BlogGoogleAudiencesEvery Crowd Has a Silver Lining – Audiences in PPC

Every Crowd Has a Silver Lining – Audiences in PPC

PPC hubbub - Every Crowd Has a Silver Lining - Audiences in PPC
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In my last blog about Google’s Change to the SERPs I touched on the importance of audiences for today’s digital marketer. It’s been nearly 2 months since Google made these changes, yet we still seem to be ignoring Audiences!

Today, we’ll go further into the topic discussing some of the ways you can leverage audiences to bring further efficiencies to your marketing endeavours.

What is an Audience?

In its simplest form, an audience is a group of people with a common interest. In digital marketing terms, it is a group of users that we know to have performed a specific action or displayed a specific behaviour whilst on our website. Those actions/behaviours can be as trivial as landing on a page right through to adding products to a basket or making a purchase on the site.

Why are they important?

Typically, traffic from audience based campaigns has a much higher interaction rate than standard campaigns. Across a selection of our retail clients the average improvement in conversion rate from audience based campaigns is 37%. Across Google shopping campaigns specifically, the improvement in conversion rate can be as high as 200%, which is down to a few things:

  • We know these users are aware of our brand
  • We know these users have engaged with the brand by performing actions on our site
  • Google allows us to target these users separately
  • We know form historical data that users who have previously interacted with our brand are more likely to purchase from us again if they return to the site

Further to this, the number of ads that can be shown on the first page of Google has now been reduced from 11 to 7, {but you already knew that, because you read my blog right??} so it is even more important to understand when you should be pushing for those lucrative, but more expensive top positions.

How do we do it?

There are an ever increasing number of ways to create audiences in PPC to whom you can re-market your products/services, these are detailed below:

Standard Remarketing for GDN

PPC hubbub - Audiences - GDN

The first of Google’s remarketing products for SEM, allows you to serve static text or image ads across the Google Display Network (GDN) to users who have previously visited or interacted with your website

Dynamic Remarketing for GDN

Dynamic remarketing for GDN allows you to remarket to users who have visited or interacted with your site with a dynamically populated image ad. The ad is populated with the products the users viewed whilst on your site.

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)

PPC hubbub - Audiences - Remarketing

RLSA has been around for some time now and allows you to bid separately for users who have previously visited your site and/or performed a predetermined action on site

Remarketing Lists for Shopping Ads

RLSA for shopping ads allow you to layer your audiences onto your current shopping activity (Much like RLSAs) and remarket to those who have visited your site previously

Customer Match

The newest addition to the Google audience family, customer match allows you to upload a list of your customers/subscribers email addresses into Adwords and remarket to those users whose email addresses also have Google accounts linked to them. The beauty of this method is that if a user deletes their cookies it would not remove them from this list as it would with the others

Similar Audiences for search

PPC hubbub - Similar Audiences

Currently in Beta, similar audiences for search allows you to find users who have displayed similar behaviour to those in your audience list, but have never visited your site. Given their similarity to the users in your audience list, they are more likely to convert into customers for you.

One of the best aspects of using audiences is that by using the “bid only” functionality you can see how they perform by simply applying them to your current activity before needing to make a decision to increase what you are willing to pay per click for users in that audience, meaning there is literally no excuse for not trying this out on your current activity.

Adwords vs Analytics

PPc hubbub - Audiences - Adwords vs Analytics

Audience lists be created either in Adwords directly or within Google Analytics and imported into Adwords, but there are key differences between the two that you should consider before making your choice. {One of which being, do you even use analytics? If the answer is no, then Adwords Audiences are for you!}

Adwords audiences require you to place a single remarketing tag once throughout your site. From this tag you can create the following list types:

  • Visitors of a page
  • Visitors of a page with a specific tag
  • Custom combination lists

The problem with Adwords tags arise when the audience you want to track doesn’t have to land on a specific page, for example, on page forms or purchase buttons that take you off to a payment site. If you are trying to track these types of actions then consider creating audiences via analytics.

Analytics audiences allows you to create lists based on analytics data, this allows you to do more than target users who just visited a page but brings in analytics metrics & dimensions such as Session Duration, City, and Goal Completions. You can also target users who perform a specific set of actions on site such as visited product A and then clicked the add to basket button.

The Analytics method does not require any additional code to be added to the site so is the preferred method in most cases.

What Audience lists should I be using?

Audience lists can vary between industries and clients depending on what data you have available to you but there are some lists that you should have setup as standard. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Users who have visited your site
  • Users who have added products to their basket
  • Users who have converted
  • Users who browse a number of products on your site

You can then also create combination lists, allowing you to make your marketing even more targeted by combining 2 or more of your existing lists.

For example – to engage with users who have abandoned products in the basket without purchasing, you would target users who have added to their basket… but exclude users who have converted.

List Lengths

When creating audience lists you will be asked how long you would like users to remain part of the list before they are no longer remarketed to. Lists can last anywhere between 1 and 540 days but I advise caution with utilising lists that last more than 90 days as Alistair Dent mentions in his blog about cookies, as users do delete cookies, and that removes them from your remarketing list.

What to Say to your audience

PPC hubbub - Audiences

So now you’ve decided who you are going to bring back to the site, and how you’re going to do it, we need to decide what to say to your audience to bring them back. Whilst it is typically true that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, this isn’t always the case in the world of remarketing.

For example…
Rather than utilise the same message that is designed to bring new users to your site, why not target users who have abandoned their basket with a % discount message to further encourage a sale?

If you create a list of users who have bought a PlayStation, you could remarket to that audience with PlayStation games and accessories as they are likely to be in market for those products based on their first purchase.

The beauty of audiences is the data that powers them, we know that these users are interested in our products or have purchased from us in the past, so it is important to utilise that data to maximum advantage.

In Closing….

If you aren’t already utilising audiences then now is the time to start, especially now the number of PPC ads on the SERP has been reduced. {Shamelessly plug own blog again here for the last time}.

It’s time to get creative with your audience strategies, revisit and expand your current audience lists. See how audiences perform in your current campaigns before ramping up your bid modifiers. Start to test alternate messaging for users that you are remarketing to, and very quickly you will see that your creativity can lead to massively reduced CPA’s and improved ROI for your digital campaigns.


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