Ad Spend: Retargeting & PPC Marketing Best Practices for Brands

This post is an excerpt from our Digital Marketing Conference in Los Angeles. The conference was a rich environment for digital marketers to openly discuss tactics for building a better online presence and tracking results. All of the content from the Digital Marketing Conference is available as Digital Marketing Videos

Here are some key takeaways from the Ad Spend: Retargeting & PPC Marketing Best Practices for Brands panel:

  • PPC is a cost model and retargeting is a tactic
    PPC means pay-per-click and retargeting is a strategy where a brand can use ads to re-engage with people who have already bought a product from the brand or are interested in buying.
  • Retargeting should have a higher conversion rate
    Since retargeted ads go to customers who have already purchased or are interested in purchasing from you then the chances of that customer converting are much higher.
  • Add captions to your video ads
    Only 30% of Facebook videos have sound so it’s important to include captions in your video ads. Adding captions to your videos has a chance of increasing your CTR and overall conversion rate.

What is PPC and retargeting? Is one better than the other?

PPC can be retargeting. –Mark Williams

PPC can be retargeting. In Adwords, for instance, you can do retargeting campaigns where you are paying per click and usually it's more of a combined technique. You use both PPC and retargeting. You have your PPC marketing campaigns to attract new customers and you have your retargeting campaigns to re-engage the ones who have already bought or who have interest in buying. –Mark Williams, Fullscreen

Search is only a small part of the customer journey. –Allen Martinez

I do come across a lot of smaller companies who are using search as their only tactic but search is only a small part of the customer journey. You have to also think about retargeting, but what are you retargeting with? Yes, there can be search retargeting but there can also be visual retargeting. You can literally retarget with television ads. –Allen Martinez, Noble Digital

PPC is a cost model, retargeting is a tactic. –Rachel Klausner

PPC is a cost model, retargeting is a tactic. Retargeting can also be run on a CPM, it's what works best for your brand. If you are layering on the best smart data to retarget, you might be more efficient doing that on a CPM because you are not paying for the click so it is really testing out different platforms, different models, to find the ones that work for you. –Rachel Klausner, OpenSlate

What is a good rule of thumb in terms of the amount that should be spent on retargeting vs other tactics?

Retargeting should convert a lot better than your prospecting campaigns. –Steve Weiss

Retargeting should convert a lot better than your prospecting campaigns (prospecting campaigns are driving new users into your funnel), so I always like to spend as much money as humanly possible with keeping the current conversion rate on remarketing and hopefully that is more than less. –Steve Weiss, MuteSix

What are some creative techniques that you use or have seen?

A little trick that we do is to export all of the posts from Facebook and then re-upload every single post through XML back into Facebook and you can put $ budgets against each post. Then the one post that gets the lowest cost per click will turn everything off. It's a really quick unique way to test every single post that you have to your website without spending a lot of money. –Steve Weiss, MuteSix

Remarketing can also be used to remarket an audience like viewers of a brand's YouTube channel. Similar to the sequential messaging Mark was referencing earlier about film trailers. If you can drive an audience anywhere, you want to market to people that are already fans of your brand, whether or not they have visited your site. You can actually place that remarketing pixel from your YouTube channel audience vs. from your website. This provides a different perspective and more unique remarketing pool than only looking at people cookied on your site. –Rachel Klausner, OpenSlate

One of our big techniques has been, aside from CRM data, is using third-parties. Now with Adwords and with Facebook, they have opened up to allow third-party segment lists to come in. So, I am doing that with Adwords and with Facebook Ad Manager where I bring in those lists to hit a certain demographic, a certain age, etc. –Mark Williams, Fullscreen

I still see a lot of people marketing video without adding captions to the videos. Only 30% of Facebook videos actually have sound to them so one key piece of advice I would give to everyone is to add captions to your videos. No one is going to listen to your video because the sound isn't on. Adding captions to your videos could actually increase your CTR and overall conversion rate. We integrate with Marketo for a couple of our clients where they build custom audiences based on users who actually open up your email, who engage and click over so if you have a large email list, you could do this manually as well, but you can take all of those users who have clicked and take that into Facebook as a custom audience. –Steve Weiss, MuteSix

How do you know whether the impressions you have are going to the right people when the campaign is a brand awareness campaign?

When you are running a brand awareness campaign, what you want is for people to start doing brand searches on Google and so the way to measure that is to look at the month-over-month differences in brand searches from your ads on Facebook, but you could also look at the actual engagements with the ad units. So you could go on Facebook, read the comments and look at the shares as well as the conversions that might be coming from that brand awareness campaign. –Steve Weiss, MuteSix

A brand advertiser is also going to put importance on different success metrics. Marketers running brand awareness campaigns are not necessarily looking at how many people went to the site and bought something as a result of the ad impression. They are looking at how engaged the viewers were with their message and if it resonated. Did they watch my full video? What was the ratio of people who skipped it vs. the ones who watched it? Did they remember my brand? Would they refer my brand to their friends? There are measurement tools out there from companies like Millward Brown to assess the success of these more "intangible" metrics, as well as free studies that Google will actually offer on brand lift, ad recall and more. –Rachel Klausner, OpenSlate