Tracking Banner Ads

How Do Some Banner Ads Follow Me from Site to Site?

It’s happened to all of us. We’re surfing the web and browsing a particular site. Later, we move on to another site to find a banner ad for the site we visited hours earlier. It’s almost as if the ads are following us. So, how does this work?

The answer is ad remarketing. Ad remarketing is a tool used by web advertisers to bring potential customers back to their websites after they’ve left. By keeping track of a customer’s browsing habits, companies can in effect give the customer a second chance at buying their product.

How does ad remarketing work?

Experts have found that only 2 percent of potential customers buy a product from a company, or “convert,” during the first visit to the company’s website. Remarketing is designed to bring the 98 percent that don’t buy a product on first glance back to the website for a second look.

For this to work, the owner of a company puts a small snippet of code, or a “remarketing pixel,” on their website. This code places an anonymous cookie into new visitors’ browsers. The cookie allows the advertiser to track visitors’ browsing habits and discover the optimum time to serve ads to those visitors.

For example, a person browsing the web looking to buy a pair of shoes will visit numerous sites looking for the best pair for the best price. It’s unlikely that they will buy any shoes on the first visit to a site. The company that uses remarketing has an advantage, however. Later, while the potential customer is browsing other sites, the company will serve an ad designed to remind the customer of its site, perhaps highlighting a specific sale or product. The customer will then click on the ad and return to the site. On their second visit, they are much more likely to make a purchase and increase the company’s ROI.

Remarketing is an effective strategy because it specifically targets individuals who have already shown an interest in a company’s product. These individuals are more likely to convert than random individuals who may have little or no desire to buy a particular product.

Google AdSense and AdWords

Estimates show that the Google Content Network reaches approximately 80 percent of all web users worldwide. Therefore, it makes sense for advertisers and web publishers alike to take advantage of Google’s marketing programs, which are called AdSense and AdWords.

AdWords is a tool used by advertisers. With it, companies can create advertisements that appear on Google search results as well as Google’s network of partner sites. With AdWords remarketing, users can tag certain pages of their site that visitors have browsed, for example, the pages that feature shoes. This allows them to create a campaign to reserve relevant ads as the visitor goes on to different sites. This is the essence of the remarketing strategy.

Google’s advertising programs aren’t only profitable for companies selling products and services, they can be greatly lucrative for web content publishers. With AdSense, web publishers post ads on their websites and receive revenue for each view, also called Pay Per Impression or PPI , or each click, called Pay Per Click or PPC.

A win-win situation

Remarketing as employed by Google AdWords creates a win-win situation for individuals looking to gain revenue from the Web. On one hand, companies can target the consumers who are most likely to buy their products. On the other, web content publishers can increase their revenue from PPI and PPC advertising. And finally, remarketing also benefits customers who are looking to make the right purchases.

If you’re looking for assistance setting up Google AdWords remarketing with your pay per click campaign, contact us for help.

February 19, 2014

About Drew Barton

Drew Barton is president and founder of Southern Web Group, LLC. Southern Web Group has grown into one of Atlanta's fastest growing web design firms with clients throughout the country. While often associated with work for real estate companies, the firm boasts clients in nearly all industries. Much of Southern Web Group's recent work has been in the law, healthcare and manufacturing markets. As part of Southern Web Group's offerings, Drew frequently conducts customized seminars on website marketing, including email newsletters and search engine optimization. He has served on Keller Williams' Internet Mastermind group and has been quoted at the brokerage's Technology Mega camps. Drew also has been quoted as a web expert in articles in SmartBiz Magazine and on Microsoft's Live.com. In 2004, the Atlanta Business Chronicle named Drew one of the top 40 rising stars under 40 years old. In 2007, the International Association of Business Communicators presented Drew with its Silver Flame Award for an article he wrote about boosting Web site traffic. Drew, whose experience includes stints at Web.com and CNN.com, graduated from Emory University and resides in Atlanta.

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