Google remarketing won’t work for you

Posted by Dave CollinsDigital Marketing, Website Usability

When I was in Beijing a few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting one of the markets that sells a wide range of goods at “too good to be true” prices.

Here’s the script of what generally happens.

I walk past a stall selling questionably-authentic designer handbags.

Seller: [LOUD] Hello Sir, want to buy a designer handbag?

Me: No thank-you.

Seller: [LOUDER] We have all the designer makes, great prices.

Me: No thank-you. I don’t want to buy any handbags.

Most sellers at this point give up and forget you exist. You’re not interested, so why waste time?

Persistent seller: [SHOUT] But come and look. Expensive brands, low prices, I give you the best deal. How much you want to pay?

Me: Stop following me. I don’t want a handbag. Do I look like I buy handbags? Look at what I’m wearing. I will never buy a handbag.

Persistent seller: [SHOUT LOUD] Okay how much you want? Tell me price and I give you best deal in China. [PUSHES CALCULATOR IN MY HAND]

Me: Go away. I don’t want any handbag at all.


Me: …. I don’t want ANY bloody handbag…. why are you still following me? Please go away.

When the visitor to your website walks away without purchasing, downloading the trial or¬†contacting you, they have most likely decided that they don’t want what you sell.

When you sell a solution to a problem, that decision is usually final.

Continuing to push the product they are no longer interested in is pointless.

It may work for choosing a vacation or ordering office supplies, but it won’t work with a solution to a problem.

So what does this have to do with Google?

Google explain their remarketing functionality as follows:

Remarketing allows you to show ads to users who’ve previously visited your website as they browse the Web…¬†Remarketing allows you to communicate with people who’ve previously visited key pages on your website, giving you a powerful new way to match the right people with the right message.

The idea is that I go looking for software to monitor my websites. I come across your website, look at what you offer, then continue searching elsewhere. Remarketing allows you to reach those people again.

In theory it’s an interesting idea, but I don’t believe that it’s a good fit for software developers.

All software solves problems.

So in the above example my problem is that I don’t know when my website slows down to a crawl or crashes, until someone complains.

I go looking for a software solution, I find your product, then decide that it’s not what I’m looking for. So I move on.

Don’t emulate the crazy woman who followed me trying to sell me something I wasn’t remotely interested in.

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