June 18, 2019
Many organizations fall into a remarketing list rollercoaster—they create a list of potential prospects, then don’t think about reviewing it for months or even years.
As the marketing landscape continues to evolve, list governance is critical. Marketers must test, optimize, and review remarketing lists and digital campaigns to determine whether membership durations and other key metrics are generating valuable return on investment (ROI) for your organization.
Remarketing uses a snippet of code (a tracking code or pixel) on your site to show targeted ads across the web to users who have visited your site in the past. Because these users are familiar with your products or services, remarketing campaigns often see a higher click-through-rate (CTR) and lower cost-per-click (CPC) than other targeting methods.
Remarketing is most commonly used on Google Ads and Facebook but is available on many other platforms such as Bing Ads, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snapchat. As these platforms continue to expand, previously created remarketing lists are often ignored. To keep lists working for you, it’s important to periodically optimize the membership duration.
Membership duration is the amount of time a website visitor will stay in your remarketing list after their most recent visit to your site, allowing you to show them targeted ads. Suppose you decide on a membership duration of 30 days. If a user visited your site once and never returned, they would be removed from your remarketing list on day 31. However, this user could be added into your remarketing list again if they return to your site in the future.
If a different user visited your site on day 1 and again on day 29, their membership duration would “reset,” and they would stay in the remarketing list for another 30 days. The user would be removed if they didn’t visit your site for 30 consecutive days.
Each advertising platform sets its own maximum membership durations. In Google Ads, the default membership duration is set to 30 days but can be reduced to 1 day or expanded to 540 days for Display campaigns and 180 days for Search remarketing campaigns. Facebook Ads also has a default membership duration of 30 days and caps their maximum membership duration at 180 days.
The answer depends on your business goals, the customer journey, and the average time it takes to make a purchasing decision. For example, a company that sells movie tickets will have an average customer buying cycle of a couple of days, whereas customers might research enterprise software products for months before making a purchase.
Another way to determine your optimal membership duration is to test with live campaigns. Create multiple remarketing lists with various membership durations and measure which brought in the most cost-effective conversions based on CTR, CPC, form completions, and other pertinent metrics.
Check out the following example. We created six different remarketing lists with various membership durations: 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 180 days, 365 days, and 540 days (the maximum allowed in Google Ads). Once your lists are fully populated, you can begin testing by adding them into your remarketing campaigns.
In our example, we would have to wait at least 540 days to allow the remarketing list “Website Visitors – 540 Day Membership Duration” to fully populate before we could begin testing. If you decide to test, you may choose membership durations of 7, 14, 21, or 28 days. This means you would only need to wait 28 days after the initial set up before testing could begin. You will be able to view the results of your test under the “Audience” tab within your remarketing campaign.
When is the last time you tested and optimized your remarketing lists? For many busy marketers, it’s been too long. We encourage you to get off the remarketing rollercoaster. Run some testing around your membership duration—the results may surprise you!