The truth about ReMarketing Firms and your bottom line.

So there has been a huge talk about Remarketing, the benefits and how it can only help you and your bottom line.  These companies have become even more aggressive over the past 4 or 5 years and what is scary is that Marketing Management and Sales Management Teams have been to ignorant and too uneducated and not analytical enough to realize what is going on.  It isn’t their fault though, it is the lack of education on what is going on, similar to Parasites in Affiliate Marketing.

The thing is that many of these ReMarketing firms will not drive you money and grow your bottom line like you think they will.  In fact with a lot of them you will more than likely loose money if you don’t do it right and set the proper controls in place.  I actually love Remarketing, but many of the firms out there won’t do it in a way that protects all channels, they go for what makes them the most money, instead of what makes you the most money and protects your bottom line, but then again that is how businesses grow, themselves until people are educated enough to tell them to take a hike.  The goal of this post is to educate you on what to think about and how to make an educated decision on how to do ReMarketing without having as much of a negative effect on other channels and what to do when looking at, negotiating and signing a contract with a ReMarketing firm.

From working in a corporate position I realized that with large companies and even some small start ups, all a sales person has to do is tell the Marketing Manager and Marketing Director, even the VP and CMO how great and amazing they are and how they make good decisions all the time and how smart they are and guess what, they are sold on that service.  It is unfortunate how Executives and even Managers allow their business common sense to be clouded by butt kissing and Maketing Hype.

So anyways, this post is about some of the most common types of ReMarketing firms that you may be approached by and the reality of them and their services.  To spare any grief I am going to leave the companies names out and just go over the traditional models.

As with every post, these are just my opinions and thoughts.  They may be right or wrong but they are mine and if you have a different opinion to mine, I encourage you (even if you work for a different company or competing firm) to participate here as long as it is in a mature and productive fashion.

Before I get into this post and some of the most common types of ReMarketing, I want to point out that REMARKETING COMPANIES NEVER DRIVE THEIR OWN SALES AND YOU ALWAYS PAY TWICE FOR EVERY SALE THEY BRING BACK TO YOU.  There are no exceptions and are no breaks to the rules.  They rely on the traffic you have driven and paid for through PPC, Affiliates, SEO, TV, Radio, etc…  Without that they cannot bring the sales back to you and you always spend twice on them so if you have a small Margin, keep it in mind that you are paying a second time for the first sale and even paying on repeat customers.

The ReMarketing Firm’s  job is not to bring in new customers, only to bring back customers that are currently leaving your site. You may have spent $8 per conversion or 20% getting the sale to your site via PPC and now you may pay another $4 or 10% of product cost for the remarketing firm to capitalize and track your current customers.  You really need to ask yourself, are you willing to spend that much on each sale?  30% of your Margin is a lot, especially if the ReMarketing firm didn’t bring them back instantly but the 30 day cookie is what brought them back and not the ReMarketing Firm, but we’ll go over this a bit more later.  Even if you are ok with paying out the 30% Margin on your current customer base and new customers, you are about to hit the most dangerous part of ReMarketing and the part that I consider to be a scam.

Many Remarketing companies require a cookie life.  Some want 30 days some want 90, either way it doesn’t matter as they should never be given a sales tracking cookie life.  That is how, in my opinion they will try to rip you off.

When I hear ReMarketing and think about it, the goal is to take the person that just left my site and bring them back to my site asap to shop.  The other goal I see is to keep showing them ads over the next 15 days or so to bring them back to shop but only after they click your link.  If they didn’t click the link to come directly back then the ReMarketing didn’t work which is why I am opposed to giving a cookie life.  They could have done a direct type in, clicked your SEO, seen an email campaign from you, etc… which also means the ReMarketing Firm did not do their job so why should they be paid?  Think about it this way, very simple and broken down past the ReMarketing Firm’s Marketing hype and reasons for needing a sales cookie life.

If the person leaves your site, they go out and see the ReMarketing Firm’s banner and click it but still don’t purchase.  Two weeks later them come back to your site through your PPC campaign or through your SEO, the ReMarketing firm did absolutely nothing to bring that sale back to you so why should they get paid? Exactly, in my opinion the cookie life they get is borderline a scam covered by a ton of Marketing Hype to trick Merchants into giving it to them.  Guess what, the Marketing Hype behind it is so good in most cases that people forget about common sense and actually give them a cookie life.  The ReMarketing firm may compare themselves to Affiliates and say “You give Affiliates a cookie life so we should have one too”, but the reality is that Affiliates reach out to a new audience that you would not have had access to and gave your brand exposure to a new audience while the ReMarketing firm never drives you a new visitor or builds your brand.  They only show ads to people who were already on your site.  Since the Affiliate gave you exposure to a new audience like a TV or Print ad and the Affiliate drives new sales to you, that is why they get a cookie life.  The Affiliates bring you new traffic and customers while the Remarketing Firms never will since it is not their job or what they focus on.  (You can bring up the coupon Affiliate in this example, but with certain types of ReMarketing you can offer coupons in the checkout process so that takes that argument down a lot more and almost makes it obsolete.  This post isn’t about Coupon Sites or Affiliate Marketing as much as it is ReMarketing so I am going to save that argument for another post.).

The other thing to remember is to always pay out the double commissions if you use one of these firms, not a shared commission, not a last click in.  If you allow them to overwrite the Affiliate traffic, the PPC or CSE traffic etc… guess what, you have dug yourself a hole that will not be easily to climb back out of.

Affiliates will find out about what you are doing and start pulling your links.  Not only will that result in you loosing sales from their audience, but the ReMarketing firm will take the hit because they don’t get to capitalize on their traffic.  You also have to remember that sharing that Affiliate’s traffic and commission is offensive to the Affiliate.  Unless you are a company that cannot be replaced (Trust me, all companies on non coupon sites are easily replaceable no matter who you are) you will piss your Affiliates off since they did all the work and now have to share their revenues with a company who did nothing and now is accessing their traffic.  That is a prime reason for an Affiliate to drop a program as well.  Also, if you allow them to overwrite other traffic and set tracking cookies then guess what, you also lose track of which channel drove which sales and where you should invest your money, not to mention the Affiliates will feel like you have allowed them to be stolen from since their cookie has been replaced and if your program had a cookie life, you have now ended it and broken your contract and agreement with them.  Allowing the last click in with the ReMarketing firms is huge mistake.

There is also one more thing you need to do before implementing anything that involves tracking like ReMarketing.  You have to scenario test everything.

Click the Affiliate Link then the ReMarketing link and check to see who the sale goes to or if it goes to both parties.  Then do it in reverse, click a PPC ad, then a ReMarketing link then an SEO link and see where credit goes.   The reality is that the ReMarketing company should only receive credit when a sale is made directly after their link is clicked, not if the shopper leaves again, not if the shopper takes a day or ten days to come back and not if the shopper clicked a link from another channel.

I also recommend that companies drop the Remarketing Vistors on a unique url that won’t be able to be found without the Remarketing links and then check out the effectiveness of them and their sales volume, but also remember to make sure the Affiliate tracking, etc… are still in tact and the proper channels are getting credit, even if the sale goes through the unique url so you don’t allow Affiliates and other Marketing channels to be stolen from.

So anyways, lets go onto some of the most common types of ReMarketing and what to watch out for.  I will probably give some examples on things you can do that won’t have as negative effect on you or your other channels, but if you want a real solution, you’ll have to write me and I can help to create a custom one to meet your needs that may also help to grow your bottom line, not take away from it.

Exit Pop Ups for Remarketing.

Something that has been huge in the past are exit pop ups that set a cookie when the end user clicks the link to come back.  I love this in theory, but in practice it is not always an effective channel because of the negative impact.

The problem with a third party setting a cookie on the person exiting or abandoning their cart is that it could overwrite another channels cookie (Like the Affiliate or a Shopping Engine).  When they overwrite the other channels cookies, as I said earlier, you lose track of where the sale originated from and where you should be spending your money as well as you may allow them to overwrite Affiliate cookies which is stealing from the Affiliate.  If the Affiliates pull then you loose their traffic and sales and the ReMarketing firm also looses because they can no longer capitalize off of Affiliate traffic.  You loose big with the cookie overwriting and also lose track of which channel is performing the best to get people to your cart.  (From here on out in the article I will just refer back to this paragraph so we don’t have to much repetitive information in the article).

So what can you do if you want the Exit Pop ups and pop up tracking?

This is an awesome channel and idea to bring people back as they are abandoning your cart.  It not only allows you to ask why people are leaving, but it also enables you to try to bring them back.  Here is what I recommend for adding Exit Pop ups to your ReMaketing strategy.

Hire a company to build you an exit pop software.  It is very cheap to have built and could be up and running within a month.  If you own the software to do it as well, guess what you only had to pay once and never have to share your bottom line.  You also don’t need to set cookies for revenue sharing and can track other ways so you won’t effect other channels, allow other channels to be overwritten and can still have all of the benefits.

The other option is to drive the person from the exit pop to a unique url instead of back to the main.  You can then track them through there to see if the coupon, discount, etc,,, you are incentivizing them with really works.  There is a very good chance that it will work and since you have a response window for them to contact you with, you’ll also get a direct insight into why they are leaving your cart without shopping.

The next popular type is ad serving.

This is great in theory, but you have to remember, if you give them a cookie life they did not do their job if the cookie life is showing the sales.  Their job is to bring the visitor back and get them to shop asap after they have left your site.  You also need to make sure the proper channels are getting credit for the sale.  If you give a custom coupon code for the ReMaketing firm, you also now have to check to make sure it isn’t popping up on user driven coupon sites and deals sites.  This is actually fairly easy to do and find, the hard part is to get those coupons down since you need to keep your channels as clear and transparent as possible.  If you are coupon tracking this will interfere.

As long as you are still giving Affiliates and other channels like Email credit for driving the original sale and still paying out those channels without rev sharing, you should be fine.  Again, you should not ever give a cookie life to these ReMarketing firms because if the person is coming back 2 weeks later without clicking another banner immediately to get to the site before purchase, it is my opinion that they did not properly ReMarket you and bring them back asap.  The person could have found you numerous different ways via SEO, direct type in, etc… which means that the ReMarketing firm should not have been paid for that sale.

Emailing your visitors.

The solution I like the most is to simply email the person who abandoned your cart.  Now, I am not going to go into detail on how I do this as it is a custom strategy I created and I don’t want it out there, unless you are my Clients, but be aware that if you do not do this correctly you could easily end up with legal issues.  Be careful with this solution and really think it out to not only be friendly for your customers (which is the most important part) but also remain within the law and best practices of your Country.

Those are the three major forms of ReMarketing and in its core and basic form are an amazing channel to help start recovering lost sales and revenue, get information on why people are leaving your site, and help to bring your customers back.  The thing to watch out for is all of the firms who are out to rip you off with cookie lives, stealing customer databases and information via Email Remarketing and Exit Pop ups, etc…  It sounds great at first, but when you actually dig into it, if you know what to look for you will easily see where it could go from appearing legit to a huge loss and scam.  If done right it can be effective, but most of the time from what I have seen it is not done right and companies are not educataed enough to know what to look for.

If you have any comments or thoughts or want me to look over what is currently going on with your ReMarketing, or want to hire me for a ReMarketing plan built custom for your company, feel free to comment here or write me at adamr (at) adamriemer (dot) me.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for pointing out the most important points every merchant needs to consider if they contract with a remarketer. The tip about not allowing them to claim credit by overwriting or setting cookies on sales generated by other channels and affiliates is key.

    There are existing solutions for exit surveys that might work for capturing sales that would otherwise be abandoned. I have seen several and know that Monitus offers a Yahoo Store Shopping Cart Recovery solution.

    I agree with your advice that merchants need to be very aware of exactly what a remarketing service is doing BEFORE they sign a contract or allow them access to their site.

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