The death of re-marketing and its repercussions on e-commerce


Written by Niamh Reed and originally posted on DigitalDoughnut.

Google has been taking steps to end re-marketing. A bold move, perhaps, and a worrying one for advertisers. Google has recently introduced an addition to their ad-blocking capability that allows consumers to block all your re-marketing ads.  Nor has the organisation stopped there: Google is still developing their ad blockers as you read this.

But does this mark the end of re-marketing, and if so, what does that mean for your e-commerce marketing practices and your business?

The ‘what’s and ‘why’s of re-marketing

Everyone has experienced re-marketing – probably without even realising it initially. Re-marketing refers to those adverts that follow you around the web, reminding you of products that you were browsing the other day.

For customers, it’s a creeping reminder that you might still need to buy that pair of orange wellies you were looking at yesterday. For businesses, it’s a highly cost-effective tool, increasing their sale of orange wellies and decreasing cart abandonment.

Re-marketing isn’t actually marketing at all. It’s a sales tactic. Mike Michalowicz

Re-marketing can be incredibly effective. In fact, a website visitor who’s been retargeted with a display ad is 70% more likely to convert. It works by creating multiple impressions of the product, making it stick in the customer’s mind until they decide to buy.

Google – re-marketing’s killer?

As useful as re-marketing may be, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to rely on. Brands, prepare: Google is going after your adverts.

On January 25 Google announced an addition to their ad blocking capabilities that allowed customers to block re-marketing ads. They’re providing your prospects even more ways of resisting your attempts to court them through re-marketing.

And it’s not just the particular ad that happened to annoy the customer getting blocked. It’s you. Every advert you direct at that customer is now being blocked by Google for 90 days. Plus, Google is continuing to fine-tune its ad blockers, and your ads aren’t just being blocked on one device, but across all the customer’s devices.

Blessing in disguise?

Of course, re-marketing has always come with its cons. There is a question as to whether the overuse of re-marketing technology and tactics comes at the expense of annoyed customers. After you’ve seen the same ad for ages, for a product you’ve already bought, it can be grating to still have it shoved in your face.

Evidently, Google agrees that repetitive re-marketing ads have a negative impact on user experience. Could Google even be doing businesses a favour?

It certainly is the case that the inability to rely on re-marketing encourages a better customer experience on site – after all, it’s just become much harder to tempt them back again. Besides, re-marketing was only annoying if you overused it. For companies that use it well, this new Google move might not be such a painful one.

Google won’t automatically block your adverts (for now). So, if customers like your adverts (or at least, don’t find them annoying), you’ve nothing to worry about. Except, there’s no way to guarantee that.

Real-time conversions

So, what do you need to do to convert amid the death of re-marketing? You need to focus on converting your online shoppers while they are live on your page, browsing your digital store. The adage goes that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and the same goes for your customers. A customer in your store (or on your page) is worth two on the street (or scrolling through Google).

The death of re-marketing means that there needs to be an increased emphasis on proactive, real-time service when your customers are browsing your page. With tools such as live chat software, you can provide your customers with real-time, on-site support that encourages them to stay on your website. Because they don’t need to wait for answers to queries, customers are less inclined to leave your site before making their purchase – your team can put any worry to bed. It’s the equivalent of an attentive customer service employee in a retail store.

Convert, convert, convert

With Google making it harder for you to stalk your customers once they leave your site, you need to place your focus on optimising the customer experience while you have their attention.

For brands, the death of re-marketing needn’t be the death of conversions. Refocus your efforts on providing proactive, real-time support for your website prospects, and on continually enhancing their experience.

Don’t rely on stalking consumers through re-marketing – Google may well just stop you in your tracks.​

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