Google Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs)

As many as 96% of the visitors to your site will leave without completing a transaction or another desired action, according to Forrester Research. To combat this abandonment issue, Google AdWords unveiled new targeting capabilities in 2013 with remarketing lists for search ads (RLSAs) and expanded this to shopping campaigns in 2015. This feature allows advertisers to adjust PPC (pay-per-click) bid amounts, ad copy and keywords based on the activity of the prior visitors to your website. So if somebody leaves your site without completing a purchase, RLSAs can help you reconnect with them while they continue to search for what they need on Google.


How RLSAs Work

To begin using remarketing lists for search ads, you’ll need to add a snippet of code, called a remarketing tag, to your website. This tag will then add a cookie to the each site visitor’s browser, ultimately allowing you to target visitors by which pages they visited and products they viewed. For instance, to target users who have completed a purchase, you could place a remarketing tag on the order confirmation page.

Next, do some work in Google AdWords: you’ll need to set up a remarketing list, which is a collection of cookied users who have visited your site. These users can be segmented into similar groupings, such as users who completed a purchase, that align with your business goals.

Once the tags are in place and you've added the remarketing lists to an ad group, you can assign custom ad messaging to customers on the remarketing list. Only the people included on the list will then see these ads. Note that you have an option for how you assign bids to the remarketing lists. If you choose the “Target and bid” option, your ad group will serve only to the remarketing list you specify. However, if you choose “Bid only,” the remarketing list will be assigned to your bid adjustment while the rest of the ad group continues to serve the normal keyword or ad-group-level bid to the audience not included in the remarketing list.


Best Practices

Try bidding on broader, more expensive keywords (that you may have previously avoided) to specifically reach visitors who have previously converted on your site. Since these customers are already familiar with your site and the overall shopping experience there, they may be more likely to click on an ad served to them for generic keyword searches like “gift ideas” or “presents.” This is also a great strategy to use for bidding on competitor keywords. When incorporating this approach, be sure to set up the generic keywords in a separate ad group and choose the “Target and bid” setting. We also recommend closely monitoring your ROI goals during this process to determine which keywords are most profitable.

Adjust your bids for greater visibility with returning customers. These higher value shoppers may be more likely to respond to a familiar ad, so it could prove profitable to increase your bid amounts to ensure that your ads are seen. For instance, try increasing your bid amount by 25% for customers who researched a product on your site but didn't purchase. The additional exposure may be enough to convert them to a sale.

If you want to serve different ads on keywords you’re already bidding on, be sure to duplicate the campaign or ad groups within a campaign, set the appropriate ad-group-level settings to “Target and bid,” and then write your customized ad text for that audience. This approach will ensure that these ad groups are served only to the remarketing lists you've chosen. Use the “Bid only” setting if you’re adjusting bids. The bid will be applied only when the user is on the given remarketing list. The ad group will continue to serve the regular bid to users not on the list.


Success Story

ChannelAdvisor recently performed an analysis for a client using year-over-year data for Q4 2013. After increasing bid amounts by 30% to a remarketing list of previous site visitors, we observed the following:

  • RLSAs made up 15% of total spend and resulted in 21% of total conversions
  • The RLSA click-through-rate was 321% higher than the non-RLSA click-through-rate
  • RLSAs delivered a conversion rate that was 72% higher than that of non-RLSAs.

This analysis shows that while new visitors made up the vast majority of traffic, RLSA traffic was more efficient with a higher conversion value.


Getting Started

Before you can start utilizing RLSA make sure that you have properly installed Google’s remarketing tags and created your remarketing lists. Depending on your objective and strategy you will also need to create any additional campaigns/ad groups in ChannelAdvisor that would include specialized messaging or keywords that you only want to be triggered for a specific audience. Once these steps have been completed you will be able to launch your RLSA campaigns


Apply Audiences

  1. Go to Digital Marketing > Marketing Management > Actionable Reporting > Audiences > Audience Library and click Apply Audience.
  2. Select the Campaign and Ad Group that you want to assign the Audience to.
  3. Select the Targeting Type that you want to use.
  4. Select the Audience and assign a Bid Modifier.
  5. Select any Audiences that you would like to exclude from your Ad Group targeting.
  6. Select any Audiences that you would like to exclude from your Campaign targeting.


Report on Audiences

  1. Go to Digital Marketing > Marketing Management > Actionable Reporting > Audiences > Audience Performance.
  2. Just above the column headers you can select your Audience view. Ungrouped will show performance for each Audience broken out by campaign and ad group. The Grouped view will show overall performance for each Audience across all campaigns and ad groups.
Your rating: None
Your rating: None