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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Has Facebook failed local businesses?

Laura asked about my thoughts on this Fast Company article:


If the question is whether the free ride is over for businesses on Facebook, the answer is an unequivocal yes. The freeloading is done and gone. Nullem gratuitem prandium: no such thing as a free lunch, as the Romans said.

If the question is whether Facebook is useless to small businesses that don’t have millions of dollars, the answer is equally firm: no. Facebook is still plenty useful to businesses even on meager budgets.

What sort of things might small, local businesses still be able to do on Facebook without shelling out massive fortunes?

Retargeting and Remarketing

Facebook offers two simple kinds of remarketing and retargeting. The first is custom audiences, in which you upload your email or phone database (hashed, if you want it to be guaranteed secure) and then set up ads to run against that audience. It’s an inexpensive way to reach the highest value people on Facebook – people who you’ve identified could be customers or are customers already.

The second kind of remarketing is web-based remarketing. Small businesses can place tracking tags on the most valuable pages on their websites and then show ads only to those people who visit those pages and leave.

Both of these forms of advertising can be done for $5 a day and up. Obviously, the more resources you can throw at it, the better, but you can do a lot for a little.

Network Leverage

Another form of Facebook marketing leverages the gap between business Page and employees. If you’re a small business owner who has done a good job of cultivating your personal Facebook profile in addition to your business Page, then make sure you’re sharing your business Page updates from your personal profile. 

An excellent example of this is my martial arts teacher, Mark Davis. He shares the Boston Martial Arts business Page updates on his personal profile, and more often than not, I see his posts before the school’s posts:


Note that you don’t have to do this with EVERY post – just the key ones, like upcoming events, etc.

Facebook Groups

The final area you can leverage is Facebook Groups, either by participating (sensibly, please; no spamming!) or setting up your own group. Groups are an easy way to reach pockets of people who share interests in what your business serves. Find the right group, and if one doesn’t exist, make one!

Bear in mind that geography is important. Just because there’s a broad category group doesn’t mean there’s a local group. There’s a podcasting group, but is there a suburban Boston podcasters group? If not, there’s an easy void for you to fill.

Yes, Small Businesses Can Benefit from Facebook

Facebook still has opportunities for meaningful participation by businesses big and small. You have to find them, and for the ones you don’t pay money for, you have to work harder at them.

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