Remarketing and ROAST

Remarketing and ROAST

ROAST • 11/04/2017


As a digital marketer, I often get the classic “oh, so you’re to blame for those ads that follow me around the internet”. The public has been known to see remarketing as a little intrusive and presumptuous; for instance, when it ruins surprises between people with shared computers. To advertisers, however, remarketing has become the staple of retailers large and small, driving efficient ROIs and more personalised advertising experiences for customers.

We are now moving towards an online world where best-in-class advertisers are providing fully personalised and bespoke online experiences, with improved automation options, increased feed-usage and more comprehensive tracking making this possible. Personalisation is now seen as vital for driving better performance, and companies that do not use it will immediately be at a disadvantage to the competition.

In addition to creating a personalised on-site experience, advertising creative served off-site can also be tailored using feed-based remarketing.  This goes beyond traditional segmentation of demographics and placements and brings the granularity down to the individual user level.


The History of Dynamic Remarketing

Remarketing came to the Google Display Network seven years ago, in the first half of 2010. Since then, many products have been added to the offering, and more recently Facebook have begun releasing similar products:

Timeline (002)


Example & Setup

When browsing the Shrimps site, a user looks at the following pages:


Each of these page views is tracked with the product IDs linked back to each site visitor and stored within the cookie associated with them. Then, rather than a static ad creative, the user will be served an automated product ad that looks like this when browsing a different site:



The ads fit into the consumer journey much more neatly when products in which the user has already shown an interest are served. The above example is a simple version with no text or call to action, however Google’s Ad Gallery offers many customisation options to bring these dynamic ads in line with the look and feel of your brand. In other words, you don’t have to have a lovely pink background if your creative vision isn’t as pink-oriented as this Creative Director.

When using standard static remarketing, the level of personalisation attainable depends on the granularity of the ad group targeting. For example, we can split out remarketing lists for different areas of the site, by demographic or by placement. With this level of granularity, you can spread your impressions too thinly by ad group and end up losing the insights that larger data sets provide.


Prices, calls to action and carousel functionality can all be programmed into the ad format, and multiple dimensions can be created simultaneously using the same design.

Shrimps ad gif


Comparing Performance

This is all very well, but “what of performance?” I hear you ask. Well, I’m glad you did, because we have run tests for a variety of ROAST’s clients to answer that very question. Where we had legacy static remarketing in place, we set up Dynamic for the client and run them alongside each other for the purposes of testing. We have compared Dynamic and Static display ads across the GDN for our clients and identified clear differences in performance:


The findings are conclusive. ROAST’s clients are paying slightly more per click for the Dynamic remarketing clicks, but the Dynamic remarketing traffic converts at a rate that is 80% higher than the Static remarketing conversion rate. The ROAS for Dynamic is more than double that of Static and CPA is 41% lower.

Higher CTRs also imply an overall better experience for the users, interacting with products they remember from their previous browsing. Users are reminded of the products they have shown an interest in, which with our shortening attention spans, can be a great help. In fact, I often find that Dynamic remarketing ads can serve as useful to-buy lists of things I need to remember to order.

When managed correctly, with frequency capping applied, dynamic ads provide a positive experience from the user’s perspective and, as above, will out-perform Static remarketing from the advertiser’s perspective.


Other Dynamic Platforms & Future for the Capability

Dynamic remarketing is not just available in Adwords; Facebook launched Dynamic Product Ads in 2015 and have since been refining and tweaking the product to work for verticals other than retail. Like Google, they have identified travel as an opportunity they cannot afford to miss out on and in 2016 Facebook launched Dynamic Travel Ads (DTA). DTAs require complex setup and configuration but can offer advertisers more powerful remarketing options than traditional Facebook remarketing with the incorporation of individually tailored creative from feed catalogues.

Advertisers need to build remarketing into the consumer journey and tailor both the on-site and off-site messaging by making use of the technology available. Research has found that during the early phase of a consumer’s online interaction with a brand, Dynamic ads can be less effective in moving them down the conversion funnel. This effect is reversed as they move closer to the conversion point. Therefore, advertisers need to use Dynamic ads alongside more traditional segmentation to achieve high performing remarketing campaigns tailored to each user.

So, next time someone blames me for “following them around the internet”, I will explain that I’m just tailoring their online experience. I am sure they’ll understand and buy me a drink.