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  by Dustin Ford |

PPC and Retargeting – The Cross-Channel Strategy that Gets the Best Results

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Implementing a marketing strategy that works across multiple channels can be an extremely rewarding effort. There are a lot of tools that work well in conjunction with one another. PPC and retargeting are two of the most popular online marketing tools, and for good reason. When used together, they can produce some really outstanding results. So, if you want to make the most out of your cross-channel strategy, this is the place to start.

How Do They Work?

Before we can speak about why these two marketing tools work so well together, it’s worth looking into how each of them works individually. That’s going to give you some idea of what their strong points and weaknesses are.


Pay-per-Click (PPC), also known as Cost-per-Click (CPC) is a really easy to use, straightforward means of advertising online. It works much in the same way traditional advertising does. Basically, you buy a spot on a website, and for each user that clicks your ad, the host receives payment.

PPC is a really good way to spread the word about your website. Depending on where you choose to advertise, it can also be a great way to develop your brand image, since you’ll most likely be associated with the websites you advertise on.

Once a user has clicked on your ad, you can either bring them to your homepage or a custom landing page. All in all, custom PPC landing pages are pretty much the way to go. Sending your potential customer to a homepage is likely not going to convince them to become buyers.

You should always make sure that the process of buying online is as easy as possible. Buying things online is different than browsing through a shop in real life. On the internet, everyone’s interested in speed and efficiency. So, don’t make your lead dig through your website to find an offer that suits them. They’re unlikely to do that.

PPC is great for maximizing your brand’s visibility, but it can’t do much more than that. In the first quarter of 2014, the average conversion rate of online shoppers through advertising was less than 1%. That’s partly because it takes a little while before people decide to make an investment. It’s unlikely your leads are going to convert the instant they hit your page. Or at any rate, you can’t really rely on instant conversion.


And that’s where retargeting comes in. If you’re using Google AdWords, you’ll see it under the name of “remarketing.” Don’t worry, they’re more or less the same thing. As the name implies, what this marketing tool does is to target your leads again, after they’ve left the site. Retargeting tools use cookies to do that. These are short pieces of code, otherwise known as pixels, that tag the leads who have visited your page.

Once they’ve left, the pixel sends info about your leads online whereabouts to the retargeting provider. That why, they can send targeted ads, which are more likely to strike a chord with your potential customer. Making your ads stick is all about timing. With retargeting, you don’t have to worry about that. Eventually, some of your leads are going to stumble upon your ads once again, at the right time and the right place.

Without retargeting, rarely do leads ever convert immediately after landing on your page. Numbers differ quite a lot from study to study, but most agree that less than 10% of all visitors convert without retargeting. With this tool, however, you can recover almost all of the potential customers you lost the first time around.

Two basic methods fall into this category, display retargeting and Remarketing Lists for Search Ads. Display retargeting is very easy to use. However, it can have some unwanted consequences. For example, if your customer is working on a shared computer at home, if they visit your site, they might not be the ones to view your ad later on.

Display ads will also pop up next to other ads, which you cannot control. This can create some unfortunate associations, which might put off your client. You can choose what types of websites your ad is going to appear on, to limit this risk.

RLSAs don’t just randomly send display ads to the customers on your list. They also keep track of keywords your previous visitors are searching for. This can allow you to continue pursuing those leads that are still genuinely interested in making a purchase, and adapt your bidding strategy according to the terms potential leads are looking for.

This method also allows you to segment your leads into specific ad groups. Generally, marketers avoid bidding on generic terms, since they are quite expensive, and yield little to no conversions. But if you have a clear idea who is genuinely interested in a particular word, you can safely retarget ads only to that group.

PPC and Retargeting – a Match Made in Heaven

With your RLSAs in place, you can optimize your PPC campaign to target each segment of your audience for maximum efficiency. RLSAs take the guesswork out of bidding on search terms.

With traditional display ads, one of the biggest mistakes that tended to drive off many potential clients was the high frequency with which ads were displayed. In a 2016 statistic, 73% of the respondents claimed they were annoyed by pop-up ads, and almost half said the same about online banner ads. Though, you must keep in mind that pop-up blockers can be disabled if your marketing strategy isn’t intrusive or annoying.

Limiting your retargeting strategy to just those users who are still interested is much more likely to lead to a successful conversion. And it’s not going to alienate other potential leads that might need some time to cool down until they can be approached again. PPC will help you get those initial lists, and after the successful implementation of your retargeting campaign, you can further adjust it.

A lot of the times, PPC is actually losing a company money. In the beginning, many marketers have trouble determining the words they should bid on or overbid. These values can be corrected over time, but with a proper retargeting campaign in place, the losses can be reduced drastically.

How to Set It Up

To get started on cross-channel PPC/Retargeting campaign in AdWords, you’ll first want to set up a bid strategy, budget, and campaign name. Then, you should type in an ad group name. Be sure to make it descriptive. You are the only one who can see it. These are the first steps in creating a PPC strategy.

When you set up your Retargeting lists, you will receive a tag that is going to be added to the cookie info. By default, these lists will add anyone who visits your site. In time, however, you can create custom lists. You can do this by going to the Shared Libraries tab in AdWords, and click Audiences. The first time you do this, you will be asked to “Set Up Remarketing.” After you’ve gone through the setup, you can click on +Remarketing list.

The most important step is the Add rule one. This will help determine each category of visitors that goes into a group. Rules can take the form of words, values or even dates. You can use this method to target your ads even based on the geographical location of your customers.

After this, there is one other thing you must add, namely membership duration. This value adds a time limit to how long a visitor is going to be part of a list. You can still continue tagging them even after their membership has expired, but they will no longer see the ads designed for the group they were part of. You can use this value to help maintain some diversity when it comes to the ads your visitors are seeing.

These are just two of the more popular online marketing tools that go well together. There are probably dozens of other combinations that are equally efficient. All it takes is a little know-how and a lot of imagination to get the best results. Find out what works best with you, and share your findings so that the whole community can benefit, and maybe even improve upon your insights. Marketing is just as much an art, as it is a science, so the more people you bring on board to develop the field, the better it’s going to be for everyone involved.

Image Source: Pixabay

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