Last Minute Ideas for 2016 Holiday Retargeting

So, here we are. The holiday shopping season is once again upon us. And you, small business owner, you are in a panic. Not everyone has the time or resources to scale up their digital holiday strategies to capitalize on sales. Behind the game? Here a few remarketing ideas that can be of assistance. This isn’t anything new or groundbreaking or anything someone else hasn’t blogged about, but I do want to provide some reminders with a holiday twist.

Remarketing allows you to get in front of your captive audience and really emphasize your holiday offers. Two common methods in this approach are:

  1. Remarket to those you have already been on your site
  2. Remarket to a customer email list

Both provide great channels to generate an extra touch point with potential customers who are familiar with your brand and products. However, time is running out to plan and execute these tactics for the holiday season.

Website Visitors

First, as quickly as you can, implement the Google Remarketing Tag on your site. Doing so will begin collecting and building your audience list. This is the only potential pitfall in trying to create a remarketing campaign at the last minute; it does require that code to be added to the site. If you are savvy and can access your site to apply this line of code it should only take you a few minutes. If you need to get your IT person or web firm involved, make sure you budget time for that. If you want to know if your tag is installed correctly, you can download the Google Tag Assistant Chrome Extension here.

Don’t delay in doing so, as the amount of traffic your site gets will dictate how quickly your audience list builds in order to reach a critical mass to begin remarketing. As soon as you get your tag in, also be sure to create your specific audience buckets with rules! It will take time to build these specific lists. You may choose a specific product page or stage of checkout, or you may choose a product overview page to ensure you have a larger list. All of this will depend on the narrow or broad nature of your ad strategy.



One tip, create as many specific audience lists as possible. You don’t have to use all of them, but it is good if they continually build for the future so if you make a quick short term decision to run a campaign you don’t have to wait for the critical mass of the audience to build. The audience will be there for you waiting to utilize.

If you have already missed the window to create an audience list, don’t fret. When creating your new list check the “Include past users who match these rules” box. This will include users who match your criteria within the last 30 days, giving more of a remarketing audience bucket to start with.



Email Lists

A few items. First, be absolutely sure that these are customers that have opted in, engaged with, or raised their hand with you. Don’t be spammy when it comes to building an email list. It will discredit your brand and you will waste impressions and possibly your budget.

To build your campaign, be sure to clean up your list and save it as a .csv file — not an Excel sheet, a .csv. It will get rejected otherwise. Go into Shared Library, select Audiences. Click on + Remarketing List and choose the Customer Emails Drop Down. From here, name your list and upload your file. Be sure to click the Google compliance checkbox and select a membership duration. If this is for a holiday campaign, plan your duration out accordingly. Click Save and you have your list. One advantage to putting a customer list into play versus creating a web visitor list is that you do not have to wait for critical mass to build. Once the list is uploaded, within about 24 hours you should be able to use it and launch a campaign.


So, you have your lists set, but you are not done! Think through what types of prospects are on that list and be sure to tailor your text and banner ads to them in the most productive way. Additionally, don’t just bulk add all of your email lists. Depending on where you generated your lists, be sure to run specific campaigns that have products and offers that will entice them to click.

Ad Tactics For Both List Types

Always be testing at least two ads. If you can do banner ads with multiple versions, you can see which ads generate the highest click through rate, quality on-site visits and of course, sales. More than likely, you may have to just use text ads or responsive ads due to a lack of resources to create quality banner ads. That’s okay! The responsive text ad option recently released by Google AdWords allows you to create enticing ads without a graphic designer on staff. If you want to stay traditional with your approach, you are able to create and test your ads in the expanded text ad formats as well.


Another great tactic in remarketing ad strategy is the use of time. You will, of course, need to use a hook, offer, or highlight an additional benefit of the product. Combining a time element into it creates a sense of urgency. For example, “Order by Monday and get 25% off” this product that they have already interacted with. Use the time crunch of the holiday season to your advantage.


In conclusion, get your Google Remarketing Tag code in place now so it starts building your audience list. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming very quickly. You have time, but don’t delay too much more if you want to test remarketing strategies this holiday season.

Joseph Ford

Joe Ford is a Managing Partner at Netvantage Marketing. In addition to overseeing day to day business operations of Netvantage, he directs paid search strategy and management. Ford is on the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Board of Directors, the Marketing Committee for Impression 5 Science Museum, and the Executive Board of the Capital Area IT Council. Additionally, Ford is an adjunct faculty member in the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University.

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