A lot of advertisers who come to AdRoll get started with retargeting through Google’s remarketing program. Google’s remarketing is a great place to get started and learn about how effective retargeting can be as a marketing channel, and then a lot of advertisers come to us to take their retargeting program to the next level.

So let’s talk a little about why you might want to move from Google remarketing to a dedicated retargeting platform.

Inventory: AdRoll has access to 30+ inventory sources

The number one reason is inventory. If you run a retargeting campaign through Google’s remarketing program, you’re stuck with Google Inventory. Google has some good sites and some bad sites. So if you have a fixed budget, and you only run Google retargeting, you’re going to get some good sites and some bad sites. When you’re ready to optimize your campaign and take that ROI to the next level, you’re going to want to cherry pick the best performing sites from all the inventory you could possibly have available to you.

AdRoll is integrated with 30+ inventory sources. Our platform helps you spend your fixed budget and cherry pick the best sites from the various platforms, Google, Microsoft and 30+ others, and bring that fixed budget into one campaign. Having more inventory to optimize across is just going to result in a better performing campaign overall.

Segmentation: AdRoll lets you create segments easily

Alright- I’m going to talk a little bit more about one of the benefits of dedicated retargeting platform over using the remarketing feature that is built into Google AdWords. One of the most powerful optimizing levers that we see in a retargeting campaign is segmenting your audience. People who go to different areas of your site should be exposed to different marketing messages, and some people you might not want to target at all.

With Google remarketing ads that is very difficult to do. To execute that properly in Google Remarketing you need to take a separate audience pixel. For every segment that you want to create, you have to go into Google AdWords, pull a pixel, go into your CMS for your site and place the pixel on the pages you want to create the segment for. That is a very laborious process and doesn’t allow you to make changes and adjust segments very easily.

If you site is with AdRoll, we’ve developed a single pixel solution, so you just place one pixel across the footer of your entire site, and then you can go into the AdRoll interface to specify words that appear in the URL for the pages you want to create a segment for. If there is a segment you want to create for people who visit products that are related to a category, for instance if you sell pants, you can create segment of pages with the word “pants” in the address. Then, AdRoll will automatically create a pants segment for you that will allow you to easily match up ads, creative, budget to people that fall into different segments. We’ve seen an increase in ROI from 30-60% when you create segmented retargeting campaigns vs just retargeting everyone the same way.

Time cohorts


One of the most underutilized tactics when it comes to running a highly effective and optimized retargeting campaign is taking into account time cohorts. Now what that means is adjusting your campaign based on how long it has been since a person first visits your site.

Normally without retargeting, people will come back to convert on your site after their first visit within a certain amount of time. Now, that might look something like this- you might get most of your conversions the first few days and then it sort of trickles down and decreases. With a retargeting campaign, since you’re following up with those people, reminding them of the products they might like, giving them offers and things of that nature. You can get more conversions throughout that entire time period, but during certain time periods the campaign is going to be more effective than others.

To take those time cohorts into account in Google retargeting is next to impossible. You have to create a different audience segment for each and every one of these time periods that you want to look at, run a different campaign to each of those segments, and measure on your own which of those segments was most effective. That is an ordeal.

AdRoll does this all for you automatically. Our algorithm will look at when you are getting the most incremental conversions, during what time period and adjust your campaign accordingly. This system also lets you really cool things like a re-engagement campaign. That is when you can target a campaign to people who have already purchased, wait a certain number of days and then make other offers or make them aware of complimentary products to their first purchase that they might be interested in. That allows you to get another set of conversions as you re-engage with people who have already purchased.