For those in Australia, you might have seen the recent news story where 670,000 Australians failed to hit ‘Submit’ after completing their Census form online – because the Call to Action wasn’t clear.

The next day when a friend told me about this I had to google it (of course) only to see this ad appear:

Australian Government uses Adwords

Australian Government uses Adwords to get 670,000 Australians to return & complete their eCensus

Now the above ad is a Search Ad – so it only appeared because I was actively searching in Google for articles about the Census.

This would have been a perfect case of using Remarketing …

How the Australian Government could have used Remarketing

If the Australian Government used Remarketing in their Adwords campaign, a text or image ad would appear to ‘follow’ all 670,000 users around the web. No matter which website they visited (that was using adsense, eg. The Age), those 670,000 users who failed to hit ‘Submit’ would have seen an ad asking them to return back to the eCensus site and finish what they started.

Lets break down how the Australian Government could have used Remarketing to communicate to all 670,000 Australians to ‘hit Submit’:

  • Define a Conversion in the Australian Government Adwords account as somebody completing their eCensus – ie. cookie every eCensus user who reaches the final ‘Thank You for Submitting your eCensus’ page.
  • Setup two Remarketing Lists: one of everyone who starts the eCensus and one of those who finish/convert (ie. clicked ‘Submit’).
  • Define an Remarketing Audience comprised of the first Remarketing list (everyone who starts) with a campaign Negative Audience of the second Remarketing List (those who convert). This will define the audience to remarket to as those who start but do no finish.
  • Create and split test multiple text and image ads across the highest traffic volume sites in Australia

Three Valuable Takeaway Lessons

Although I can’t be sure whether or not the Australian Government used Remarketing in their Adwords campaigns for the eCensus, this whole exercise brings about three takeaways:

  1. Make sure your Call to Action is clear! (Was this tested? I wonder what the conversion rate of the eCensus was?)
  2. Always setup your Remarketing Lists/Audiences before you roll out your campaign – even if you don’t need to use it. You can’t cookie audiences to remarket to after the fact.
  3. Always have a Remarketing Campaign ready to catch incomplete conversions, regardless of whether you requirement is for Australians to complete a Census or prospective customers to complete their shopping cart purchase.

Once again, here’s a link to the actual story.