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.