The Truth About Remarketing + Retargeting Ads

19 min read
16-Sep-2019 11:03:22 AM


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Podcast Transcript

Kevin: Hey everybody and welcome back to Digital Fuel podcast with Kevin and Matt. Kevin D'Arcy here from ThingsFuel Marketing. As always I've got my cohost, Matt, from Matty G Digital. Matt, how you're doing this morning?
Matt: My wife and you have both told me that I'm grumpy today.
Kevin: Well, we're going to get to that in a second, because I know what's got you all fired up and that's the reason that we're choosing today's topic, which, of course, is Remarketing And Retargeting.
Kevin: But, before I get into that, just a blatant shout-out and plug for ourselves here. If you guys are looking for awesome marketing services, whether it's for a local business or your midsize technology company or anything in between, go check us out. You can reach Matt's website at or my site,
Kevin: There's our blatant plug for today, now let's talk about remarketing. For anyone who's not familiar with the terms remarketing or retargeting, essentially what they are is they are those ads that you see that tend to follow you around the internet.
Kevin: You looked at a product or service online and then later that day when you're on Facebook or Instagram, you see an ad related to that product and that company. You are on Huffington Post later that afternoon reading an article and all of a sudden, there, that pops up again in front of you in that article.
Kevin: So it's ads that keep coming back over and over again, and they're typically used to improve brand awareness, but also add touchpoints to the marketing process. By that I mean, typically, when somebody is on your website for the first time, they're not ready to buy, they're not going to make an investment at that point. They're there doing some research, seeing if you have the right product or service for them.
Kevin: But, once they leave, what are we doing? We're relying on them to remember our company, our brand, our website, and come back to it when they're ready. Remarketing is one of these ways, one of these tools, that we can start following them around so that we're always top-of-mind for them.
Kevin: As we mentioned off the top, Matt's all fired up about remarketing and retargeting today. And so, Matt, why don't you tell us a little bit about what's got you angry today?
Matt: I was watching this podcast the other night, the Joe Rogan Podcast, and he had Neil deGrasse Tyson on talking about remarketing. It wasn't exactly about remarketing per say. I think they were talking more about internet privacy, but the conversation quickly turned to the ads that were following them around. They're not aware, remarketing, retargeting, whatever they refer to them as.
Matt: The thing that really started getting me upset in general as I took a step back and think about it was when intellectuals, two people that I believe are smart, Neil deGrasse Tyson, an extremely intelligent person, when intellectuals like that start talking about things that they're not really familiar with.
Matt: Now, generally speaking, I don't have a problem with that. A full supporter of free speech, all that kind of stuff, but when you are dealing with an audience of that size, the amount of people that listen to that podcast, I imagine they're in the millions, and you have someone like Neil deGrasse Tyson who is renowned as a very intelligent person talking about a certain topic, that audience starts to hang on every word and think that what they're saying is factual and true.
Matt: When you start talking about topics that you're really not as familiar with, that starts to bother me, because I think it just puts a black mark on our industry, digital marketing, and remarketing in general.
Matt: So I started getting really fired up and upset about it because, I started to see the lot in the last couple months and even years. You see a lot of politicians talking about Google and the things that are going on there. I don't think that there's a proper understanding from them either about what's going on. So that's basically the beginning of that frustration and anger.
Matt: The thing that first started to bother me was when he was complaining about Google or just these remarketing ads denying him the ability to stumble upon things that he previously would not have seen. Like the art of browsing, which I'm not super sure I understood exactly his argument or his feeling, I just thought it was a little bit odd. I just thought it was a slap in the face to marketing in general, which is a bit strange.
Matt: The thing that really started to get me upset and kind of confused by the whole thing was he started talking about a story of a girl that was online and doing some searches about being pregnant, pregnancy tests, all that kind of stuff. Then he explained that, later on in the mail, she was sent coupons because of those searches. That's when I literally paused the podcast and was like, "How could that be? That makes absolutely no sense."
Kevin: It's funny that it reminds me of a quote from Arthur C. Clark, and I'm sure I'm bastardizing this at this point, but the gist of it was that magic is just science that we don't understand yet.
Kevin: That's what's happening and what you're alluding to was Neil deGrasse Tyson on these podcasts, the politicians that you're talking about, just because they don't understand how the algorithms work, how that remarketing and retargeting works, they tend to jump to conclusions about how it works.
Kevin: They tend to create these conspiracy theories because they fit it a narrative and it goes from there. I mean, well, yeah, when you talk about that story of the 16-year-old girl getting pregnancy coupons and kid coupons in the mail and the problem that created for her home life, obviously, you're right.
Kevin: I mean, there's not a connection between me looking at a website about pregnancy tests and all of a sudden receiving the stuff in the mail. The only way-
Matt: [crosstalk 00:06:47]. Not in the physical mail, of course.
Kevin: No, no, absolutely not. The only way that that can happen is if she filled out some kind of form or some kind of information. I mean, maybe the place she was looking at with pregnancy tests had a form that you could fill out that had a guide or some kind of ebook or whatever that she was interested in. Or maybe she just wanted to subscribe to their mailing list.
Kevin: As soon as you put in your information like that, yeah, sure. You're going to end up with stuff flowing into your mailbox, potentially, if you're providing your address. That's part of their marketing campaign, but there's no way to link somebody who is just visiting your website to their physical address without them providing that information.
Matt: Yeah. She had to have signed up for something and given her consent in some way for something to be mailed to her. That's where I freak out because, I was like, "There's absolutely no way that that could happen." If people hear that though, that's scary.
Matt: That is a massive breach of privacy and there's just no way that that would ever happen. I think that's when these things do get scary for people, and they're like, "You know what, maybe I should stop using the internet. Maybe I need to get a tinfoil hat."
Kevin: You already have a tinfoil hat though. Don't you, Matt?
Matt: You have to, up where I am.
Kevin: Yeah, I figured. I mean, you could be stylish and just line the inside of your ball cap with tinfoil. It would get you the same result, I think, but you'd still look good.
Matt: Yeah. Speaking of stylish, one of the other reasons why I'm so fired up today is, no one can see this because we're not on video, but the fact that you're wearing suspenders has got me all fired up and angry.
Kevin: They are my brand new suspenders, if anyone's interested in it. They just came in yesterday. I've been extremely excited about it. I bought them on Amazon, actually, and in true fashion the first time I looked at them I wasn't ready for them, but later that day I saw an ad for them again. So, bam, I bought them. Matt is, obviously, clearly, visibly rattled by this because I look so much better than he does right now in these suspenders. That's all there is to it. Now-
Matt: That's a matter of opinion, but, actually, that's a good question though. Did you actually purchase because you were triggered by that remarketing ad?
Kevin: Yeah, It accelerated it. I mean, obviously, I went and looked at them because, as you know I'm a suspenders kind of guy. I enjoy them, if there's such a thing. I was looking at some new ones. I had some new shirts, needed some new ones to go with it and I was just poking around.
Kevin: Now, there was a lot of other factors that led to me purchasing it. I happen to have a gift card given to me recently from Amazon, so I have some free money, if you will, that was burning a hole in my pocket. The timing was right, but the ad that I saw made me realize that, "Yeah, let's just go back. Let's buy them now so that I can get them before the week's over."
Matt: Yeah, and I think that's the whole point of remarketing. Is like you explained at the beginning, it's keeping things top-of-mind and, without sounding like a giant marketing nerd, but statistics show that people are going to interact with the brand 12 times before they actually make a purchase and, in some cases, that makes no sense.
Matt: If you have mice running around in your basement, you're going to call an exterminator right away after one search. If your toilet's overflowing, you're going to search for a plumber and you're going to contact, probably, the first one. If you're looking for suspenders, you're probably not spending a ton of time looking for them. It's a lower-consideration purchase, especially if you've seen the ones that Kevin purchased.
Kevin: I spent weeks analyzing, reading reviews, testimonials. There is a lot that goes into this. But, anyhow ...
Matt: But, higher-consideration purchases, I always like to throw out. Like if you're shopping for a vacation or a mortgage, you're going to be looking around a lot. Those are going to be your 12 touchpoints with a brand and that's going to be with multiple brands. That's the important thing.
Matt: When people are doing those high-consideration purchases, they're looking around, they're checking out your competitors, you want to make sure that you are hitting as many different channels as possible. That's staying top-of-mind with remarketing on those websites, on those social platforms, et cetera.
Kevin: Yeah, and it's kind of interesting, that reminded me of a story from one of my customers as well. That always still makes me chuckle because, like you talked about, a lot of people don't understand how remarketing and retargeting works and they actually had won an account.
Kevin: One of the factors that actually played into it was a remarketing campaign we were running for them. The customer, when they came in to tour this customer's facility, they said, "I never realized how big you guys were until I saw your ads running on CNN's website." You and I know that how that works. They were on the website earlier in the day, a couple of days ago, whatever it was, and we were purchasing very geographic-restricted, retargeting ads on CNN.
Kevin: So next time they were on there to check their morning news, boom, there comes that vendor that they were considering. It added credibility in the mind of their potential prospect because they were advertising and being, in their mind, "featured" on such a prestigious website.
Matt: No, that's really cool. Yeah, that's something that people don't always know about either and some tactics around that. Do you find, when you're explaining remarketing to people you're hoping to work with or your partners, that they are understanding of it or are scared of it or what's their general thought on remarketing when you talk to them about it?
Kevin: The word creepy gets thrown around a lot, but everybody that I talk to is fairly receptive to it. I haven't had anybody say, "No. No, I think that's going to freak out our customers. I think that's going to scare them off. We don't want to be that people who are following them around stalking them, annoying them, things like that."
Kevin: A lot of people go, "Yeah, that's crazy," or, "that's creepy how those types of ads work and they follow me around," but when you walk through the multiple touchpoints that are needed to bring a prospect from initial research to closing a sale, people understand that it's a really valuable way to do it. I think one of the other reasons that we don't get a lot of pushback on it is when we show them examples of other ads that we're running, we're not making these ads creepy.
Kevin: We're not doing something like showing them a specific product that they were looking at earlier, like what an Amazon does. Which, yeah, that can be a little creepy. I still think it's a good tactic, but I can see where people feel that. We'll show them ads that are geared more towards thought leadership, pushing them back to a content download or a promo offer, depending on the right type of situation.
Kevin: We're not saying, "Hey, we specifically know that you were looking at the X, Y, Z product," we just position it more as brand awareness, almost thinking of it like advertising around the rink at a hockey game. Nobody who sees Cannon's logo on the boards and goes, "I've got to go buy a new printer when I get home." But, anytime I'm sitting there looking at a new printer, I recognize the brand of Canon because I see them everywhere.
Matt: Yeah. Well, I'm not surprised that the word creepy is thrown out a lot in conversations with you but, generally speaking, I get it a lot whenever I'm talking about remarketing to people for the first time. I would say like, more often than not, at a minimum, three quarters of the time people are, not disturbed, but it happens a lot. Where it's like, "Oh, we don't want to do that. That's creepy. That is too much for us." I always like to explain it using two different hats.
Matt: One of which is the consumer hat and me personally and how I feel about things. I'd much rather see ads that are targeted towards me, interests that I may have, than things that have absolutely nothing to do with me. I'm trying to think of a good example. This might be nonsense, but my son is allergic to honeydew melon of all things. Would it make any sense for me to see a billboard or an ad for honeydew melon to bring that into my home and him to eat? No, absolutely not. I want to [crosstalk 00:15:46]
Kevin: You shared a bit the other day that ad that popped up in your Instagram feed for ED pills. I mean, you needs stuff that's relevant to you.
Matt: I think that was a similar audience because of interactions with you, but we can agree to disagree on that one. But you know what I mean, I'd rather see things that are targeted to me. I'm on things like sports pages or I like following stuff about movies and TV. I want to see ads for that. I don't want to see things that have absolutely nothing to do with me. I am much more interested in things that I'm going to purchase and have an interest in, of course.
Kevin: When you bring up the good point there, and I mean I think this gets to the heart of what a lot of people have a misconception of. Which is, the internet is not free. Yeah, you pay for your internet providers, so you can get on there. That's an obvious one, but any of those tools that you're using, if you go on Facebook, yeah, there's not a cost associated with you being on Facebook, but they're this huge, massive company. So, how are they making profit? Well, they're using the data that you put in there and things that you look at and things that you interact with, to show you relevant ads. Exactly to your point. Same-
Matt: Yeah, of course. If you're using Chrome, that's a Google product and-
Kevin: Exactly.
Matt: ... they are trying to sell stuff to you. If you use Safari on your iPhone, that's an Apple product. They're trying to sell things to you. Not to [inaudible 00:17:18], this might be a terrible argument, but if you don't like it don't use the internet. It's not a free service. You're not entitled to use the internet for free. It's not just yours to go and browse with.
Matt: But even to that point, the more we're talking of this and thinking about this, it's the same with the newspapers and traditional marketing also. Those ads are being purchased in newspapers by business owners because you are local. They're using your demographics, they're using your interests in the newspaper and people don't seem to be complaining about that.
Kevin: Well, and it's a good point. Even there you see the concept of targeted ads, because people aren't stupid about it. People aren't going to waste their ad dollars. If you pick up the Toronto Star or something on the weekend and you look at the wheels section, I don't even know if there is still a wheel section, but there used to be anyhow.
Kevin: You're going to see ads inside that section for new cars. you're not going to see that in the home and decor section because, if I'm looking at the home and decor section, I'm probably not in the market for cars. I'm not super interested in cars at that moment. If I'm reading the wheels section, I have an interest in cars.
Matt: Yeah. It's actually a good point too because, I don't know, [crosstalk 00:18:35]
Kevin: Of course, it is.
Matt: I don't know if this makes any sense, but I'm not a car guy, but I am a guy and it would be assumed that I would like to read about cars. That's not true. I prefer that there are platforms like Google and Facebook, et cetera, that are picking up on my interests and giving me information that I am interested in. I don't want to see something about cars, I don't care about cars.
Kevin: I mean, we spend a lot of time complaining about how people perceive these types of ads and not a whole lot of time about how they can be really effectively used. So, what would you say are your top tips for people who want to get into remarketing?
Matt: Well, yeah, going back to the conversation and the point I was getting at earlier, we were talking about two different hats and how I think about remarketing. I talked a bit about the consumer and me personally, but the other one is as a marketer or as a business owner.
Matt: When I talk to people and they're like, "Oh, I don't know about this. This might be a bit too creepy." I always just throw out there like, "This is a tool that is available to us. Other people are using it. How can we not use it? Why would you not want to get in front of the people that have been on your website and that've looked at your brand and continue to stay top-of-mind?"
Matt: I just think it's nonsensical if you are a marketer and a business owner and you're not cool with these type of tools. What are you doing? You're trying to get your brand out there and you need to use these tools that are available to us.
Kevin: I think one of the big things too that we haven't even touched on with this. Typically, remarketing, retargeting, is one of your most cost-effective forms of PPC advertisement.
Matt: Yes.
Kevin: If you go on a platform like LinkedIn as an example, and you build out a target market for CEOs in the tech space with over 150 employees, you're going to be paying eight, nine, $10 or more a click. Matt, to show my ads 1,000 times to people who've been on my website across Facebook and Instagram, what am I looking at?
Matt: All I'll say is, it's more expensive to acquire new eyes on your brand than it is to continue to get in front of people that already know who you are. As in, they've been on your website, they've checked you out. If it were me, would you not be more interested in following the people that already have discovered you, already are a bit familiar with your brand, than trying to get new eyes?
Matt: I understand that, yes, new eyes are important and there's a time and place for that, but when it comes to wanting to actually get in front of people that, again, they've already been on your website, they've checked you out on social, those people know who you are. That's important to stay top-of-mind. They're closer to purchasing from you. Those clicks are, and those impressions, so being on someone's screen is much cheaper than, again, acquiring a new set of eyes on things.
Matt: Like, if you're on Google a remarketing click is going to be, worst-case scenario, a dollar. Facebook would be much less and, generally speaking, you're going to be a lot less than both platforms. It's like worst-case scenario, it's a dollar for that type of thing. But, if someone was looking for something brand new to your company, so say you were selling digital marketing services on Google and you wanted to click for that, I'm not sure what that would be.
Matt: It's closer to 10 bucks, for sure. A lot closer, and that's someone that has no idea who you are and you are just trying to stand out from four ads, plus 10 organic spots, plus maps and all that kind of stuff. So you're going to spend $10 for a click on something that you're not really sure what's going to happen from it. So, it is much more cost effective and I just genuinely think it's a very effective way to stay top-of-mind with people.
Kevin: Well, and just kind of my last thought on this, because you brought up a good point there is, people get consumed with getting those new eyes, but without a plan to convert those new eyes, you are throwing a lot of money away. Because, if all we're doing, if we're not using remarketing and if they didn't convert on their first visit to our website, chances are they're going to be gone forever.
Matt: They're toast.
Kevin: Yeah. We're hoping that we align, that they remember our name, remember the website and they make it back to us again when they're ready and they don't hit our competitor first.
Matt: For sure. If you're a service in the B2B space and you've spent, let's say, 10 bucks on a click to your website, they look around, then they leave. They're going to look at competitors because, services, you're going to look and compare people. They're going to look at your competitors, then they're going to check out Facebook, they're going to check out Instagram, all these things.
Matt: Then your competitors, probably, are using remarketing or they're probably utilizing some tactics, like Kevin can talk about in brand approach with certain automation, et cetera. You need to be staying on top of mind with those people. Like, those high-consideration purchases, they're not purchasing within 24 hours. It might be later that month, it might be like three months from now.
Matt: Google will tell you that people that see these remarketing ads are over 40% more likely to search for your brand later on Google and they're over 40% more likely to come back to your website directly, so typing your address right into their browser specifically. Those are good odds, those are good advantages to have for that cost.
Kevin: Absolutely. Final thoughts, Matt, on any of this before we wrap up for today?
Matt: Oh, I don't know how to properly summarize this. It's just something that's been bothering me the last, again, three to six months where there's a lot of misconceptions out there about marketing. I suspect maybe marketers have done this to ourselves with the amount of content that we put out, but I would encourage people to not just listen to whatever is being [inaudible 00:25:15] to them. I sound like a crazy conspiracist-
Kevin: Yes, you do.
Matt: ... but I would encourage people to find that trusted name within our industry that you trust. Maybe it's me, it's probably not Kevin, so just come to me and ask us like, "What's going on with this? That sounds crazy. That's nonsense. Can I be on a website looking about debt relief or can I be on a website looking for a family divorce lawyer and can I get pamphlets in the mail after that?"
Matt: Absolutely not. It's absolutely, total nonsense. Try to look outside the box and find answers and solutions to this stuff. It shouldn't be so scary. Marketing shouldn't be so complicated and it shouldn't be so scary. There's a lot of great tools and opportunities out there for marketers and business owners to utilize and we should be utilizing all of them.
Kevin: Well, that was quite a long summary, if you will. But-
Matt: Yeah, get off my lawn, kids.
Kevin: Yeah, exactly, you tinfoil-hat-wearing old man, but Matt's right. It's about, if you don't have a plan in place to nurture and reengage those people who visited your website, you're wasting all of that money up front getting them there the first time.
Kevin: I think that's the heart of it. Like Matt also said, your competitors are using this. A lot of people are using these tactics. It's time to get over the idea of them being creepy and do them in a professional way that enhances your brand.
Kevin: So, that wraps up our podcast here for today. This was an exciting one. Matt, I appreciate you toning it down a little bit compared to when we talked about this off-the-air. Initially, you were pretty hawked out on this. So yeah.
Matt: Oh yeah.
Kevin: [crosstalk 00:27:17].
Matt: Yeah, I was drinking Monster Energys and just punching holes in drywall before we hopped on the podcast.
Kevin: Well, thanks again, Matt. Do you have anything to add before we hop off?
Matt: Auf Wiedersehen, my friend.
Kevin: All righty, sir. You take care now.

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