandoned carts

Given the diversity of your users and the reasons for them to potentially convert into a lead or sale, these are simply not enough but brands often fail to diversify these lists as a result of resource or time constraints.

At the very least, you should have campaigns for each service you offer and product based remarketing for eCommerce. If you do want to keep an all visitors list then put gating around it with a minimum time on site or pages visited (in GA4 use engaged sessions). Adding rules and splitting out users will significantly cut down on waste and allow you to segment remarketing performance by audience to get feedback on where you’re strong and what pages may need work.

Mismatched Messaging

Brands that do have their audiences properly sorted often undo that work by serving the same creative to multiple audiences or in some cases every audience.

Similar to the broad audiences problem, brands often don’t have specific remarketing creative for each audience segment because of time and resource constraints. However implementing messaging that speaks to each audiences has never been easier with Google and some programmatic networks even offering dynamic remarketing creative that can automatically do this for you.

Ads that don’t speak to a user or their intent will never get clicked.

Poor Funnel Design

Another reason that brands lose money on remarketing is that even if they have the audiences segmented out and the right messaging to them, they consistently dump these visitors on pages where they have to restart the conversion process.

If any of your remarketing campaigns are dumping people on the homepage then you need to pause and really think through the user journey. The goal of a remarketing campaign should be a seamless transition back to where a user left off vs putting them on a page where they have to search or navigate toward their ultimate goal. In some cases brands design landing pages specific to conversion that allow users to restart and finish their journey in a space that doesn’t distract them.

Poor Placements

The final way that brands lose money on remarketing is with poor placement management. Similar to search query reports for Google Ads, most programmatic networks and GDN allow you to view performance by placement and if you’ve never audited where your ads show, odds are the bulk of your impressions are on sites and apps that won’t make sense for conversion.

In my experience 40-45% of programmatic impressions are served via in game ads and it takes a lot to convince a customer to stop their quest to beat level 100 in Candy Crush to go back and purchase a product or continue learning about a service. In fact most of your programmatic clicks are likely people in these apps accidentally clicking an ad between levels or battles and this takes budget away from placements where you’re performing well and have better contextual conversion opportunities.

Always audit your placements and make sure your ads are showing where it makes sense.

Paid Media SEO

Generating Leads in Competitive Industries for Less

Photo credit: The talented Zybnek Burival

Generating leads for ultra competitive industries can seem like a prohibitively expensive process. The reason is that for the last two decades brands have been stuck thinking that the only way to consistently generate inquiries is through high dollar Google Ads campaigns with the hope that over time and with enough investment they may be able to get organic visibility and direct traffic from branding.

It’s time for companies to break out of that cycle because there are evergreen and budget friendly ways to generate leads that diversify your marketing mix and improve your overall brand.

Here’s how to do it:

Build a Content Library

Content is king but brands often struggle from a lack of planning/organization or they develop content that is irrelevant, vague or doesn’t connect with their audience. A strong, well written, keyword optimized and interlinked content library that covers all stages of the buying cycle, customer needs, objections and features can generate a consistent volume of leads month in and month out.

Where to start:

The best part is that all the data you need to build a content machine is already out there.

Content Ideas

Google Ads (Free):  Their keyword tool is one of the most powerful business intelligence products on the market. You can literally see what people are searching for, how often they search, competition and other related queries.

AnswerThePublic (Free): This helpful tool scrapes Google Autocomplete data and organizes it by alphabetical, questions and prepositions and is a great way to develop taxonomies

SEMRush (Paid):  This tool offers both of the above and pulls in additional keyword data that won’t be found in Google Ads. One important thing to note with Google Ads data is that it only shows keywords where an ad matched to it so you don’t get the full spectrum of long tail searches that SEMRush provides.

Your CRM/Sales Team (Free): The best place to source content is your closed deals. Often you can find all the objections that had to be overcome, all the obstacles for approval, all the other vendors that were part of the selection process. Lea

Google Trends (Free):  If your business is seasonal, has a regional focus or is taking advantage of a new medium like NFTs then Google Trends is an incredible business tool.

Reddit (Free): Odds are your industry has its own subreddit(s) where your target audience is discussing questions, problems and solutions to what they’re encountering. Avoid spamming these discussions with self-promotion and instead focus on how to take common themes from the content and incorporating them into your content library

Quora (Free): The internet’s question database. Simply type in a keyword and find the most common questions or those with the most answers to uncover opportunity and points of confusion

Leverage Programmatic

Your customer’s search journey is so much more than a one or two word search phrase at the end of the funnel. They might go to 10-25 different places across multiple devices and channels and programmatic ad networks can help message your prospects throughout their journey.

Using lists, competitor sites/apps and other important customer attributes will help you get the best ROI from your campaigns and you can work with your programmatic provider to feed data back to their systems to help further hone in targets.

Where to Start: 

There are a number of great programmatic networks and providers that can help guide your business from setup to final execution.


StackAdapt: They have a great dataset and offer a number of custom ad units that really make brands pop

Criteo: They have the best data of any network but their ad units are fairly generic. Perfect for service based businesses.

Airtory: They have an amazing ad builder that turns your static creative into engaging dynamic ads

Become an Industry Influencer

There are influencers in every industry and becoming one doesn’t mean having to do a catchy Tiktok dance or trying to make a video go viral. You can be an influencer by simply being a consistent source of quality information in the forums and mediums where it matters.

Where to Start:

Reddit and Quora should be the first places you being to establish a presence. What you’ll want to do is start involving yourself as often as you can in discussions relevant to your industry and most importantly you’ll want to give straightforward answers leveraging your experience while not being overly promotional.

Once you’ve taken 2-3 weeks to really involve yourself in these communities, it’s time to start leveraging video, specifically YouTube, Tiktok and Reels to rehash popular discussion topics (with your answers of course) and assert experience.

If you have a well defined audience, then we recommend boosting each post to that group to help with views and subscriber/follower counts and the key here is to consistently post rather than make 3 videos and call it a day.

For an added bonus, you’ll want to then blog about each video and tie to it existing relevant content or use it as the backbone for a strong well researched article.

Brands that do these 3 things will find themselves generating a consistent stream of inbound leads while putting there name out there at every step of the consumer journey.