5 Google Ads Remarketing Tactics You Can Implement Today

Picture this: you’re in the market for a new pair of sneakers, and you’re browsing through Nike’s store trying to find the perfect kicks. Two minutes in, you get a notification that someone’s tagged you in a funny cat video on Facebook, and down you go into an endless spiral of distraction.

The next time you pull out your phone and start browsing the web, you see an ad featuring the exact same pair of sneakers you were looking at, and you end up clicking through and completing your purchase. That’s remarketing, in a nutshell!

What exactly is a Google Ads remarketing campaign?

Google Ads Remarketing campaigns allow you to show targeted ads to users who have already visited your website.

You can run remarketing campaigns on both Facebook Ads and Google Ads. If you run your campaign on Facebook, then your website visitors will see your ads while they’re browsing Facebook and its network of partner sites.

If you run your campaigns on Google and the Google Display Network, your website visitors will see your ads when they’re browsing the web, watching YouTube videos, or visit websites that have opted in to show Google Ads.

The goal is to keep your brand at the forefront of consumers’ consciousness, and entice them to return to your site (and hopefully make a purchase).

To illustrate my point, here’s an example of a remarketing ad by an eCommerce company:

Google ads remarketing
Use Google audiences to remarket to store visitors as they browse the web.
Image source

While remarketing ads are most closely associated with the eCommerce space, they’re highly versatile, and can be used across all industries.

For instance, if you run a SaaS company, you can easily hit up your website visitors with remarketing ads, and entice them to return to your website and sign up to use your product:

SaaS companies can remarket to prospects for different conversion goals.
Image source

Want to incorporate remarketing ads into your marketing mix, and use it to skyrocket your conversions? You’re in the right place. In this blog post, we’ll discuss:

  • Why you should run Google Ads remarketing ads
  • How to set up remarketing campaigns in Google Ads
  • 5 tactics to power up your Google remarketing campaigns

Read on to find out more!

Why you should run remarketing ads

Simply put, remarketing ads give you a second shot at converting your website visitors.

Look at it this way: when a website visitor leaves your site, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not interested in your offer. They might be distracted, busy, or want to check out their other options before making a purchase.

Remarket to increase revenue

Ready to hear something interesting? When your customers take a longer route (involving more interactions with your brand) before making their first purchase, this results in more revenue for you.

That’s right — statistics show that if someone visits your website and converts right away, their Average Order Value will hover around the £69 (US$86) mark. But when someone interacts with your brand an average of seven times before completing their purchase, they end up spending £132 (US$165).

Your takeaway? If you can remain at the forefront of your visitor’s consciousness, and encourage them to revisit your site, you’ve got a good chance of converting them, and getting them to commit to a larger sale.

Get better conversion rates

Exactly how good are your chances of conversion? Well, statistics show that the average clickthrough rate for display ads is 0.07%, while the clickthrough rate for remarketing ads is 0.7%.

On top of that, we also know that website visitors who are remarketed to are 70% more likely to convert on a website. I’d say those are pretty good odds! 😉

How to set up remarketing campaigns on Google Ads

Running a remarketing campaign involves two steps. You need to:

  1. Create your remarketing audiences in Google Analytics
  2. Create your remarketing campaign on Google Ads

In this section, I’ll walk you through the entire process, and show you how to set up your ads.

Create remarketing audiences in Google Analytics

To set up a remarketing list in Google Analytics, open up the menu from your Google Analytics and select “Admin”, then “Audience Definitions”.

When you click on “Audience definitions”, this opens up a smaller menu. From here, select “Audiences”, then click on the red button that says “+ New Audience”.

On the next page, name your audience list, then choose an Analytics profile and Google Ads account to use with your list:

Next, use the “Audience definition” portion to specify who you want to remarket to. If you want to get your campaign up and running as quickly as possible, you can utilize Google Analytics’ pre-built list of Recommended Audiences.

Alternatively, click on the “Create New” button to set up your own custom audience. You have a ton of targeting options to play around here, including an eCommerce tab:

As you can see, the eCommerce tab is primarily for business owners who want to upsell existing customers (if you want to segment website visitors who haven’t converted yet, use the Conditions tab instead).

For example, say you own an eCommerce store selling apparel, and you want to promote your new collection to existing customers with high order values. Assuming your Average Order Value is $80, but you want to reach out to customers who spend over $120 in a single purchase, you can use the “Revenue” option under the eCommerce tab to do just that.

Once you’ve finished setting up your targeting, save your audience, and you’re good to go!

Create your remarketing campaign on Google Ads

Once you save your audience on Google Analytics, it’ll become available in the Google Ad accounts that you specified when creating the audience. Now, all you have to do is set up a remarketing campaign on Google Ads, and take your ads live!

To do this, log into your Google Ads account, then click on “Campaigns” and on the blue “+” button:

Next, click on “New campaign” and choose your campaign goal:

Choose your campaign type, and enter the necessary information, including your website URL, locations to target, bidding, and more.

When you come to the “Budget” section, click on “Additional settings”, then scroll down to the “Audiences” section under “People”. From here, click “Browse”, and click “How they have interacted with your business”:

Look for the audience list you previously created in Google Analytics and select it, then go on to create your ads to finish creating your campaign.

5 tactics to power up your Google remarketing campaigns

Now that you’re familiar with how to set up your remarketing campaigns, here are some tactics that you can use to boost the effectiveness of your remarketing ads.

1. Experiment with RSLAs

Many business owners equate remarketing ads to display ads, but you can actually set up remarketing search ads as well. Google calls these Remarketing Lists for Search Ads, or RSLAs in short.

Once someone has visited your website, you can add them to an audience list in your account. When a person on that list does a new search on Google, you can show them a search ad and convince them to revisit your site. For those of you interested in experimenting with RSLAs, here are two RSLA strategies that Google recommends:

Strategy 1: Increase bids for existing keywords for visitors on your remarketing lists.

You can increase your bid by 25% for those who previously visited your website in the last 30 days. Or, you could show a different ad with a discount code to site visitors who have placed items in a shopping cart but have not bought it yet.

Strategy 2: Bid on keywords that you don’t normally bid on.

When you run a Google search campaign, you typically want to show your ads for keywords that closely match your offer — especially when searches could be ambiguous.

However, if someone has previously visited your website, you could bid on keywords that are less specific. Their previous browsing behavior shows that they may be interested in your products because they’ve visited your website before, even if they didn’t use the exact keywords in their search.

Be sure to only do this for audiences who have recently visited your site, or have converted on your site in the past so as to not waste your ad budget on irrelevant keywords.

2. Use dynamic remarketing for your products or services

Quick aside: dynamic remarketing ads are best suited to eCommerce stores, so feel free to skip ahead if you’re running a SaaS company or a non-eCommerce business.

With standard remarketing ads, you’d serve the same generic image to anyone who sees your ads. When you use dynamic remarketing ads, your ads’ image changes based on the specific product that your website visitor was browsing on your store.

Dynamic product ads use your Google Data Feed to show your visitors the products they looked at.
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Note that you’ll have to set up a data feed (an inventory list that Google can pull data from) before you can run dynamic remarketing ads. Here are the steps involved:

  1. Create a Google Merchant account on the Google Merchants page
  2. Upload your feed to the Merchant Centre

Pro-tip: it’s also possible to schedule your feed to upload automatically, but this requires some technical expertise. The more well-known E-commerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce or Magento have many plugins that take care of this for you.

3. Remarket to website visitors on YouTube

As far as remarketing is concerned, YouTube is a pretty versatile channel.

Your ads can show in several places on YouTube. Image source

At the basic level, you can create YouTube ads to remarket to your website visitors.

At the same time, Google also offers you the option of reaching out to consumers who have viewed a particular video (on your channel on a competitor’s channel), subscribed to a channel, commented on a video, and more.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to running remarketing ads on YouTube:

  1. Link your YouTube channel to your Google Ads account
  2. Produce your video ad and upload it to YouTube. (To create a YouTube ad, you can either select a video from your YouTube channel, or copy and paste a video’s YouTube URL to upload a video. If you’re intending to do the latter, make sure you own the rights of the video and you’re allowed to use it in your ad campaign).
  3. Log into Google Ads and create a Video campaign.
    1. Like we discussed earlier, navigate to the “Audiences” section under “People”, click “Browse”, then click “How they have interacted with your business” to select the remarketing list that you want to use.
    2. Select the video that you want to use in your ad campaign, and input the headline, description, URL, etc.
  4. Save your campaign, sit back, and wait for the views –and clicks– to roll in!

4. Use Customer Match to show ads to your email subscribers

Like RSLAs, Customer Match is a lesser-known remarketing tactic that many business owners aren’t aware of.

Use Google Customer Match to show ads to your existing customer lists or find people who are similar to your customers.
Image source

Customer Match lets you upload your email list to serve remarketing ads to your customers across Search, Shopping, Gmail, and YouTube. For instance, once you upload your customers’ emails to your Google Ads account, you can then create Gmail ads like these to retarget your existing customers:

There’s one caveat, though… Customer Match isn’t available for all advertisers. To use Customer Match, your account must have:

  • A good history of policy compliance.
  • A good payment history.
  • At least 90 days history in Google Ads.
  • More than USD 50,000 (or the equivalent) in total lifetime spend.

On top of that, you also need to have an account manager who’s assigned to you.

If you meet the above requirements, then I suggest you try out this strategy — it’s a great way of remarketing to your existing customers and find audiences very similar to your existing customers. If not, fingers crossed that the feature will be available to other advertisers again in the future!

5. Segment website visitors based on the action they took on your site

Mention the term “remarketing”, and you might automatically think of remarketing to potential customers who visited your site and didn’t convert.

But as we discussed earlier, remarketing is so much more than that — for instance, you can also remarket to customers who have already purchased, and upsell them a higher value item.

Bearing this in mind, I recommend creating a few remarketing lists and building different remarketing campaigns based on what the actions each user segment took on your site. Here are a few examples:

  • eCommerce: For users who browsed your category page (e.g. storename.com/sneakers)
    • Run RSLA ads to target users who are searching for related queries (eg “buy sneakers online”).
  • eCommerce: For users who added a product to their cart (but didn’t purchase)
    • Run dynamic remarketing ads.
  • SaaS: For users who viewed your Pricing page
    • Run remarketing ads featuring client testimonials or offering an extended free trial
  • eCommerce or SaaS: For existing customers whom you want to upsell
    • Use Customer Match to run Search, Shopping, Gmail, and YouTube remarketing ads.

BONUS: Target website visitors by time period

To target your website visitors based on time period, go ahead and tweak the “Membership Duration” field when you’re setting up your ads.

This refers to the number of days in which users within your specified audience are eligible to be served ads.

If you’re targeting website viewers, for example, and you set the membership duration to be 7 days, this means that someone who viewed your website 8 days ago will NOT be served any ads.

If you’re wondering what the optimal membership duration is, this depends on the nature of your business.

As an eCommerce store targeting cart abandoners, you’ll want to split your membership duration into smaller segments (because the longer it is, the lower the chances that a consumer will revisit your site, and complete their purchase).

For those dealing with longer sales cycles, however, such as SaaS or B2B service businesses, it makes sense to increase your membership duration and serve your ads to consumers over a longer period of time.

BONUS: Another way to segment website visitors by time period

Other than specifying your membership duration, you can also segment website visitors by showing them different ads.

Customers who abandoned their cart one day ago might see Ad #1, customers who abandoned their cart seven days ago might see Ad #2, and those who abandoned their cart 21 days ago will see Ad #3.

Now, the first category of customers (those who abandoned their cart one day ago) have the biggest potential to convert, so you might choose to serve them a straightforward dynamic remarketing ad featuring the product they were browsing.

As for those who abandoned their cart a week ago, chances are there’s something standing between them and their purchase, so consider serving them remarketing ads that feature social proof. You could use product ratings, customer reviews or testimonials to give them that extra nudge.

Finally, those who abandoned their cart 21 days ago are the least likely to still be interested, so if you want to entice them to complete their purchase, you have to come up with a really compelling offer. For instance, serve them an ad that contains a discount code. To increase urgency, make the discount code valid for a limited time.

A final word on using remarketing ads to grow your revenue

Awesome, you’ve made it all the way to the end of our guide on remarketing ads. This calls for a high-five!

To wrap up this blog post, here’s a quick recap of what we’ve discussed:

  • Remarketing ads have higher clickthrough rates on average (0.7% vs display ads’ 0.07%), and website visitors who are remarketed to are 70% more likely to convert on a website.
  • To run remarketing campaigns on Google ads, you first create your remarketing audiences in Google Analytics, then create your remarketing campaign on Google Ads.
  • You can level up your Google remarketing ads by experimenting with RSLAs, using dynamic remarketing, remarketing on YouTube, remarketing to your email subscribers, building audiences around specific actions taken on your site, and segmenting website visitors by period.

The bottom line? Regardless of whether you’re running an eCommerce store or a SaaS business, remarketing ads are a huge asset that can help you boost conversions, and generate more revenue.

If you haven’t done so already, start running remarketing ads, and get ready for your conversions and sales revenue to soar!

Picture of Ruba Aramouny

Ruba Aramouny

As the founder and strategic director of Solid Marketing, Ruba helps companies of all sizes integrate PPC advertising and Email automation into their digital strategy for brand promotion, demand generation, and customer acquisition. Her clients include Fortune 500 corporations from the consumer goods and retail space, as well as industry-leading E-commerce and SaaS businesses.