Content Remarketing – Returning Your Visitors Back To The Conversion Path

This post discusses how content remarketing can help you get your visitors to return to the conversion funnel. Content is a journey and one of the biggest challenges B2B brands face is getting abandoned traffic and relevant visitors back on their site and to the right track.

The Content Remarketing Journey

What Is Content Remarketing?
First things first, what is content remarketing? Content remarketing or content retargeting is one aspect of content marketing which deals with the methods and tools to help get visitors back to the content funnel. Since content marketing is a journey, it is made up of different sections, each section targeting a different stage in the conversion process. We can generally divide any content funnel to 5 main parts:

  1. Awareness – Getting potential customers to know about an opportunity/aware of a pain
  2. Consideration – The stage where a potential customer is consider the various alternatives to take advantage of this opportunity/solutions to address the pain
  3. Intent – The potential customer is ready to make a decision start with one of these solutions
  4. Decision (Action/Conversion) – Starting a trial/requesting a demo/Buying a product
  5. Retention/Advocacy – Staying with the brand and promoting it to peers

With content remarking, the challenge is to first identify the correct stage of each user in the funnel using content marketing analytics, then figure out with which creative/ad/content you want to return them to the path, then target them with the right channel and finally, to make sure that once they are back on your site, you’re guiding them effectively down the funnel using journey personalization.

The Big Opportunity – Lowering Acquisition Costs & Increasing Sales
Why bother with all this tracking, targeting and optimizing? Why not just retarget anyone who has ever visited my site with the same banner? The short answer is acquisition costs. By investing a little more effort and thought into your targeting efforts and infrastructure, you can lower acquisition costs by over 60% (see our example below). But we’re not done yet – if done correctly, content remarketing will not only give you more leads for a smaller budget, but also, bring you the right leads at the right time. That means that a lead will be mature enough in the process that the sales team will have a bigger chance of converting them to a valuable, long-term customer.

The difference between a remarketing campaign to a non-remarketing one is clearly visible in the cost-per-click section

The Big Challenge – Reaching the Right User with the Right Content at the Right Time
As opposed to “classic” retargeting, where the challenge is to reach the user at the right time (before a decision is made), with content retargeting, is also about figuring out which content is most like to engage the visitor to return to the site. This is difficult to achieve for a number of reasons:

  1. Requires knowledge of which content a user has already read as opposed to content they haven’t consumed yet
  2. Requires knowledge of which content actually helps convert visitors as opposed to general content, which could be engaging but overall not very helpful at getting prospective customers down the funnel.
  3. Require knowledge of which content is relevant at which stage of the conversion process (Awareness, Consideration or Intent)

Now, if we have several products, let’s take this massive headache and multiply it by the number of product lines we have. Fun, isn’t it?

Tracking content journeys for multiple product lines or flavors can be a headache but using honeypots you can turn that disadvantage to an advantage

Getting Started – Tracking Basics
To be able to pull off an effective content remarketing campaign, you first need to get your tracking and analytics in order. You need to make sure you are tracking successful conversions so that you could:

  1. Exclude converted visitors from your campaigns
  2. Using your converted users audience to find lookalike audiences to target. Facebook enables you to upload lists of emails or use a remarketing pixel to create audiences. You can use these same functions to create lookalike audiences, basically targeting people with similar attributes.

A word of caution – using emails lists in Facebook for B2B retargeting can be tricky: while most of your email signup will be company emails, many FB users use their personal emails. This mean you may get a low match rate (meaning that Facebook is unable to match most of the emails you submitted to Facebook accounts). Google has recently launched its email list retargeting feature (see link), and although we haven’t tested it yet, it may achieve a higher hit rate than FB for work emails.

The Lowest Hanging Fruit – Intent Stage
After we excluded converted visitors, its then time to target those visitors who are the the end of the funnel but haven’t converted yet. These are people that have consumed some content, and also reached some critical pages in our path (like Pricing, Request Demo, Testimonials, etc.). Those people seem to be at a mature enough stage that we can target them with a more aggressive call-to-action as opposed to content.
The way to accomplish that is to target people that visited pages which are indicative of intent-level visitors and cross them with people that read content from our blog. Also, since you are targeting them with Call-to-actions (banners…) and not content, you can expand your campaign to more display retargeting networks like AdRoll.

Second Wave – Consideration
People in the consideration stage of your product, will be harder to engage using an aggressive call-to-action banner. They are still gathering information on the topic, learning the material or looking into the various alternatives. You should be targeting those visitors with “consideration-grade” content and posts. To pull this off, you first need to figure out which are your top consideration-grade posts. TrenDemon with its content marketing insights can help you with figuring this part out by showing you how a typical conversion path looks like, and which items are at the top, middle and bottom of your content funnel. Another way to guesstimate this data is to track all the content items that lead to conversions (using goals in analytics).

TrenDemon’s New Dashboard showing journey insights in relation to goals

Top of funnel – Awareness
Content remarketing can also help you widen your top of funnel. We mentioned lookalike audiences before, and they can be a good way of reaching potential customers that haven’t heard of your company. Other tactics to reach new prospects is to target specific titles in relevant companies that you know could be relevant. Facebook & LinkedIn have a powerful targeting mechanism which allows you to specify the titles and companies you’d like to reach. Although it’s more pricey, it can help you generate the future wave of customers, and start tagging them for future targeting. Here’s a diagram summarizing the various stages, goals and methods of getting potential customers down the content funnel:

The various stages, goals and methods for moving people from one stage to the next

Honeypots – Tackling a Diverse Product Line
If you have several different products or product flavors (meaning, the same core product but with different packaging/theme), and you want to be even more surgical in your targeting, one method is to use honeypots. A honeypot is a specific article or page which if a user touches it, it serves as an indicator that they are interested in that specific flavor. For example, in our case, TrenDemon integrates to several marketing automation services like Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot, etc. To be able to reach the relevant Pardot users, we can use a specific article which discusses our integration with Pardot. Any user reading that post is more likely to engage with our Pardot-specific content and call-to-actions.

Retargeting and Marketing Automation
If you are using marketing automation, you can leverage your contact lists to create targeted audiences. By exporting your lists and creating custom audiences, you can target visitors based on specific marketing automation attributes, like their position in the journey. Furthermore, you can target existing customers for retention or up-sell campaigns. Basically, marketing automation services, like Marketo and Hubspot, allow you to track your users more closely, group them and leverage today’s media network’s remarketing capabilities to target them more effectively.

Which Networks are Right For Your Remarketing Campaign?

As with anything, you should experiment and see where you get the best results. We’ve been using Facebook as the mainstay of our remarketing campaigns. The combination of precision targeting with custom audiences along with extensive ad sets control and optimization give marketers great flexibility and ability to optimize in near real-time. Also, Facebook’s robust API allows you to test and optimize many different sets of campaigns rapidly as well as set up custom audiences from your own data sources. We’ve had mixed results with LinkedIn campaigns – it’s a good but expensive top of funnel source and lacking the deeper remarketing features we see on Facebook. Another service we’ll be looking to test soon is Outbrain, which recently launched their own version of Custom Audience and retargeting – see link.