Remarketing is powerful. It can help your business re-connect with audiences who are already engaged and aware of your product and services. It can show relevant, helpful, and timely ad messages to encourage potential customers and clients to progress through the buying cycle. And it can help to solve a range of different business challenges and provide a fantastic return on investment compared to other marketing avenues.

However, all too often, remarketing is abused by businesses, with ads being too broad, too generic, too frequent, and too extensive, often coming across as ‘irrelevant’, ‘spammy’, and ‘annoying’.

Here are some typical indicators of a poorly-executed remarketing strategy:

  1. Too broad – targeting anyone who’s ever visited your website, regardless of their previous activity and level of engagement
  2. Too greedy – failing to exclude or weight down less relevant audiences, such as people who visited the website only once and immediately bounced without viewing another page
  3. Too many – failing to use impression frequency caps to limit the number of viewable impressions per person per day to avoid ad fatigue
  4. Too generic – showing the same set of banner ads to all website visitors
  5. Too long – running the same set of ads continuously for more than 30 days

If any of the above sound familiar, chances are your business could benefit from a more targeted, tailored, powerful, and efficient remarketing strategy. Once which reaches the right audiences, with the right message, at the right time.

25% Direct, 75% Subtle

The key to successful remarketing is balance, with varying levels of subtlety and directness in how you target and engage with different visitors to your website. You should aim to keep a 3:1 relationship between the following two approaches to remarketing:

  1. Subtle (75%) – creating awareness, interest, engagement, and credibility, and
  2. Direct (25%) – encouraging visitors to make an enquiry or purchase

If your remarketing ads are too subtle, you risk generating too few enquiries or sales. If your remarketing ads are too aggressive and direct, you risk coming across as spammy and irrelevant, and lose the opportunity to subtly position your business as a market leader.

As a rule of thumb, your ‘make an enquiry’ or ‘buy online’ messages should make up 1 in 4 remarketing ads (25%). So for every 3 subtle messages you create, feel free to push a more direct ‘make an enquiry’ or ‘buy online’ message to generate a more direct response. After all, if you’ve worked hard to subtly set the tone of your brand, you can afford to be a little direct. A balanced, respectful, relevant, and helpful approach to remarketing will resonate more effectively with your audiences, leading to higher conversion rates and a higher return on investment.

Find Your Voice

“But what ads should I create for my business?” I hear you ask.

“How exactly do I use remarketing to create awareness, interest, engagement, and credibility?”

“How can I be balanced, respectful, relevant, and helpful in my remarketing?”

Every business has its own voice, so think outside the box. Take a step back, and assess the core benefits and competencies of your business from different angles and contexts. For example:

  • What are your key benefits to the customer?
  • What makes your business unique?
  • How do you stand out from the competition?
  • Do you have any reviews and testimonials?
  • Have you won any awards?
  • Do you specialise in certain locations or types of service?
  • Do you have a great content or an engaging blog?
  • How can you demonstrate your creativity?

Although the exact style, tone, and messaging will be different for every business, below are 4 example remarketing styles to provide some ideas and inspiration:


This type of strategy aims to engage with people on a local level, showcasing the local experience and expertise of your business.

Description: Ads should be tailored to different locations (for example Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane), taking visitors through to a case study, portfolio, or dedicated landing pages relevant to that location.

Tone: The call to action to make an enquiry or purchase should be medium, with the key objective equally balanced between building awareness (50%) and generating enquiries or sales (50%).

Sizes: Due to their targeted nature (only showing to people in that location for approximately 30 days after their website visit), these ads can run indefinitely with a minimal chance of ad fatigue, so create ads in all 10 sizes to maximise reach.


This type of strategy aims to position your business as a leader in the industry.

Description: Ads should promote new articles which go live on your blog.

Tone: The call to action to make an enquiry / purchase should be low, with the primary purpose to build interest, awareness, and curiosity of your content, and to remind potential clients and customers of the market-leading and thought-leading positioning of your business as they progress through the buying cycle.

Sizes: Due to the time-sensitive nature of blog posts, it’s probably only worth showing these ads for a maximum duration of approx 30 days to maintain freshness and relevancy. Since ads will likely become redundant after approximately 30 days (when the article is no longer ‘new’), create blog promotion remarketing ads in the top 3 sizes only.


This type of strategy aims to build the credibility of your business, helping to shape the perception of your brand.

Description: Ads should promote the key selling points of your business, for example ‘100s of Happy Clients’, ‘Read Our 5* Reviews’, or ‘Australia’s #1 Supplier’. Ads can also promote other unique benefits of your business, for example ‘100% Lowest Price Guarantee’.

Tone: The enquiry call to action of this strategy can be medium to high – build your credibility but feel free to suggest and action.

Sizes: Due to the tangible benefits and selling points being communicated, it’s worth creating these ads in all 10 sizes, perhaps running 1-2 week burst campaign multiple times per year.


This type of strategy aims to generate enquiries and sales by piggybacking on seasonal events and times of year, positioning your business as relevant, in touch, and up to date.

Description: Ads should be specific to seasonal events (e.g. Christmas, Boxing Day, public holidays) or times of year (e.g. January, Autumn, 2016), perhaps showcasing relevant seasonal work (for service business) or specials (for ecommerce businesses), taking visitors to relevant seasonal or event-specific landing pages to maintain consistency of message.

Tone: The call to action to make an enquiry or purchase should be medium to high, depending on the strength of your value proposition and the relative importance to your business.

Sizes: Due to these ads likely being used for only a limited time (e.g. two weeks before Christmas), it’s probably worth creating ads in the top 3 sizes only. Feel free to create additional size variations as the relative importance of your seasonal promo dictates. Avoid using hard-wired dates such as ‘2016’ in ads if you wish to re-use seasonal ads again in future years.


Once you’ve decided on the strategy, objective, and tone of your remarketing, you’ll need to create some ads. Here are the 10 image ads sizes which are generally most popular on the Google Display Network:

  • Leaderboard: 728 x 90
  • Inline rectangle: 300 x 250
  • Wide skyscraper: 160 x 600
  • Mobile leaderboard: 320 x 50
  • Banner: 468 x 60
  • Square: 250 x 250
  • Small square: 200 x 200
  • Large rectangle: 336 x 280
  • Skyscraper: 120 x 600
  • Half-page: 300 x 600

The 300 x 250, 728 x 90, and 160 x 600 sizes highlighted in bold often receive the highest number of impressions, so are often worth focusing on first if time and resources are limited.


Once your ads start to receive impressions, it’s then a case of of monitoring, reviewing, refining, and testing new messages, targeting, strategies, and ideas. Aim for a CTR of at least 0.40% (this suggests yours ads are connecting well with your target audiences), although a CTR of over 1.0% is possible for well though-out and well-executed remarketing strategies which reach the right people at the right times with the right message.

Once people click through to your website, choose metrics which are relevant to the purpose of your campaign.

If you’re trying to building awareness, you’ll want to assess on-site performance using softer metrics of engagement (page views, time on site, secondary goal completions), and if you’re aiming for a direct response, metrics such as conversion rates and ROI become more useful.

The view-through-conversion metric (people who saw your ad, didn’t necessary click your ad, but then later went on to convert), can be useful to understand remarketing’s role in helping to generate sales, however it’s hard to exclude people who would have gone on to convert anyway without seeing the ad, so use this with caution.

First click, last click, and assisted click attribution models, which are standard to Google Analytics reporting, can be a great tool to compare remarketing effectiveness throughout the buying cycle, doing so with metrics which are most relevant to your business.


Don’t be like every other business and annoy potential customers and clients with irrelevant and uninspiring remarketing messages which follow them around.

Instead, think of remarketing as an opportunity to stand out from the competition, respect your audiences, and increase your profitability with a targeted, efficient, and relevant messaging strategy.

Segment different types of website visitors, and re-connect with different visitor segments with relevant, timely, helpful, and engaging messages. Achieve click through rates (CTR) above 0.50%, benefit from increased ad reach, lower your click costs, boost your conversion rates, and achieve a strong return on investment (ROI) from remarketing.

Start today. Every business has a voice which needs to be heard.

Alan Mitchell

16 Years Experience. 10,000 Hours Research & Innovation. Exclusive Self-Built Technology. World-Leading PPC Marketing by Alan Mitchell

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Melbourne, Australia