So, with all of the advances in user journey path analysis, eye-tracking, onsite conversion optimisation and checkout evaluation, ecommerce sites have seen conversion rates skyrocket, right? Well, the FireClick Index suggests that, in general, shopping cart abandonment rate is hovering around 72.9%, with a global conversion rate across all traffic sources of just 1.8%. That means that three-quarters of those who even get to the point of adding something to their shopping cart disappear from your site without generating a sale, and that 92.8% of the visitors to your site never even get that far.

The process of remarketing to these people (actively finding people online who have previously visited your website, and then showing them ads to entice them back) is not a new concept. Existing companies such as Criteo, Fetchback and Retargeter already offer remarketing technology (also known as retargeting), Yahoo! bought the crazy-smart behavioural targeting company Blue Lithium back in 2007, and there were a number of companies using prosaic retargeting technology back in the first internet boom.

So, what does Google bring to the party with their new remarketing product? Well, Google … brings Google. With an 85% to 90% global market share (depending on who you believe), Google knows what the vast majority of the world’s population are searching on, and the sites they visit from search results pages – from ecommerce sites to sites within the Google Content Network (Google has a c.57% ad server market share, if you factor in DoubleClick too). This information can be used to improve the relevancy of advertising. However, unlike networks such as Phorm, the data comes directly from the sites that you have visited, rather than from depersonalised ISP-sourced data.

How does Remarketing work? The diagram below explains:

How Google Remarketing Works

Using page tagging, Google AdWords advertisers can mark up specific pages on their site e.g. a product page for an MP3 player. If a user then leaves the site without making a purchase, Google will be able to show that consumer your ad promoting that same MP3 player when they land on a site within the Google Content Network, perhaps with an additional discount on the price they saw first time around.

It’s powerful stuff, because you can also overlay the traditional tools of geo-targeting, frequency capping and dayparting, which means you can ensure that previous visitors to your site are not bombarded with your ad, which can be a turnoff. There is also the ability to target according to user interest, although we will cover that in a future post in more detail.

Overall then, remarketing takes the same approach as in-house email marketers and loyalty scheme operatives, but this time targeting people who almost-became customers. Rather than relying solely on keywords, internet marketing professionals now have the ability to help advertisers reach people who are already aware of their brand and offering, and that can only be good news for those wanting the global converstion rate  to tick up a couple of notches.

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About the author:

John Newton has 14 years of strategic marketing experience across Online Display, Search Marketing and TV and Outdoor Advertising, in companies which include Yahoo!, ITV and TNS Global. John has written on blog monetisation for Web Designer magazine and was the editor of ClickThrough’s two books. John is a CIM Chartered Marketer.