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When implemented correctly, remarketing is a great way to increase customer retention and engagement.

What is Remarketing and How Does it Work? 

Remarketing, or retargeting, is a way to target users who have previously engaged with your website using highly customized ads.  Cookies are used to group previous website users into remarketing lists, or Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs), which can then be targeted with customized remarketing ads.

In Google and Bing paid search advertising, a remarketing search ad can be served to a user who is included in the RLSA when they are actively searching for the keywords the advertiser is bidding on.

What are Remarketing Lists for Search Ads?

RLSAs are an advanced targeting feature that allows advertisers to target qualified customers who have already shown interest in their business or products. RLSAs are just like regular search ads with an added layer of customization that can be used to encourage previous website visitors to return to the website to take an additional conversion action.

How to Create an RLSA

Start by installing a Remarketing Tag, or pixel, on your website as soon as possible to start building your audience lists. The sooner you set this up the better because your list needs to reach a minimum audience size of 1,000 in order to target it.

Decide if you would like to use a pre-created audience in Google Analytics or if you will need to create your own audience, such as users who have visited a specific set of product pages but haven’t converted in the past six months, and maybe another list for users who have landed on a /thank-you form completion page. Consider the lifecycle of a customer and decide on a remarketing list duration or how long a user should remain in your remarketing audience, which can be up to 540 days. Once the audience has been identified or created, make sure your Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts are linked and import your goals and audience lists into Google Ads so you can begin targeting them.

One other option is to create a Customer match list, which requires you to upload your own list of customers. This allows Google to attempt to match those customers with Google profiles. These Customer Match lists work the same way as an RLSA, however the matching process can be tough and produce a low match rate, making it tough to build an adequate list to target.

RSLA Best Practices & Use Cases

There are a variety of ways to strategically use the RLSA in Google Ads. Here are a couple of our favorites:

Customize Ad Text via If Function

Modify an existing campaign to serve different variations of the ad text based on a user’s inclusion in (or exclusion from) an RLSA through If Functions. Once set up properly, the system will continue to serve the original ads in response to targeted keyword terms. However, the real magic happens when a user is within one of the created RLSAs where the system will serve that user a unique variation of the ad. Use this If Function to customize the ad copy to acknowledge that user’s previous interaction with your website and encourage them to return. 

How To Create If Function Remarketing Search Ads (RLSA) | CenterTable Digital Agency Denver

Audience Bid Adjustments

Add the audiences to each relevant campaign in Observation mode. Then, based on performance, create bid adjustments for those audiences who are performing best or who you are willing to spend more on to reach.

Just like with any other Google search ad, be sure to enter three headlines and two descriptions while following all of Google’s best practices for writing compelling ad copy, too.

RLSA Case Study

We ran an experiment using customized remarketing ads via If Function that served unique ads to users who had visited our client’s website within the past 6 months. Following implementation of the remarketing ads, we saw the following results for the targeted RLSA, which were very positive:  

  • 3.68% increase in clicks
  • 23.48% increase in conversions
  • 16.77% decrease in bounce rate
  • 8.14% increase in average pages per session
  • 10.07% increase in session duration
Google Analytics showing success of Remarketing Ad (RLSA) Experiment | CenterTable Digital Agency Denver

These results speak for themselves, but we’ll go ahead and say it: Remarketing ads can be a very successful way to drive stronger engagement and conversions for your paid search marketing.

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