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It’s extremely rare for any customer to convert on their first engagement with a product or service. This is especially true when it comes to B2B given the longer buying process, which is why retargeting, also known as remarketing, is such an effective marketing tool. Retargeting, simply, is targeting ads at people who have already visited your website.

We’ve shared how we use retargeting for demand generation, however, retargeting based on funnel stages takes the benefits to the next level. When you consider where your prospect is in the funnel, and design a campaign specifically for where they are, your marketing becomes much more relevant and much more profitable.


Bizible’s Results

Using generic retargeting -- targeting everyone who visited our website with the same set of ads -- we had a CTR of 0.09% and a CPC of $4.77.

...Then we changed to funnel-based retargeting. We defined three stages of our marketing funnel and created specific ads for people at those stages.

First, we retargeted everyone who visited our blog with an ebook download landing page:










Then we retargeted everyone who downloaded an ebook with our product page:










Finally, we retargeted people who visited our product page with a demo signup landing page: (Notice that it can be as simple as changing the CTA.)










After making that simple change, our CTR shot up to 0.48% and our CPC dropped to $0.91. That’s a 433% improvement in CTR and over a 500% improvement in CPC. (A 80.92% drop in cost is roughly a 525% improvement.) Our investment is now having a much larger impact.





Now that you’ve seen that it works, let’s go back and discuss the strategy.

Breaking down the stages of the funnel

Every marketing organization has a slightly different take on the B2B marketing funnel. You may use a different name for the stages, but the substance is likely pretty similar. For the purposes of this post, here is how we define the basic stages:

The first stage is awareness, what we call the first touch -- the first time a visitor comes to your website. For marketers this is still an anonymous interaction (no name or email address to enter into a CRM system), but through cookies and other tracking methods, we’re still able to use this important touch for remarketing.

The next key stage in the funnel is when the visitor becomes a lead. This is done through filling out a contact form, and their information can be entered into your CRM. Often, this means they’ve downloaded gated content, such as an ebook or white paper, or have just asked for more information.

Lastly, here at Bizible, we’re big believers that marketing doesn’t end at lead creation, and that should be represented in the funnel. The last critical stage in the B2B marketing funnel is when the lead shows serious intent, typically by signing up for a demo or a free trial. This is the stage when they transition into a sales opportunity.

Matching campaigns to funnel stages

Now that we have the key parts of the marketing funnel down, it’s important to match your marketing campaigns to the corresponding prospect stages. You don’t want to run an awareness campaign at leads who are already sales qualified. So, for each stage of the funnel that you’ve defined, think about the appropriate messaging.

For the awareness stage, keep the messaging of your campaign pretty broad. The goal here is name awareness and communicating a clear value proposition, so the viewer knows where you stand in the market.

Once you know the prospect is aware of you, because they’ve visited your website and you have dropped a cookie on them, the campaign should focus more on the value you offer, the problems you solve, etc.

Here’s where we can get a little more nuanced. Even before the prospect may have even become a lead by filling out a contact form, they may visit several of the pages on your website. If they’ve spent time looking at product pages or case studies, that’s more information for you to base a remarketing campaign off of. If they’ve spent a lot of time reading your blog posts, you may want to remarket them with gated ebooks or white papers to get them to become a lead.

Once they’ve become a lead, you instantly know more information about them to use in your remarketing. You can create campaigns to remarket custom lists with industry specific content and offers, based on their company size, do account based marketing, and more.

Finally, once they are at the bottom of the marketing funnel, you can create BOFU (bottom-of-the-funnel) or conversion-focused remarketing campaigns. These can be specific offers that help drive demos or trials.

Setting It Up

This sounds exciting, right? Well here’s step-by-step instructions to set it up using Google Remarketing.

Step 1: Add the Code

Add the Google Remarketing javascript snippet on every page of your website. This process is just like adding the Google Analytics snippet.

Step 2: Create Lists

Create remarketing lists by pulling the URLs that correspond with your funnel stages to define each list. For example, you could create a list that contains visitors who have visited the the blog, but nothing else. They’ve made a brand engagement, but know little about who you are or what you do.

Do the same to create lists for the other stages of the funnel. Create as many lists as you have defined funnel stages (usually three or more).

Here’s an example:


Step 3: Create Ads

Create ads, display and/or search, that specifically address the marketing funnels and group them by funnel stage. These groups are your campaigns.


Step 4: Match Ads to Lists

Match the campaigns to their corresponding funnel stage lists.

Step 5: Execute

Just like any other campaign in AdWords, the next step is to set your bid price, budget, and timeframe. Then execute!

Step 6: Refine

Wait, you’re not done! Just like any marketing effort, to get the greatest ROI you must measure and analyze what is working and what is not working, and then experiment with ways to make it better. At Bizible, we’ve seen a 433% improvement in CTR and over 500% improvement in CPC, and are still always thinking about ways we can make it even better. Even while drafting this post, we internally had a discussion about how to improve how we treat homepage visitors. We’re now going to segment homepage visitors into two categories: a homepage visit and bounce will be treated as middle of the funnel because they knew enough to find us directly but have yet to show real intent, and a homepage visit and click-through will be treated as bottom of the funnel because they’ve added an important layer of intent.

If a campaign targeted at a funnel stage is underperforming, diagnose and hypothesize why it is underperforming. For example, you might need to tweak your list rules (the assigned URL) -- if you created a list thinking that the pricing page indicates that the customer is at the bottom of the funnel, try changing the list rule to the URL of the demo signup page or free trial page.

There are endless experiments that you can run. Make your best bets using the data and continue to refine your campaigns.

Funnel Based Retargeting and Pipeline Marketing

Lead generation marketing, which just focuses on filling the top of the marketing funnel, uses retargeting to turn visitors into leads.

In contrast, retargeting by funnel stage optimizes every stage from top to bottom. It’s a pipeline marketing mentality: by optimizing the entire marketing funnel, each dollar invested is made more profitable.