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If you've spent some time surfing the web, you know there's no lack of advertising space on a myriad of websites. But what you may not realize is many of these advertising spots are "for rent." Dubbed remarketing (or retargeting), it's all about enabling companies to show relevant ads to people who have initially expressed interest in what you have to offer online.

For instance, did you visit a clothing site and later that day, on another website, see an ad for the article of clothing you looked at ? While it may appear that the stars are aligning to help you rationalize that purchase, it's actually Google's remarketing engine at work. And, it may just be the tool to help drive more online sales for your tour or activity company.

What Is Remarketing/Retargeting?

We interviewed Margot da Cunha, previous content marketing specialist at WordStream, a Google Premier SMB partner focused on search marketing. According to da Cunha, remarketing, also known as ad retargeting (these terms are used interchangeably), is “essentially when you cookie your past site visitors to follow them around with ads on various sites they browse."

In a sense, it's kind of like an acceptable business form of stalking. If someone comes to your website and is looking into purchasing a kayak tour experience, but then gets distracted and pulls up a new website, a visual prompt advertisement of your choosing will show on other websites they visit, such as Facebook, to "remarket" to them. The hope is that they'll see the image of the kayak they were researching on your site, along with your carefully crafted advertising message, and realize that it might be time to head on back to the page or shopping cart they abandoned.

Does Remarketing work?

“Most people who are doing paid search, who start to then embrace remarketing, are blown away by the results," da Cunha says. “It works because you're targeting people instead of just keywords." In other words, you know they're more qualified than people who just stumble upon your ad, because they've actually been to your website before and shown an interest.

There's no tried and true statistic on how exactly retargeting will help your business, but in general, anytime you're advertising to people who are interested in what you have to offer, the better the results will be. “Conversion rate increases with exposure," says da Cunha. "The more your target sees your ad, the more likely they are to convert." And, don't worry too much about people becoming annoyed because “your odds of overwhelming the audience, because of the way Google controls things, are pretty low."

How do I get started?

The process to set up remarketing efforts for your tour, activity or rental business will be fairly straightforward. If you already have a PPC campaign running through Adwords or Wordstream, there is a simple setup process, which you can learn more about here: How Does Google Remarketing Work? It involves modifying your website pages with a small piece of tracking code (called a tag), creating a list of people you would like to remarket to and deciding how often you want them to see your ad.

You can get as general or specific as you see fit when it comes to setting your criteria (who sees it and how often). Here are few scenarios of people you can target with ads of your choosing:

  • Everyone who has visited a certain page on your website.
  • Only people who visited a specific landing page (for instance, your wine tasting ticket purchase page), but didn't convert.
  • Only those who placed a bike or kayak in their cart, but then abandoned ship.
  • Only people who purchased a Halloween escape room adventure last year, who you want to casually remind to do so again for the upcoming season.

What's it going to cost ?

Similar to Google Adwords, you can spend hundreds, thousands or even more on your remarketing campaign. As with any new service, it's best to start by allocating a reasonably sized portion of your online marketing budget, along with tightly defined goals, so you can measure how remarketing affects your conversions.

The broader your remarketing campaign's criteria, the higher your cost will usually be. You can fine-tune and set frequency caps (i.e. this person can only see this ad a certain number of times per day) and duration (i.e. this person will no longer see this ad after 30 days) as you see fit to manage costs.

Wordstream does have some recommendations when it comes to duration and frequency based on recent studies and experience:

  • Duration should be set to three times your average sales cycle for best results.
  • Setting the frequency to unlimited is worth it. Even if you set frequency cap to unlimited, those people will only see it an average of 3.71 impressions per day.

There's no time like the present to get started with remarketing for your tour, activity, or rental business. If you're interested in learning more (which you should be), check out this guide: Complete Guide to Content Remarketing.