Retargeting for Affiliates
Published 13th September 2016
Google introduced the term remarketing and you can find a basic explanation of how it works in Figure 1.The user lands on your website whilst a cookie is dropped. If the user leaves your website they will then see your ads on other websites which will lead them back to your website. These ads are sometimes known as AdSense by Google.
There are plenty of different variations of these ads which are discussed later in the article.
Google explains its version of remarketing a bit more at the following link:
Google however is only one of the many avenues to be able to do this, and in the image below you can see an ad run by different software for Gambling.com, as highlighted in red in Figure 2.
Gambling.com is obviously just one of many companies that use many different avenues of retargeting to ensure they get the best possible results from their traffic. You would also find most casinos do the exact same thing, with sports betting companies also taking huge advantage of the Facebook opportunity. This however is to be axed soon by Facebook, which is going to stop allowing gambling ads on their site.
Different types of retargeting
Google retargeting is one of the most popular and easiest to set up. These days, however, there are some limitations with Google retargeting. Not every website on the Google Display Network is open for gambling ads (as you would expect).
With AdWords and a lot of other retargeting tools, you have a facility called “lists”. From here, you can pick and choose which list of people you target. Some examples will be discussed later on in the article of how people currently use retargeting and also of how many people do not use retargeting but could do.
All of these methods have been tried and tested by Circusmedia on a variety of different clients. Video retargeting is also available through AdWords now as well as via other software. This is when you can retarget your visitors on YouTube with video ads. One of the most popular ways of doing this is through pre-roll ads. These are the ads you see before your video, which you can skip. If a user skips the video you will not be charged, hence the word gets out without you paying anything.
If a user does watch a video, it still costs a lot less than an average PPC click in the gaming industry (and you can control your CPC with bid management). A screenshot example of this type of ad is shown below in Figure 3.
Ad-roll and Struq are just two examples of the many pieces of retargeting software available today, however, most others have limitations when it comes to the gaming industry. Merchants and affiliates tend to use retargeting in different ways, which works better for them in individual cases, which is how we have broken them down below.
How merchants use retargeting
Most merchants use retargeting to convert people who have landed on their website and not converted. In order to do this, you would target all of the people who have been on your site and none of the people who have converted into a registration. This is however not the end of the tunnel. They could take this two steps further.
Firstly, by also targeting people who have registered but not converted into a first time depositor (FTD) in a separate list. By having specific ads to target people who have already registered, the CTR would also be better and would improve the casino’s registration to FTD.
Secondly, they could improve this by targeting the people who have converted into FTDs. So, why would you target these people? The answer is to improve the lifetime value (LTV). With affiliates, casino players are becoming a lot less loyal and LTVs generally are starting to drop off.
By having remarketing ads targeting those players who have already deposited, you can remind them you are still around. In order to make them come back you can update ads to have new games, etc. Although this would not drive new FTDs it will work more like eCRM to improve the LTV. A lot of gaming companies that use third party software providers find it very difficult to implement the tracking codes in order to be able to use retargeting. This is a huge barrier for gaming companies, which is why you do not see every single casino using this strategy.
If, like most casinos, the company is using landing pages, the first strategy can at least be put in place to retarget to all visitors to the site, testing different types of ads and measuring the results.
How can gaming affiliates use retargeting?
Affiliates have a big advantage over casinos, where they can convert one player a few times on a few different casinos. Technically, an affiliate like Top10casinos could convert 1 visitor 10 times, hence making the amount they can afford to pay per click a lot higher. Essentially, they can convert a player multiple times on different casinos increasing their revenue.
Affiliates can use a lot of tricks to help themselves do this with the use of remarketing:
- Retargeting old visitors to your site who didn’t click off to any casino with generic ads (updated offers, etc)
- Retargeting players who visited one of the casinos with deals from other casinos
- Retargeting players who have been to all the casinos on your site with other deals. (A lot affiliates do not only deal with the casinos on their site but also have a lot of others waiting to be added on to their website. You would need to set up pages for the new casinos with these deals on your website).
The above strategy, however, will drive lower value players in some instances, which would be something casinos may not be too happy about, especially if it is happening too often. Also, if an affiliate is on a revenue share deal as opposed to a CPA deal, then driving lower value players is not profitable for them. In a situation like this, the strategy mentioned above for casinos to improve LTV would work well.
Factors to bear in mind
Ad copy and testing is key when running retargeting ads. Ensure you keep on top of updating the ads, keeping them interesting and testing different ads on an ongoing basis. It is also important to keep an eye on the sites your ads are appearing on.
If you do not want to have your ad on a particular site, you can add that in as a negative placement. Also, if you do not want to appear on a site as it isn’t performing on that site, you would add that placement as a negative. On the other side of the scale, you can target specific sites only as well (as long as they are part of the network). This is usually done at a later stage, once you see a lot of success from a particular site. By targeting this in a separate campaign, you can be more aggressive.