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Remarketing by Associations: Pros & Cons

Posted by Dave Stevens on Jul 19, 2017 12:00:00 PM

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You may not know the definition of "remarketing," but you have almost certainly have seen it in action. Have you ever added an item to a shopping cart without making a purchase? As you visit other websites, you now see advertising for that store and perhaps even the product you placed in your cart. While there is more to it, that’s a simple example of remarketing.

Remarketing could be very useful for your association. For example, if someone visited your membership page but didn't join, does that mean they have no interest in your association? Possibly, but perhaps a follow up would be useful:

  • Maybe they want to look at alternatives among associations or relevant for-profit services before making their decision.
  • Perhaps your membership pricing was more than they wanted to pay right now.
  • Or maybe they were distracted by a text message or email, closed the browser and moved on to something else.

The Pros of Remarketing by Associations
In this case, the "pros" of remarketing, also known as personalized advertising, are easy to identify:

  • Providing follow up advertising about your association might be doing them a great favor. In a world with short attention spans, they may have planned to join, but were interrupted. 
  • Similarly, perhaps they are interested, but your membership costs more than they are willing to pay at this time. In this case, offering them a trial membership discount might sway them to join.
  • In both cases, remarketing works in your favor. Not only is repeated advertising more likely to be successful, but tailoring the message based on their interests can make it particularly effective. This can result in an excellent return on investment (ROI) if done correctly.

The Cons of Remarketing by Associations
The "cons" of remarketing are not to be overlooked:

  • While personalized advertising is much more common these days, there are still many individuals who find it too intrusive. They associate remarketing with a "big brother" overreach, so using it may backfire, driving them away. (This is part of the reason Google has policies that forbid remarketing in "sensitive categories" such as physical or mental health.) 
  • You might be flogging a dead horse, as the saying goes. If you feel that you have provided comprehensive information during the visit, repeated advertising might not work. While failure is cheap, as the cost can be limited to only those who click through, “success” can be expensive if it results in a second visit that still doesn’t result in membership. (That said, it may be that your ad is over-promising, or your website copy is not well written, but that’s a different discussion.)

Should Your Association Utilize Remarketing?
Before you jump into remarketing, consider three things:

  1. Do you have a product or service that could benefit from remarketing? This is almost certainly the case, as most associations can use remarketing for membership, events and services. If you are a trade association, remarketing may also be useful in marketing your members to their potential customers who used the member directory.
  2. Does your association serve a restricted category? For example, if yours is an association of individuals with a medical condition, Google may not allow you to use remarketing.
  3. Does your leadership agree with the use of remarketing? Consult with your association leadership before beginning your tests so you can discuss any of their concerns before they see the remarketing in action. 

Association use of remarketing can be very powerful, so it is certainly worth considering if it is a good fit for your association. Start small, analyze the results and see if it provides ROI that works for your and the your association leadership.

Stevens & Stevens is a 2017 ISAE platinum partner.

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Topics: Marketing, membership, Member Recruitment and Retention

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