Developing YOUR audience targeting strategy

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We all know that remarketing is a powerful tool for connecting (and reconnecting) with online audiences — especially those customers that come close to converting, then change their minds.

But there is much more to remarketing than abandoned shopping cart visitors, which is why I’ve been saying for the last several years that every campaign could and should be an RLSA campaign.

So, what is the most important audience of online searchers? Yours. 2017 has been a year of growth for what is possible with remarketing, as both Google and Bing have released innovative features to help you create a custom audience that speaks to your exact business needs.

Creative features such as exclusions, custom audiences, in-market audiences and similar audiences enable retailers to find their perfect target market online.

In light of all of these updates and changes, in my next few articles on Search Engine Land, I want to dig into remarketing to help you think about defining, mapping and segmenting your audiences, so you can create and shape the most important online audience in the world: yours.

Developing your audience targeting strategy

Who are you customers? What do you know about them? I mean really know about them. Do you know their pain points, what motivates them, and why they want or need whatever it is that you are offering to them?

Just because you think you know who your audience is, it doesn’t mean you’re right. Your hunch might start you down the right path, but to really get to know your ideal and target customers, you’ll want to analyze the available information from your CRM system and analytics account. Use this data to identify key insights about your customers, the actions they take, and what makes them YOUR ideal customer — or not.

Defining your audience

Of the thousands of marketers I’ve spoken with about remarketing in the last year, very few started by documenting and defining their audiences. Instead, they start with a specific scenario they are trying to solve with a remarketing campaign, such as trying to re-engage cart abandoners, cross-selling products and services or re-engaging previous customers who might not understand their full business offering.

In my opinion, while this strategy does work, it’s not the most effective way to utilize remarketing. You’re starting with the problem and trying to build a solution instead of starting with a customer-centric view and with all of the possibilities that remarketing has to offer. It means that the remarketing solutions you come up with might be tainted by Maslow’s Law of the instrument:

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”

Abraham Maslow

So then, where do I think you should start with developing your remarketing strategy? In my opinion, the art and science of remarketing come down to two things: questions and data.

I think that you should start with a set of questions to help you segment your audiences, and with access to data from your analytics platform and database/CRM to get transaction insights. Then, armed with data, you can look at the potential audience pools to determine if you have the minimum 1,000-cookie base to activate an audience list.

Using positive and negative bid modifiers on top of each audience segment, you can shape your campaigns and the flow through your website, helping customers throughout their decision journey.

To help you get started with your audience development, I’m sharing a set of carefully crafted questions I’m calling the “Ultimate Audience Development Questionnaire.” I’ve broken the checklist down into five sections based on the types of questions I explored when I was auditing and developing a remarketing strategy.

[Read the full article on Search Engine Land.]

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

​Christi Olson is a Search Evangelist at Microsoft in Seattle, Washington. For over a decade Christi has been a student and practitioner of SEM. Prior to joining the Bing Ads team within Microsoft, Christi worked in marketing both in-house and at agencies at Point It, Expedia, Harry & David, and Microsoft (MSN, Bing, Windows). When she’s not geeking out about search and digital marketing she can be found with her husband at ACUO crossfit and running races across the PacificNW, brewing and trying to find the perfect beer, and going for lots of walks with their two schnauzers and pug.


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