How is Google Site Retargeting is Like Santa?

Nothing on Santa, but the big guy can't possibly track this kid like Google "Site Retargeting" ads

He knows when you’ve been sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve filled a shopping cart, so don’t abandon it for goodness sakes. Those banner ads you’ve been seeing on random web pages are quite smart, are they not? Perhaps too smart? Almost like they know who you are? Maybe watching you while YOU sleep? Maybe the ad contains some items you left behind, and might otherwise be sent to the Island of Misfit Purchases?
In the case of “Santa vs. Site Retargeting” let’s examine Exhibit A. To my right is a wonderfully simple and precise example of a non-intrusive (compared to e-mail spam or telemarketing) but highly sophisticated online-ad campaign by CafePress, the company that sells and markets my customized Nalts merchandise despite the fact that few hard-working Americans have yet purchased dingle.

CafePress pays Google a tiny amount of money, and Google shared a tiny portion with the site that served this ad.

Hang in there, folks. We’re building toward the moment you’ll see how it’s not for a lack of smart marketing on CafePress’ side (I had nothing to do with this ad except as a consumer). Now I’ve not yet created clever merchandise for my little CafePress Nalts store, or a significant “call to action” of my audience for this loot because, well, I’m lazy and even I don’t want to appear too pushy. That said, I certainly notice my fellow YouTubers going mental pushing t-shirts, hoodies and custom shoes).

While researching site retargeting (I mean “remarketing) I literallly came across the ad that I’ve copied into the right column. Go ahead and click it. No really, click it. It won’t bite…. It took you to the CafePress Nalts store (which I’m trying to diversify with some products that aren’t so, well, “Nalts”). If you go so far as to select and item and put it into your basket, it’s not the last you’ll see of those luxurious items.

Skip this paragraph if you’re a digital marketing dude familiar with Adwords and Adsense. For the rest? The quickest summary on Google’s Adwords vs. Adsense. Google Adwords is a tool that allows marketers/sellers to “target” ads to individual audiences. Google Adsense is a money maker for publishers or audience generates, hence how YouTube creators receive income based on their portion of the ads we viewers endure. More commonly Adsense is the marketplace vehicle for website publishers or bloggers to to receive income by inviting Google to place these ads in whatever units they prefer (horizontal, squares, banners). It’s mostly an auction model where advertisers pay small amounts by how many ads appear (CPM, cost per thousand) or are clicked (CPC, cost per click).

Google AdWords quietly launched “site remarketing” this year, and avoided the term “retargeting,” perhaps to distinguish itself from the somewhat creepier origin of this practice (which involved cookies and sometimes some breaches on personal data). In fact it shows off some very smart strategies that would normally be available to agencies or media buyers.

Here’s the key paragraph from this post that will be on the test. This CafePress ad unit to your above right is dynamically generated to EXACTLY resemble my abandoned shopping cart on Cafepress! That’s not a dumb banner ad that says “click here” or “ignore me.” It’s the friggin ghost of my abandoned shopping basket! It’s a polite reminder saying “yes, pardon me, sir… we hate to bother you, but did you want us to put these things back on the shelf or would you care to take them home? Most importantly, the ad does not know who you are. It just knows that the person using your browser at one point shopped at a store or visited a website.

Abandoned shopping carts use site-remarketing to tell you they're sad, scared and lonely.

Why is this important? Remember, folks, I’m not just a blogger and video fart guy. I’m also consulting with big brands, and trust me when I say this… site retargeting (remarketing) kicks the ass of about any other form of advertising. It’s insanely targeted, efficient, and drives a measurable ROI that is almost unsurpassed.

Let’s put this in physical terms for the few of you who haven’t dozed off. My wife and I load a shopping cart at a Marshalls stores ever few weeks, and about 30% of the time we actually buy the loot. The other 70% of the time we decide the crap’s not quite good enough for the chaotic line. Given the Marshall’s operations team’s inability staff appropriately, what if a bright Marshalls marketing executive later posted a sign on Route 611 that said, (without mentioning our names): “50% off off-season beach towels, a size 49.5 men’s belt, $35 Bostonian shoes.” I’d say to my lady, “Yeah we almost bought them there goods, honey. What say we go back for them, and pick up them kids who’ve been missing since last time we was at Marshalls?”

When I'm done dropping these prices, I suppose I'll be returning Nalts' abandoned shopping cart to the shelves

To sum it up:

  1. Santa knows you’ve been bad or good, but site retargeting (er, remarketing) knows where, when, and how. It’s like a sad and lonely shopping cart that knows the “sun will come out tomorrow… bet your bottom dollar.”
  2. Santa brings you the loot… or not. But site retargeting politely follows you around until you finally say — okay, you’re right. I wanted those goodies, and I’ll just have to swallow the shipping price (I think free shipping would be more effective than the code for 15% off, which doesn’t even appear to work).
  3. It’s time to expand the old marketing truism that “it’s easier to sell more things to an existing customer than a new one.” Let’s treat site visitors — whether to the homepage or to an abandoned cart — as customers not prospects. We can serve their needs (whether they need them or not) with the efficient tools at even a small business’ disposal.

And hell, compared to elves, they’re cheaper, less likely to unionize, and slightly less creepy.

"All I ever wanted to be was a dentist... or marketer."
creepy elves

Author: Nalts

Hi. I'm Nalts.

3 thoughts on “How is Google Site Retargeting is Like Santa?”

  1. Often though I’ve found that these types of ads are targeting me to buy things I already own. I get tons of 23andme ads, but I’ve already had my DNA tested, not really something I need 2x. Same with the Zeo. I visit the zeo site and then start seeing its ads all over. Already own one, thanks. I feel bad that the ad money for those smaller companies gets wasted like that.

  2. I’d heard about this a while ago, but I never knew if it actually worked as advertised since I block ads on all but a couple web sites. (I white list some sites that I want to support, but there’s no way I’m going back to watching YouTube with ads. Those in video pop ups are irritating and I’ve heard that the dreaded pre-rolls are relatively common now.)

    As a marketer, I’m curious what your perspective is on ad blockers. Apparently you don’t use one. Are you philosophically opposed to them or have you never gotten around to using one?

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