Category Archives for "Maze"

October 18, 2019

Determine strategy before writing ads

I am forever losing my wallet. Not seriously losing it, like leaving it on a train, but losing it around the house. We’ll regularly be attempting to go out as a family while I frantically scramble around.

“You’ve got the bank app,” Linzi would say, exasperated. “Why don’t you just pay on your phone…

‘Pay on your phone?? What witchery is this?’ I replied in my head.

Anyway this week I did pay for something on my phone. Somewhat tentatively, in a Pret A Manger sandwich store. I didn’t have my wallet, so there was no other option.

I held my phone to the card reader, which beeped and went green…

Mind… blown.

You don’t even have to open the app. What an ingenious way to spend money even easier and faster!

“Okay Grandpa…” was Linzi’s sarcastic reply when I enthused about it later.

When you’re constructing a customer follow-up system, your first consideration is the nature of the communications problem you’re trying to solve.

For the phone banking app, the main problem was simply getting me to setup and use the thing. Once used, the product sells itself. It’s simpler and faster than finding my wallet. If you were constructing a remarketing system, you might say things like ‘dare to go shopping… without your purse?

Other products require more education, which changes the nature of the ads you might run. The common thread is that the product must be excellent, or else no amount of advertising can help.

The real question is: what steps in your sales process convert cold prospects into raving fans?

Answer that first. Then build the maze around your answers. There is no ‘one size fits all’ remarketing strategy.

August 22, 2019

Nightmare AdWords clients

I was telling you last time about some of my early Google Ads clients, and the challenges I faced.

Let me tell you about one particular nightmare client…

Nightmare clients are rarely bad people, otherwise they would never become clients in the first place. But they come with little warning bells that jingle away, just audible if you know what you’re listening for. Those warning bells are desperately easy to ignore, especially when you need the money. Sometimes you only hear them in retrospect.

This particular client had sat on my email list for a while. Which is a good sign – not a warning bell! One day he contacted me, and asked how my services worked. We’ll call him ‘George’ (not his real name, obviously).

George’s company was using AdWords to generate leads for an offline sales process. The company was spending £25,000 a month on AdWords (about $30,000). Which for me was a large account.

George mentioned on the phone they had ‘been through’ quite a few AdWords agencies. But he’d like to ‘see what I could do’.

(Ding ding ding! Can you hear the warning bells jangling?)

On the eve of the project George sent me an email in badly-formatted English. (Clients who can’t spell is another warning bell.) ‘I’d like a daily report please Rob’, the email said. ‘The report should show yesterday’s spend by campaign, click through rate, conversions and cost per conversion.’

I never send daily reports to clients because daily fluctuations are misleading, and clients who obsess about them often fly too close to the sun financially. Weekly numbers are more meaningful. And monthly numbers hardly ever lie. Still, I ignored the screaming messages from my gut, and agreed.

I would always know if conversions were down for the day, because at 3PM George would email me. ‘URGENT Leads down Rob. Please action ASAP.’

I would rage internally at this. Please action what, exactly? I’m not a magician. Most of the time I would ignore it and rely on a natural upturn in leads the following day.

I’ve also since learnt that clients who routinely send emails with URGENT in the subject line, signed off with ‘ASAP’ are not great clients to work with. It’s a small clue that they see you as a vendor to be used, not an expert to be consulted.

Not long after the project had started I made a bunch of changes to the website, and George blew his lid. “We make changes on a month by month basis,” he informed me. “That way we compare apples to apples.”

Apples to apples – yeah right. You can’t have it all ways up. You can’t scream and shout about your AdWords results, but also refuse to make any changes to the website.

The project fizzled out after a few months. I was glad, too. The hassle wasn’t worth the management fee they paid me. Or so I thought.

One year later George got back in touch. His last business had tanked, and now he had a new business in another highly competitive market.

George asked if I would consider managing the account again, since I had ‘done such a good job last time’. I wavered for a moment. The warning jangles were all there. I knew George was a well-meaning but troublesome client. But I also needed the revenue.

So we went again. This time George wasn’t my main point of contact; he had a marketing manager, Jane*. Jane was nice enough, but clearly under huge pressure to perform. Once again I failed to set the boundaries on when I could and could not be contacted.

At 9.50 every morning my phone would go (Jane started work at 10). Despite my repeated warnings about daily statistics, she would want to discuss yesterday’s numbers and know ‘what I was doing for them today’.

“Nothing,” was the response I should have given, “because I’m not on payroll.”

I didn’t have the gall to say that at the time.

One week we had a spat about ad creation. I had created some new ads in the account, and some hadn’t performed as well as the control ads. “No more duds please Rob,” was the message I got.

No more duds. If you never write an ad that fails, you’re not really writing any ads. The longer I’ve done this, the more I’ve realised how hopeless it is to predict a winner.

A few weeks later Linzi and I went to Italy for a week. I tried to reassure Jane that her AdWords results were unlikely to tank for a few days without my daily hand-holding. I had no phone signal in Italy, and no computer.

Two days into our holiday I logged on to Wi-Fi in my hotel, and my phone buzzed to life. WhatsApp. It was Jane. “URGENT: NO conversions yesterday. George won’t stand for it. Please look at this ASAP.”

Really Jane? You’re going to harass me on holiday… by WhatsApp?

After three months of conflict our second project came to an end. George finally discovered that I had been ruining his monthly ‘apples to apples’ comparison by sending traffic to pages other than the homepage.

The big problem however wasn’t with George. The big problem was with me, because I hadn’t been clear enough about exactly who I was trying to work with. I hadn’t set the boundaries. I had heard the warning bells – twice – and I had ignored them.

There are numerous lessons here. George wasn’t getting the results he wanted because he was agency hopping and trying to dictate the solution. He was also deeply reliant on Google Search for leads. If leads dropped off one day – for whatever reason – everyone got it in the neck.

I truly believe that Google Ads is an unbelievable system, but there has to be some room to fail. Fail small and fail often, but improve overall.


*Also not Jane’s real name, for obvious reasons.

August 14, 2019

Impossible Google Ads Projects

Some of the early Google Ads projects I took on were a real bump to earth. Hard lessons in tough Google reality…

Not because I was working with ‘bad’ clients – quite the opposite. (The really bad clients will come later, in a future email!)

I had good clients with good businesses, but tough search markets.

For instance, I managed the Google Ads accounts for a local office supplies company, and a local company that sold walkie-talkies. The success of these businesses lay in offline connections and a personal touch. On Google, they were competing with big national brands. They were simply being outgunned on many of their most desirable search phrases.

I went into those jobs believing I had the midas touch, and could take on the national advertisers single-handedly simply by writing better ads.

(I couldn’t).

Perhaps the toughest job I took on was a client with a start-up cloud hosting business. This client had developed a highly secure, robust cloud hosting service. Much more secure than Amazon or Dropbox. (Especially Dropbox!)

The word ‘cloud’ is one of those magic words that automatically ads a zero to the cost of a click. (Similar to keywords that include ‘insurance’, ‘loans’ or ‘mortgage’).

Clicks for the keyword ‘cloud hosting’ cost at least £10 per click, and this was in 2013. We quickly found out that people searching for ‘cloud hosting’ were mostly ambivalent about buying, especially from a provider that had never heard of.

I drew on all the marketing lessons I had picked up over the years. We developed a free report about cloud hosting security, and offered that as the first thing people saw in the ad. It turned out that people searching for ‘cloud computing’ weren’t interested in that, either. Eventually I had to tell the client I simply couldn’t help.

I knew a lot about Google Ads, copywriting and direct marketing. But we were advertising alongside companies like Amazon, Dropbox and Viking (a major UK office supplies firm).

The most common question I’m asked about Google Ads is: does it work?

Google always ‘works’ insofar as they’ll take your money and run your ad. But does it ‘work’ in a profitable sense?

Often that comes down to your business, and who else is advertising. Advertising locally is easier than advertising nationally, because you can leverage local knowledge. But if your competitors on Google Search include Amazon, or big national players, you’ll have to find a niche and chisel your way in.

You really have to pick your battles!

Often this chiselling involves sensible use of remarketing, but I am getting ahead of myself. More on this to follow.

August 12, 2019

Take control of your website

I’ve managed Google Ads accounts in just about every industry you can imagine. Some have been successful, some have not.

One of my earliest clients provided marquee hire for weddings and parties. When we first spoke he had attempted to set up his own ads, and had phoned Google for help. Unsurprisingly Google had added a bunch of broad match keywords to his account. He was getting clicks, but not much business as a result.

In fact, he didn’t know exactly what business his ad spend was generating, because conversion tracking had never been set up. But as far as he could tell, his ads were a black hole for time and money.

I got access to his website and setup the necessary conversion tracking. As part of the project I created a new set of landing pages for my ads. These pages had clear headlines, testimonials and a risk-free call to action. If the content of my pages was similar to an established page, I added the ‘no index’ and ‘no follow’ meta tags to prevent Google indexing my new landing pages in the organic listings.

(For organic Google-ranking purposes you don’t ever want two pages with very similar content. These meta tags tell Google to ignore one of them.)

Which is where all the trouble began…

See, I wasn’t the only person working on the website. The web design firm who had designed the site were still employed for ‘site maintenance and SEO’. According to the client, they submitted a highly detailed invoice each month. But he wasn’t sure exactly what work they did for that.

I knew exactly how much work they were doing: nothing. It seemed to me they were mostly engaged to make my life more difficult. Plus they weren’t exactly ecstatic about having me involved, snooping around their cushy retainer arrangement.

To begin with, they told me they couldn’t provide me with FTP access to the website. (Outright lies.)

Shortly after that, we exchanged angry emails after I had updated one of the WordPress plugins I had installed. Apparently ‘testing’ plugin updates was one of the extraordinarily expensive services they provided each month. Even though all they did was click the ‘update’ button, and check the site still worked. (Absolute pirates.)

Later on, they claimed I was damaging their precious SEO efforts with my new pages (even though I had added noindex and nofollow meta tags).

Eventually I said to the client, “look, you need to choose between me and them. I’ll manage your website and SEO if you like.”

For reasons that are utterly beyond me, the client chose them.

Too bad – their loss!

To run a successful paid search campaign, or build any kind of remarketing maze, you must have control of your website. There are simple too many pages to create. You can’t be held to ransom by an old-school web designer desperate to protect their diminishing turf.


August 1, 2019

The Offline Maze

Did you know the maze exists offline, as well as on?

Last time I was telling you about my first paying web design gig. While this was happening I desperately needed more clients. Preferably clients with real, non-imaginary businesses.

A friend recommended I try local networking. After a little research online, I came across the High Wycombe Business Network. I sent an enquiry to see if they needed a web designer.

The message back was that the group already had an incumbent web designer, but if I wanted to come along in another capacity I would be more than welcome. I asked what they might like to hear about.

“Getting ranked on Google,” was the reply.

(In the years since, ‘getting ranked on Google’ is still the most common answer to that question!)

I hurriedly designed and ordered new business cards from Vistaprint, and booked to go along as ‘Rob Drummond: PPC Consultant’. I had no pay per click clients of course, but my experience with AD had proven this didn’t really matter.

The Network was a two-hour breakfast meeting, running from 7-9 AM every Thursday. I went along and spoke tentatively about my budding but non-existent Google AdWords services.

The first time I went I remember everyone seeming so assured. The financial advisors huddled in a corner to speak in their own special finance language. I distinctly remember a nice lady (who was the incumbent web designer), asking me how my service worked. What was included? How much did I charge? I can’t remember what answer I gave, but I managed to not get thrown out of the meeting.

On the inside I was in turmoil. “WHAT IF THEY FIND OUT I’M A FRAUD?” a voice screamed in my head.

As the weeks slipped by, I became more assured. Speaking to people every week forced me to think about how I structured my projects. One week a guy with an office supplies business approached me after the meeting.

“I’m spending money with Google,” he said, “and I’ve tried calling them. And I think it made things worse. Can you help?”

I stretched nonchalantly to hide my inner nerves, and said ‘sure…’

Pay per click client No.1 was on board! Courtesy of offline, real world, face-to-face meetings.


July 31, 2019

Web Design vs Web Content

Your website is an important part of the marketing maze. If you’re going to pay for clicks, you need to have somewhere to send people.

Early on in my self-employment career I decided I wanted to be a web designer. Which was a terrible decision, given that I hate web design, and hate web designers. But I had studied Ben Hunt’s Pro Web Design Course, which at the time was probably the best web design course on the internet. And so I knew more about it than was probably good for me.

(Incidentally, Ben’s course is no longer available, but we interviewed him on the Maze Marketing Podcast here)

So, I had a ‘web design business’. With no portfolio, and no clients, except a couple of freebie websites I had done. I created a Google AdWords campaign bidding on local ‘web designer’ keywords. And thought little more of it, until one day my phone rang.

“Hello, I’m AD” said the caller. “Do you do websites?”

Yes, yes I did do websites.

“Could you add a membership site?”

Yes, I probably could.

“Would you come over for a meeting to discuss it?”

Yes, yes I would!

I was relieved to get off the phone without AD asking whether he could see any of the websites I had created. Which in a roundabout way, was zero. We arranged to meet the following evening at his house.

AD shared his house with his wife, parents, and about thirteen small children. We perched on office chairs in his attic, surrounded by piles of strewn paper.

AD did most of the talking. He talked excitedly through his ideas for each page. I did most of the listening – trying to suppress the occasional yawn. We mapped out roughly what his new website was going to look like. Eventually, the subject of payment came up.

“How much is this going to cost?” AD asked.

I was careful not to let it show, but I badly needed the cash.

“Four hundred pounds. Two hundred up front, two hundred on completion.”

“That sounds fair enough.” AD said, without blinking.

‘Damn, I should have asked for more!’ I thought darkly.

Still, a part of me was relieved. It was good to have someone who wanted to engage my services and pay me money. He paid me the £200 outside his house in cash, on his doorstep.

I sent AD an invoice later as a receipt for the £200. I had no invoice template, and at the time had no accounting system. My first ever invoice was set out crudely in Microsoft Word, with ‘RJD Consulting’ at the top as my business name. I copied the layout from an invoice I had received from a supplier, and set the invoice number at random. I didn’t want AD to know it was my first ever invoice!

There were a number of problems with AD’s website. Firstly, AD had no idea what he was actually trying to achieve. The scope of the project was changed abruptly a number of times.

Secondly, the website took me WAY longer to build than I anticipated. The more intricate membership elements of the site didn’t fully work, but AD eventually signed the site off.

That was in 2012. I can’t show you it, because it’s no longer online. It seemed nobody except AD wanted the website after all.

Your website first and foremost solves a communication problem. A poorly designed website that says the right thing to the right person will still convert. A well designed site with the wrong content won’t. And likely won’t exist, seven years down the line.

In most cases, there is no need to pay a designer to custom-build your website, like AD did. And actually, I didn’t custom-design his website, because it was built from an existing WordPress theme.

Some of the professional themes you can buy for WordPress are excellent. I use Thrive Themes, and can create a new website in a day or two. The theme takes care of the design, leaving me to focus on the content.

Content changes always outperform design changes. Remember that next time you feel ‘bored’ of your website.


P.S. For further reading on web design, read ‘Save The Pixel’ and ‘Web Design is Dead’, by Ben Hunt. Both free at

June 12, 2019

Remarketing Crash Course: Day 7

Why remarketing doesn’t work

There are three big reasons people don’t make much progress with remarketing. Those are:

1. Over-thinking the strategy

A simple strategy you actually execute is better than one with a fancy name that you never get round to.

If you’re like most people reading this you don’t have much time to implement. To begin with, keep things simple, and just do what you can.

2. Perfecting your ads

You don’t know what ads will work. Crafting the perfect Facebook ad is not a good use of your time. Neither is creating image banners in all the different Google Display Network sizes.

The big issue with spending too long on an ad is you get attached to the ad’s performance.

Many of your ads will fail, and you should expect that. This is less bothersome when you just threw an ad together quickly.

Google and Facebook make tools available (such as responsive display ads) to test images ads quickly. They aren’t perfect, but they’re not bad either. Make use of them. Test the broad strokes (ad headline / ad image / ad text) before you spend time refining anything.

Synergy of message across the different platforms doesn’t matter so much. It doesn’t matter that different ads use different colours or fonts – so throw your brand guidelines out the window. What matters is that people see and recognise you.

Show up in your ads – don’t hide behind them. Where possible use real photos and videos of you – not stock images.

People generally hide in marketing complexity to avoid having to show up in their ads, or present themselves in a vulnerable way. (This is just as true with email as it is with remarketing). Creating complex remarketing systems isn’t a substitute for showing up.

You’re on my email list because you sell based on trust and expertise. Or at least, I hope you are. A basic remarketing strategy that showcases the real you will usually outperform a complex one. (Especially a complex one that doesn’t exist yet).

3. Lack of knowledge

The big problem with remarketing is intimidation. The technicalities of Google and Facebook are intimidating, especially if you don’t regularly work in these platforms. Showing up in your ads is intimidating, especially if you’re used to hiding behind your brand.

I know you don’t have much time to work on this. The question I’m asking at the moment is this:

If you can give me two hours of focused effort per week for five weeks, can I teach you to setup effective remarketing systems that serve you for years into the future?

That’s what Remarketing Basecamp is all about. Remarketing Basecamp is an online remarketing training starting on June 21st. You’ll work directly with myself and Jonathan Wilson to get your basic remarketing systems setup correctly. You’ll adopt a multi-channel approach from the beginning, in a way that doesn’t cost the earth. And you’ll do that with just two hours of focused effort per week, for 5 weeks.

As this is a pilot training, we’ve made Remarketing Basecamp affordable for everyone. Enrolment closes on the 21st when the first implementation session starts. We’ll never be offering this training on this arrangement again. This is a one-time opportunity.

Read more about Remarketing Basecamp

(That page alone is worth a read).

June 11, 2019

Remarketing Crash Course: Day 6

Tracking: is remarketing profitable?

I mentioned yesterday about my client who’s Google remarketing conversions dried up when they turned off their Facebook ads.

Why exactly is that?

By running ads on multiple platforms you create interdependence between different traffic sources. You can no longer isolate and compare the performance of LinkedIn, Google Display and Facebook, because to varying degrees each influences the others.

It’s a mistake to look at your conversion numbers and think: “hmm… $12 per conversion on Facebook… $4 per conversion on Google Display… let’s switch off Facebook.” In all likelihood your Facebook ads are contributing to your Google Ads conversions.

Google have understood this for a while, which is why in your Google Ads columns there’s a column called ‘Assisted Conversions’. An assisted conversion is where somebody sees your Google Display ad (likely a remarketing ad), but then converts later on through a keyword-targeted search ad. A cynical mind might argue that Google are attempting to justify the value of their display network clicks. But in my experience assisted conversions are more common than you might think.

When you start tying together multiple media, the number of assisted conversions goes haywire. People see you in multiple places and every conversion usually comes with a handful of assisted conversions. The whole picture is greater and more complex than the isolated sum of the parts.

The problem is you can’t measure this natively within any one platform. The ‘Assisted Conversions’ column in Google Ads won’t tell you how many people saw a Google ad and converted later on Facebook. Or vice versa.

Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t attempt to measure performance across all your platforms. It just helps to understand that all conversion figures are approximate and only a representation of the real situation. You’re simply trying to gather enough data to make sensible and mostly correct decisions.

The free way to do this is with Google Analytics. If you make sure that all your ads are tracked with Google Analytics tracking code (sometimes called ‘UTM variables’), Google Analytics can start to build a more complete picture of your remarketing effectiveness.

The paid way to do this is with something like Wicked Reports. Wicked Reports picks up the same UTM variables as Google Analytics (so you can use both), but when a sale happens it pieces together a more complete picture of the customer’s journey. You can also pull in revenue information from your payment processor to generate an approximate return on ad spend.

The big mistake people make when tracking remarketing performance is attempting to figure out exactly what is going on. The complete picture is more complex than you think. In your analytics systems you only need enough information to make better decisions. Attempting to give exact credit to different media will drive you mad.

Once configured properly, Google Analytics is fine as a mechanism for better overall decision making. For extra detail, Wicked Reports will pull back the curtain of mystery a little more. If you’re spending decent money on ads then one or two extra insights a month will justify the investment.

June 10, 2019

Remarketing Crash Course: Day 5

The multi-channel remarketing approach

I happen to ride a motorbike. In the last year there’s been a noticeable increase in the number of people riding with small LED fairing lights attached to the side panels of the bike.

These lights are only small, but at a distance the three lights (headlight plus two fairing lights) look like one big light coming towards you. The overall effect is greater than the sum of the parts.

Extending your remarketing strategy to multiple platforms has a similar effect. You might spend more on one particular platform (e.g. Google), but each additional network adds another light. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on these additional networks for people to notice you.

If somebody visits your website and for a time sees your remarketing ads on Google Display, Facebook and YouTube, that creates a powerful combined effect. To that person you look like you’re everywhere, spending tremendous amounts of dosh. Which of course you aren’t, because you’re only advertising to a few thousand people at a time.

All of which is great in principle, but there are some nuances to this.

As we discussed last time, you need to limit your risk by targeting small audiences of recently active contacts. You’re adding SMALL fairing lights to your bike, not big expensive ones. You’re advertising in a risk-averse manner by targeting short audience durations.

The next nuance to contend with is your own media preferences and biases. Some of my clients bristle at the idea of running Facebook ads, either because they don’t like Facebook, have never run ads successfully, or simply believe it isn’t a business tool. All of which is irrelevant – the real question is whether you can profitably engage potential customers there.

Each Network is Different

There are services (such as Adroll) that will propagate your remarketing ads across Google and Facebook from a single campaign. As tempting as that might sound, I don’t suggest you do that. Each platform is different in nature. The right remarketing strategy on Google might not be the right strategy on Facebook.

People spend time in different places online for different reasons. A remarketing ad that works well on Google Display won’t necessarily work that well on Facebook.

As a very broad rule of thumb, I find Facebook to be a better nurturing platform, and Google a better conversions platform. I’ve seen examples where a client has turned off their Facebook remarketing ads (believing them to be unprofitable), only for the Google conversions to dry up. In hindsight it appeared that people were noticing the Facebook ad but converting later through the Google ad.

Why is Facebook a better nurturing platform? For at least a few seconds you have someone’s complete attention as they scroll past in their news feed. Many people will stop to watch a 1-2 minute video, often with the sound off if you have captions enabled. It’s hard to sell at that point, because there are a million other posts to scroll through. But it’s a great way to build trust or communicate an idea.

Where To Start…

To begin with, focus your remarketing efforts on Facebook and the Google Display Network. You can replicate your audience strategy across these two networks, but adjust your ads to play to the strengths of each medium. Nurture and engage more on Facebook. Sell in your Google Ads, or push your main conversion action.

If you have a high traffic website (say with more than 10,000 visitors per month) you’ll then want to expand to YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter. YouTube uses the same audiences as Google Display, which is convenient because all you then need to do is create one or two decent videos.

If you sell B2B or to a corporate audience, you’ll want to introduce LinkedIn much sooner. Although bear in mind that on LinkedIn you can currently only create a 30 day audience (i.e. you can’t limit your risk so much with a 1 or 2 day audience), and you’ll need a minimum of 300 people in your audience before your ads will run. LinkedIn require you to put more skin in the game before you can play.

Messaging ads on LinkedIn can be highly effective, especially if you’re sending LinkedIn messages to people who have visited your website. LinkedIn is a higher cost strategy, but the results can be worth it.

We’ll talk more about how to measure the effectiveness of your remarketing strategy tomorrow.

June 7, 2019

Remarketing Crash Course: Day 4

Is remarketing expensive?

Are remarketing clicks a ‘good deal’? It used to be that remarketing clicks were cheaper than regular keyword-driven clicks. This is generally no longer the case.

Click prices are roughly comparable between remarketing display and Google search, it’s just more likely that a remarketing click will convert because the person clicking already knows you.

At least, that’s the theory. Cetaris paribus, as an economist might say.

In practice, remarketing clicks don’t always convert better. You have to ask… how well do the people in your remarketing audiences really know you? If somebody visited your website once three weeks ago, do you still consider them as ‘warm’?

Remarketing audiences are transient, and go cold quickly. Much more so than email. As long as your emails in the past were good you can usually get away with not emailing somebody for a while. You don’t get that luxury with remarketing.

Because your remarketing audiences quickly go cold, you want to spend more money on the people who were active most recently. Catalogue marketers call this principle ‘RFM’, which stands for recency, frequency and money.

RFM is a universal principle. Every pub landlord knows that the most likely person to step into the pub next is going to be the last person who left, followed by the person who steps into the pub most frequently, followed by the person who spends the most money in the pub overall. (I’ve rigorously tested that example).

RFM applies to telephone conversations. The next person to call you will most likely be the person who called you last. Followed by the person who calls you most frequently. Followed by the person who spends the most time on the phone with you overall.

In remarketing terms, the most likely contact to convert is the one who was on your website most recently. Followed by the person who keeps coming back. Followed by the person who spends the most time on your site overall. Of the three, recency is the biggest indicator of future purchase intent. (Or future likelihood to convert).

You minimise your remarketing risk by focusing your campaigns around the contacts with the highest RFM score, with recency being the most important factor.

Most remarketing campaigns that I audit operate with relatively long audience durations, often 30 days or more. (Facebook will let you keep people in an audience for 180 days, Google for 540 days).

You might still want to build those long term audiences, but they often won’t be a big part of your advertising strategy. It’s easy to waste money when you’re advertising to somebody for 30 days. It’s less likely when they only see your ads for a day or two.

The shortest audience duration you can set on Google and Facebook is one day (i.e. this will include people active on your website in the last 24 hours). If you have more than 100 website visitors per day that’s going to be your key audience for advertising purposes.

You can still have a 30 day audience, or a 180 day audience, or whatever. But don’t spend as much money on it. Focus your spend on your most recently active contacts.

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