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Here’s a profitable idea for anyone that sells sized items like shoes or clothing. I mentioned this remarketing strategy in my book, Ecommerce Google Analytics and it doesn’t fail to disappoint! I used it with success on a client account recently, so I would like to describe the strategy in more detail.

One of my clients sells shoes. In this case, her shoes have a standardized fit so her customers know that any future purchases will fit the same. This is quite handy, because if you’re like me and you have long narrow feet, or you rarely fit in a standard-sized shoe, you know you would never order multiple pairs of shoes online unless you were certain that they would fit. When I saw her product range I immediately came to the conclusion that people would buy one or two pairs initially and then keep coming back for more every time they needed a new pair of shoes.

The thing with shoes and clothes is that you never really know when someone needs or wants more. They might buy another pair in a year, or a month, or a week! Everyone has different tolerances for how long they are willing to wear an item before they need or want another one. When it comes to kids shoes and clothes, someone might repurchase the moment they know an item fits, and then buy one in every colour or even buy up stock in future sizes.

For these reasons, remarketing is an incredibly powerful strategy when selling clothing and shoes. It reminds people of all the great items they don’t have yet that they might like to wear right now, and if they loved your brand the first time it is natural that they will want to buy from you again and again.

But here is where the strategy differs from just standard remarketing – when it comes to items with a size, people almost never want a different size to the size they know fits them, right? (OK, yes we’ve all been there and bought the size up after an indulgent all-you-see-you-can-eat vacation, but I’m talking about the majority of the time here).

Have you ever clicked on an ad for something you immediately loved and wanted to buy, only to feel really disappointed when that item was out of stock in your size? I know I have and I know it happens to other people. When that happens, even though you know its not the retailers fault, a little bit of you inside feels resentful that someone else gets those amazing shoes or pretty dress in their size, but you can’t have it. If you feel that resentment often enough with the same retailer, you learn not to go back to that retailer because you don’t want to face that disappointment next time.

So what we want to do, is remarket items that are in-stock in your customer’s size! Simple as that. It makes people feel great when they see that the item they love can be theirs right now, and it puts them in the buying kind of mood that you want if you’re a retailer.

What I did was pull the sizes of each shoe into a custom label using feed rules. In other words all shoes in size 39 were grouped together, all shoes in size 40, etc. You can see the shoes in stock in size 43 in the image below.

Adding size as a label into merchant center

Then, with the help of Google Tag Manager, I created a remarketing list for people who added added to the cart in a particular size. I.e. everyone who ever added a size 39 to their cart were in one remarketing list, everyone who ever added a size 40 in a separate remarketing list, etc. I made these long-term lists, i.e. Google’s maximum term of 540 days, because you just never know when someone wants to buy shoes.

Once 100 people were in any particular remarketing list we could use it for display remarketing!

By filtering down the product list to the products with the right size in the label and adding some text to the ads like “Now in size 40”, or “Last sizes in size 40” etc we were able to remarket only the shoes that were in stock in the right size for that customer, and they knew that if they clicked on the image it would take them straight to a shoe that was available in their size. Win, win!

This started getting results straight away.

Important note: When using display campaigns like this, it’s important to use website conversion tags and turn on view-through conversions. This lets you attribute value to Display if someone saw the ad and then purchased after seeing it but never clicked on the ad. (This happens a lot). It’s great when this happens because if the person doesn’t click on the ad, then it doesn’t cost you anything. More about this, in my blog post here.

Since we started using these campaigns, display has been getting a return on ad spend of between 20 to 40 times when taking into account view-through conversions.

Responsive Display AdsWe implemented these ads in two different ways to see which would get the better results. The first way is to use a Responsive Display Ad with a dynamic product feed (left). We did not set parameters to only show shoes that have been viewed by the person, instead we set it up to show any shoes in that size. Each size is in its own campaign, and the copy is added to the Responsive Display ad copy native to this style of advertising.

The other way we implemented the ads was to generate fixed-size dynamic ad banners using Google Web Designer (right). This software software can be a bit tricky to use (actually, its horrible) but unlike Responsive Display Ads, you can completely customize the look of the ad, and make it much more attractive.

Fixed Display AdsWe created a background that pops using Canva by placing a gradient in the client’s brand colors, a nice big logo and big bold text relating to the shoe size. We then arranged dynamic product images onto the ad.

With these kinds of ads I prefer to have white space around the pictures rather than cramming too many pictures together which is sometimes the case with the automatic responsive display ads. You’ll see in the RDA example, Google Ads crammed six pictures into a single ad, whereas in the fixed-size ad we kept it less busy by only using three images.

Something to keep in mind is that Responsive Display ads are cheaper per click then fixed-size ads, and Google gives a lot more impressions to responsive ads then fixed sizes. Even though the responsive ads might not look as nice they will usually perform the best when it comes to Return On Ad Spend, so you’ll need to weigh up which is more important, attractiveness of the ad or financial ROI.

One more tip to keep in mind is you won’t want to hammer people over the head with these ads. They’ll buy from you when they’re looking to buy, showing them your products more often won’t hurry them up, but it might make them annoyed. When I use a long-term remarketing list like this I always limit impressions so that people don’t get sick of them. I’ve set these ads to limit to no more than 15 impressions per user each month.

Do you sell sized-items like this? If so, have you found any interesting techniques for remarketing them that I haven’t covered here? If so, please comment below!

leesa dawson

I am so grateful to have met you, as I think your insights are the BEST I have ever come across.

Leesa Dawson CEO, The Uniform Stylist Ecommerce Google Ads April 23, 2020

brett leggett

Hi Petra, Hope you are well, I checked out the Google Analytics and all I can say is AWESOME. You have essentially doubled her revenue in a month and the Google Ads seem to be popping off!

Brett Leggett Brett Leggett ✪ eCommerce Growth Specialist Ecommerce Google Ads April 23, 2020

charles marois olsa tools

Working with Petra was a great experience, communication was easy and she is very organized. She also provided detailed reports of the work she had done and the results generated. We would definitely recommend her services.

Charles Marois CEO, Olsa Tools Ecommerce Google Ads April 23, 2020

Nadia Rossi

It has been an absolute pleasure working with Petra over the last year and a half. 1834 Hotels centralises marketing for over 20 hotels around Australia, all with different branding and websites. On an analytics level Petra’s skills have allowed us to monitor and track our marketing efforts in the digital space. Bringing Petra onboard to manage our Google Ads was one of the best marketing decisions we have made. Her thoroughness and attention to detail is incredible, her insights have helped develop better marketing strategies and demonstrate to shareholders return on investment. I would highly recommend working with Petra.

Nadia Rossi Digital Marketing at 1834 Hotels Ecommerce / Hotel Google Ads April 23, 2020

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Your attention to detail is beyond what I had expected. The detail of the data is incredible. The best part though was to learn the profile demographic - which is very different to whom I think I've been trying to target through social.

David Clayton Director, Myomasters Massage Health Clinic Google Ads April 23, 2020