Business travel. Picture: THINKSTOCK
Business travel. Picture: THINKSTOCK

Digital tactics are designed to bring brands to the fore of consumers’ minds, and the world of online shopping is no different. A recent experiment by Google and Travelstart measured the impact of dynamic remarketing – campaigns which show previous website visitors ads featuring the products or services they viewed on the site.

The aim was to determine whether consumers would have visited the Travelstart website and converted, regardless of whether they saw a remarketing display ad. Results revealed a distinct increase in conversion when consumers saw a Travelstart advert, indicating that remarketing has its place.

According to Thomas Kutama, Travelstart’s head of digital performance marketing, the company, as an online travel agent, focuses its marketing objectives on obvious conversion-driving channels. However, he adds, it’s not easy validating these upper-funnel marketing activities (those that focus on lead generation and consumer targeting), unless you can prove they are contributing to sales.

To combat this problem, Travelstart used conversion lift experiments to affirm the role of display advertising. “The results completely exceeded our assumptions around the significance of nondirect conversion channels in terms of assisting sales,” he says, adding that the brand is now more confident than ever in its use of display.

The experiment split users into a treatment and control group; treatment users were exposed to Travelstart adverts while the control group was not. The company launched the remarketing campaign on Google Display Network to measure its impact and purchasing behaviour on the website.

“While the treatment users saw the Travelstart ads, these were suppressed for the control group who represented the environment that would exist were we not running the display campaign,” says Kutama.

The objective was for the brand to increase its market share and brand presence as well as reach growth objectives and display performance. The results, says Kutama, showed an incremental increase generated by dynamic remarketing ads – 20.7% more site visitors, 24.9% more page views, 5.4% more conversions and 10.6% greater conversion value.

The experiment confirmed that dynamic remarketing works. As a result, Travelstart will extend this activity with Google into three other key markets, including Kenya, Nigeria and Egypt. At the same time the company has adopted customer lifetime value as a metric to help improve the efficacy of dynamic remarketing campaigns.

The big take-out

With ROI and online conversion a driving imperative for advertisers, an experiment done by Google and Travelstart proved that dynamic remarketing can increase conversion from browsing to purchase by measurable margins.

Kirsty Grant, industry manager at Google, says dynamic remarketing aims to convert consumers from merely browsing a website to making a purchase.

“Dynamic remarketing with analytics allows advertisers to show remarketing ads for content or products that are most likely to interest their users based on the content or products they have previously viewed on their website. It’s also related to top-performing content and products, as well as the purchase histories and demographics of consumers,” she says.

When users browse content, research products or follow ads for a specific brand or product on a marketer’s website and yet the leave the site without converting, marketers can use dynamic remarketing to make related, relevant content and products visible to them as they visit other sites on the Google Display Network, Grant says. It enables marketers to tap into a consumer’s recent interest, or reawaken an older interest, ultimately driving conversions that already have some momentum behind  them by encouraging consumers along the lines of “This one-day discount is too good to pass up”, or “This may be an indulgence, but it will last me a long time”, she adds.

It also allows marketers to follow up with users who have already converted. “These users are already favourably disposed towards your product, which means that that there is a chance they could be easily influenced to purchase an additional product they may have been considering. For example, ‘I love this dress – but now I really need these shoes to complete the outfit’,” Grant says.

The experiment undertaken with Travelstart, she says, proves that display advertising can be effective and can help advertisers to achieve the results they’re looking for when it comes to online conversions.