Use Big Data Remarketing in Google AdWords and Analytics

Here’s a tip about a powerful, under-rated Google Analytics feature, “You’re bad at Big Data”, aka Smart Remarketing lists. Google rolled out this feature to all Google Analytics accounts last year. Smart Remarketing Lists attempts to process massive amounts of conversion data and identify those visitors to your website who are most likely to convert if you were to remarket to them.

This option, relatively unpublicized, is an interesting twist, especially for smaller businesses who don’t have dedicated PPC and Google Analytics analysts to crunch big data for them about massive conversions. That said, I wouldn’t leave this solely in Google’s hands, since there’s limited flexibility to the tool. Instead, what you’ll likely want to do is A/B test your ad spend for a little while.

Here’s where to find it, in the Admin section of the application:


When you go to create a new audience, it’s one of the options:


Simply pick how long of an observation window you want. This should be mapped to your sales cycle, ideally.


Once you’ve got your lists set up, head over to AdWords and start building out your ad campaigns. I recommend you run 2 parallel campaigns with equal budgets, ads, and keywords for both campaigns so that you have a completely fair A/B test and see which performs better, a hand-built list or Smart Remarketing List. Remember that in order for the best outcome, you’ll need to link your AdWords account to your Google Analytics account and have goals and goal values already defined.

Try this feature out and see if it works for your business!

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Sign up for my free Google Analytics webinar, 4/21 at 2 PM ET

Join me on Tuesday, April 21 at 2 PM Eastern Time for a webinar about how to use Google Analytics for public relations and communications.

Public relations is notorious for being difficult to measure. That said, it’s not impossible to measure, and tools like Google Analytics can be a powerful ally for understanding the impact of earned media. You’ll learn what Google Analytics can and can’t measure in PR, how it integrates with other measurement solutions, particularly around social media, and where you should get started in your own measurement strategy.

For example, social media has a funnel of its own:


Google Analytics can and does aptly measure part of this funnel, but part of it is outside the scope of what the application can do directly. We’ll talk about what does and doesn’t work out of the box, and if there’s time, we can always discuss

I will also cover the #1 thing people do wrong with Google Analytics in general, how to calculate the ROI of social media, and answer any questions you might have.

Who should attend? You do not have to work in public relations to get benefit out of this webinar. Almost all the ideas are applicable to anyone in marketing and communications. You definitely do not need to work in an agency to gain benefits; if you work in-house, there will be plenty for you.

The webinar will be free of financial cost, but you’ll get email from SHIFT. I can promise there will be no annoying sales guy who will call you every day for two months until you block him on Caller ID, because we don’t have any dedicated sales guys, period.

So click on the annoying button to register now:

Definitely the most annoying button you'll see all day

I should add as a disclaimer, in case it’s not obvious, that no one at SHIFT’s creative services team had any part in the creation of that button. I made it intentionally ugly and mildly annoying all on my own.

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Does a daily social media ask help to sell more?

One of the social media marketing tactics that I’d always been opposed to in the past is high frequency repetition of an offer on social media. I made the assumption in years past that your audience was relatively static, and peppering them with offer after offer would eventually make them flee.

Then the era of social media churn began, wherein your audience comes and goes. On top of that, algorithms changed, and you could no longer count on your social content being seen simply because you posted it. Suddenly, it was no longer guaranteed that even a majority of your audience knew about a one-time offer post.

I began a test on March 11, 2015 to do a daily social promotion. My usual schedule of 5 items of note remained the same; the social offer was simply tacked on later in the day.


Because I have 3 books for sale, I was able to present a new offer every day, repeating only every 4th day.

Other important things to note were that I wasn’t running any other promotions concurrently. My cadence of other posts and my weekly newsletter did not change. As best as possible, testing conditions were held stable and normal for the duration of the period.

What have the results been? Here are my sales numbers:


To say the least, worthwhile. In the chart above, the blue bars represent daily sales of all books. The red line is a 14 day moving average of book sales. By incorporating a daily social media ask, it’s brought my 14 day sales average as high as it was during the initial launch.

Does this mean you should adopt a daily ask? As with all things, you have to test for yourself. Try it out, see if you generate similar, better, or worse results. Keep what works, leave behind what doesn’t work.

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