Monthly Archives: January 2012

Retargeting – How to Research and Launch a Retargeting Campaign



How to Research and Launch a Retargeting Campaign

Retargeting is an online advertising practice that serves your ads to users after they leave your website. Your ads appear all over the web, allowing you to stay in front of your audience even when they’re browsing other sites.  The average American is exposed to over 3,000 advertising messages daily, but most can only specifically recall 2 ads that they’ve ever seen.  Retargeting is a great way to combat so-called “banner blindness,” people’s tendency not to recall online ads, and help you launch a successful branding campaign and remind users of your products and services even if they aren’t on your site.

Here are some important considerations prior to launching a retargeting campaign:

Determine Your Objectives

Take a moment to think about your marketing goals.  What, specifically, are you trying to accomplish?

Do you have only a few website visitors?  If your goal is to drive initial web traffic, retargeting is not the right solution.  You should work on improving your organic search rankings with SEO, and should implement a mix of paid search and display advertising campaigns to get people to your site.

Do you have some traffic coming to your site, but want to improve your conversion rates?  In this case, retargeting is a great solution.  Even if your web traffic isn’t quite as high as you would like it to be, it still could be a good idea to add retargeting into your marketing mix.  Adding retargeting to existing search or display campaigns is a great way to court new site visitors without forgetting about your previous visitors.

If you’ve decided that retargeting is the right (or one of the right) solutions for you, follow the steps outlined below to get started.

Segment your audience

Divide audience into segments based on purchase intent and show them ads accordingly.  Site visitors who only go to your site’s homepage may not yet know much about you, so you should target them with branding ads to get them more familiar with you and your product or service.  However, if a user goes to a specific product page, they may be closer to buying.  In this instance, you may have better results showing ads with specific deals or incentives tailored to the product they looked at.  The most successful retargeting campaign will not treat all site visitors alike.

Set a Frequency Cap

It’s highly recommended to set a frequency cap for your retargeting campaign.  You want your brand to be remembered, but you don’t want your users to feel overwhelmed.  Setting a strict limit on the number of times any given user can see your ads will prevent them from feeling like they’re being followed around the web, as overexposure can lead to negative associations with your brand.

In addition to negative brand associations, you don’t want to run the risk of “banner blindness,” the very problem retargeting sets out to defeat.  If you expose your users to your ads constantly, they will begin to ignore them, diminishing the effectiveness of the retargeting campaign.

Set Conversion and Burn Pixels

A conversion pixel is a snippet of code which tracks when the user converts (for example, makes a purchase or fills out a lead form).  The burn pixel is another snippet which tells your retargeting provider to stop serving ads to the converted user.

This is particularly important if you’re targeting ads related to a specific product or service.  If you’ve been showing a user an ad for a particular suitcase, and then the user purchases is it, there is no constructive purpose to continuing to show them the ad.  If anything, it is likely to have a negative effect on the user who could easily get annoyed seeing ads for a suitcase they already own!


Retargeting can improve conversion rates by up to 300%.  But don’t take my word for it.  If you implement a retargeting campaign, test the results yourself by comparing your traditional display ads’ performance with your retargeting ads’ performance.

And don’t forget to constantly A/B test the copy and creative for your retargeting ads to make sure you’re always putting your best foot forward.

About the Author:

Caroline Watts is a marketing associate at ReTargeter, an online ad platform specializing in retargeting.

Can I Buy Your Business?

Wanna to know why I’m DEAD SERIOUS about buying into EXISTING web businesses at this time?  (And why you might want to click your mouse on the link above and tell me all about your situation NOW to see if there might be a good fit)…
I’ll give you ELEVEN good reasons…
1) I can leverage my marketing skills more quickly
in an existing business which already has momentum.
(It takes 85% of a rocket’s fuel to achieve escape
velocity, but steering it to the moon from there is
relatively effortless if you know what you’re doing,
and if you’ll forgive my immodesty… I DO!)
2) I’ve gotten particularly good at identifying
under-leveraged marketing opportunities after my
years teaching, starting up an agency, etc.
3) I’m A+ at marketing… but I rather suck at the rest.
I used to think  all you needed to do to build a big
business was maximize sales.  Now I know there’s a
nasty word called “operations” (and management,
accounting, negotiations, legal, human resources, etc)…
most of which either bore me to tears, or in which
I seem to have a genetic defect.
4) I’m sick of seeing certain types of students
make more money than me with my own advice.  I love
teaching and will probably always do it, but the plain
truth is there’s a LOT more upside in building a big
business (unless you want to lie to people and tell
them they’ll make b’zillions without much work or

5) It takes the same marketing effort (in many cases)
to double an existing, profitable business as one at
a lower level… but the payoff is SO much better.
6) If I develop a “done for you” conversion doubling
reputation, I’ll be able to leverage my existing
relationships with large brands (as a research
consultant) to find a few VERY large deals and a
piece of the pie on a scale most of us never dream of.
7) I now have the experience and credentials to attract
funding when the opportunity is right (plus I’ve got
SOME capital of my own)
8) I have the attention span of a two year old.  Going
in and optimizing an existing system for a few months,
then putting systems in place so I can move on fits
me perfectly… as long as I can work it out to build
residual income from the gains.
9) If one more person says “Glenn, I believe YOU can
do what you teach and I think it’s fricking amazing…
I just don’t believe I can do it myself” I think I’m
going to climb a clock tower with a deer rifle.  So
here’s the answer… under the right arrangement I can
do it FOR you.  (It’s really NOT so hard, but because
of my credentials and reputation people seem to think
it is)
10) I’ve finally been at this long enough to have
enough Glenn-Trained CONVERSION experts I can
trust to help me do the work (and evaluate the
11) At a certain point in your career, it gets easier to
grow by acquiring, optimizing, and taking existing
businesses to the next level, than going through all
the work associated with building a new one.
A lot easier.
So go ahead, please click NOW while we’re still
seriously evaluating opportunities to see if yours
might be a good fit.

Glenn Livingston Arrested for Drinking

It’s 100% true…

Glenn Livingston was arrested for drinking on January 4th, 2012, and you can see his mugshot here.

It’s pretty scary what you can learn using Google Alerts!

Like most marketers, I have routine alerts out on my name, and for just a moment when I saw this come through I wondered if perhaps I’d been out on a bender I’d forgotten last week (even though I haven’t had a drink in 20+ years… not ’cause I’m an alcoholic–I detest that term–just because I find life more interesting and satisfactory without screwing with my mental state)

I also learned, of course, about the myriad of people stealing my products (we pursue them legally now), and a few things about yet ANOTHER Glenn Livingston who’s a pastor in Illinois up to some interesting things from time to time.

But none of these rather mundane results from Google Alerts come anywhere close to the REAL power of this FREE utility…

(Even though tracking your namesakes’ activities can from time to time generate an attention getting headline)

Because most marketers have absolutely NO idea how to use it…

The REAL way to leverage Google Alerts is to first know with crystal clarity EXACTLY what keyword defines your ideal prospect, plus a very small set of related keywords which surround it.  Taken together these become your “archery target”… the small space which defines EXACTLY WHO YOU WANT TO BE on the internet, and allows you to more or less ignore everything else.

Once you’ve done that, you can combine Google Alerts with Google Reader Feeds (and some anti-RSS-spam code) to automatically collect pretty much EVERYTHING that happens on the internet that’s relevant to you…

And stop getting distracted by everything else…

Which is the ONLY way to build a hyper-responsive marketing system in my humble opinion.

Have any of you found effective-yet-novel uses for Google Alerts we should know about?

Tell me, I’d like to know!

Dr. G 🙂

PS – I’m considering organizing my network and resources to build a “performance-pay-based-conversion boosting-done-for-you” service.  Curious if that’s of interest to any of my readers today

The Worst Way to Start a New Year

What’s the absolute worst way you could imagine starting the new year?

I’ve never really formally thought it through, but you’d have to rank “getting food poisoning” among the top three, don’t you think?

Here’s what happened.

After going through years of crushing debt (most of you know our story – lost $2M that we didn’t have) Sharon and I finally have a few bucks to look after.  Not that we’re rich by any stretch of the imagination, just that we both felt it was time (in part at my bookkeeper’s urging!) to meet with a respected financial planner in the community.

Mary was someone Sharon knew for years through her professional network, and we both thought the Friday before New Years would be the best time to get started with her.  So we made a 4:30 pm appointment (her last of the year!) and were eagerly looking forward to our time with her…

Except life got in the way…

I decided to stop at the supermarket to have a little seafood salad after my workout that morning.  It didn’t taste just right, but I ate it anyway because (1) I was fricking hungry; (2) I tend to have an iron stomach; and (3) my vegan days are over… hand over the fricking meat and nobody gets hurt! (Actually I still eat mostly fruit and vegetables, but that’s a separate story)

Anyway, I had a few pangs in my stomach right afterwards but I just thought I ate too quickly.

By the time I was on my way to the financial planner’s (Mary’s) office I was feeling downright green.

And so when Sharon and I walked in, both dressed in our Sunday best (I was wearing my best white shirt and suit-tie to impress), I promptly shook Mary’s hand and asked where her bathroom was.

It was unfortunately right next to her office…

So I’m sure she heard every last LOUD groan and a myriad of other entirely disgusting noises as the “fun began” (Fun which eventually took four days and five pounds out of my life!)

And when I walked back into her office trying to compose myself I literally said this:

“Mary, tell me this, is it a good sign or a bad sign if a new client immediately starts projectile vomiting as soon as they meet you?”

Now here’s the thing…

She was incredibly sweet.

She dropped everything, called her friend the nurse, ran around the office looking for things I could take in the car for my drive home, got me water, and generally turned into a “Total Mom” instead of a sophisticated financial planner.

Truth is, she probably bonded me to her for life…

And I left there feeling MUCH more willing to risk my money with her.

Of course I’ll keep evaluating things intellectually because that’s what I do, but I can’t tell you how POWERFULLY PRIMITIVE THE FEELING OF TRUST that’s come over me since this event really is!

I actually think the meeting went BETTER for all concerned because of the “PV” (projectile vomiting) incident.

And now that I can actually stand up again (oh my god was this ever the certifiably most disgusting weekend of my life), I can’t shake the two marketing lessons inherent in the story…

First, this major new project (getting started with a financial planner) went about as far from my plans as it could possibly go, yet the direction it DID go in laid the groundwork for an even more successful relationship.

How many of us start projects only to see things go wrong… so very very wrong, and feel incredibly demoralized, ill, and almost unable to continue?   Yet precious few of us look at these wrong turns as opportunities.  Even fewer LEVERAGE those opportunities.

How many of you have projects you started on January 1st which are already turning out differently than you planned?  (Keep this in mind as the month progresses!)

The second marketing inspiration from this odd story is in observing the connection Mary made with her prospect (me) by “stepping out of the role”…

You see we all set up a defined set of rules, expectations, responsibilities and behaviors associated with our business dealings…

I was expecting Mary to intellectually analyze our finances, tell us where to put our money, and help us put more controls in place to monitor budgets, etc.  I thought we’d have a perfectly rational conversation as two mature, adult intellectuals solving an intriguing financial puzzle…

Instead I puked and made a friend.

And as I thought of this paradox, I recalled how many patients I could only finally connect with when I “stepped out of role”…

Everything from the 400 pound Hell’s Angel member who told me “I like to hurt people with my head” (as he pulled back his hair and showed me a ridiculous number of scars I rather quickly moved BEHIND my desk)

To the policeman who couldn’t stop obsessing about “going to hell” (he was very religious) until I told him in all seriousness that I’d be happy to be his doctor in hell if he’d have me…

To the executive who I finally told in exasperation to just go pee on his cigarettes if he really wanted to quit because all this talking wasn’t doing anyone any good…

To the 13 year old boy I earnestly told to do his best to get “D’s” in school because F’s were too easy and A’s were for nerdy losers (he got straight A’s after that)

And I thought of all the clients who, despite their respect for my intellectual-spreadsheet-ways, light up and remind me of all the crazy stories they read on my blog, ask me if my wife ever let me have a cat (she did!),  or ask me for a hug saying “cockroach” at a seminar (I’ll make you search my blog for that one)

And so how can we TEMPLATE these lessons so you can leverage them in your own marketing?…

1) Expect things to go wrong with your plans this year.  BIG things.  Count on it. Nothing’s easy any more… but the marketers who succeed are the ones who can shift on a dime and see the opportunity in the crises.

2) Ask yourself what the “rules” are in the way you do business. Then ask yourself where it might behoove you to BREAK your own rules with your more important clients.

Fair enough?

OK, so this is the part where if I was totally over my food poisoning I’d say “food for thought”…

But today I think I’d better just say

“Onwards and Upwards”

Dr. G 🙂

PS – Big things planned this year.  I’m sure some big mistakes too.

PPS – I have one coaching slot open if anyone wants it.  (Grab it today if you’re interested please as it’s usually taken within 24 hours when I open it.  Press refresh on the page after clicking the link to be sure you’re seeing the most current status)