Remarketing with Google: what it is and how to do it

Jul 28th, 2017

They’ve been to your site, they’ve expressed a need for your service, but they may not be quite ready to take the plunge – so how do you make sure your consumer thinks of you when they’re ready? Remarketing

Introduced in early June of 2015, RLSA (remarketing lists for search) has become a vital part of a well-executed paid search strategy. With the offering expanded to include dynamic remarketing allowing further customisation, the practice is expanding across industries. While this has caused negative perceptions of remarketing to rise – with some considering the practice intrusive – there are ways and means to avoid putting people off with excessive appearances.

What is remarketing?

Remarketing is a function of Google AdWords which facilitates ad serving to consumers that have previously visited your site or used your app, making it easier for brands to serve personalised, dynamic ads to consumers and to stay at the forefront of a consumer’s mind until they are ready to make a decision.

Consider your average day online, while mostly you may be unaware – how often do you spot items you’ve previously looked into purchasing? Today, for example, a quick check on a social media site and a news site has thrown up the two images below:

squarespace ad trash pack ad


From left to right, I have checked out Squarespace (along with WordPress) a few times when I get the sudden though generally transient urge to resurrect my own blog; secondly, my youngest son has a newfound fascination with ‘Trash Pack’ toys and, believe it or not, research has already begun for the looming Christmas lists.

While these ads only appear in certain places, they serve the function of reminding you of the product or service you were looking for and offer a nudge toward the advertiser’s brand if they catch you at a moment when you are ready to convert (ie, to make a purchase).

Brands are able to modify bids for these ads dependent on consumer actions, as well as tailor the ads to these consumer’s preferences.

How to set up remarketing lists

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account or create one.
  2. Select ‘Shared Library’ from the side menu:

    shared library

  4. Select ‘Audiences’ from the shared library drop down.
  5. Unless you’ve previously had a remarketing strategy in place, you’ll see a number of possible options, select ‘Set up remarketing’ from your ‘Website visitors’ option.

    remarketing types

  7. Complete the set up process (which will include adding a html retargeting tag to your site’s header) and enter a descriptive remarketing list name – something you’ll easily identify at a later date, either after a break or when you have multiple lists.
  8. Select one of the ‘Who to add to your list’ templates from the dropdown menu.
  9. Click the ‘+Rules’ link to add rules for the list (these are things such as specific pages visited using ‘URL includes’), these can have multiple conditions to tailor it to your brand’s needs and buyer’s journey.
  10. Enter a membership duration – this is how long you want a particular individual to stay on your list without converting.
  11. Save your list.


How to create a display remarketing campaign

While there are remarketing options for search only, we’re going to deal with display only here as it’s the most recent type and let Google tell you about RLSA campaigns themselves.

  1. Select ‘Campaigns’ from your main (top) menu and select ‘Display Network only’
  2. Select one of the marketing objectives (the ‘Drive action’ selection will be useful most often).
  3. Choose a memorable campaign name, bid strategy (CPC, impressions etc.) and budget then click ‘Save and continue’.
  4. Enter your ‘Ad group’ name and your bid.

    retargetting setup


  6. From the ‘Choose how to target your ads’ options, select ‘Interests and remarketing’.
  7. Select the remarketing list you wish to use from those you have created.
  8. Click ‘Save and continue’ to create your ads – ensure you create as wide a selection of ads as you can to increase possible placements.

Frequency capping in remarketing

Frequency capping is the practice of setting an upper limit on the number of times a consumer will see your ads in any given period.

While there is nothing set in stone regarding the right frequency cap to set in place, as stated earlier there has been an increase in negative sentiment regarding remarketing ads which can be reduced if not overcome by ensuring your campaigns are not overpowering.

The simplest way to decide is to come to a balance between how many times would make you wary and what you feel the business needs to improve conversion and to test this continuously until you are able to make the right decision based on accurate data.

Why use remarketing?

Remarketing enables you to maintain a relationship with consumers that have already interacted with your brand, it is a proven method of increasing CTR and conversion rate (if done well).

Yet this is the mechanics only – what remarketing also offers are benefits to the image of your brand with the consumers you target. Through seeing your brand on sites they already have an affinity with, or in places they consider important, your brand begins to take on some of the respect and affection the consumer has for the site.

Think of traditional television advertising, for example, there are reasons beyond demographic targeting that advertisers choose to commission slots in popular shows or to entirely sponsor a show (consider where Dominos were in the UK prior to their decade long sponsorship of ‘The Simpsons’ for example). They are also looking to develop a subconscious link between the show and the product and, thereby, capitalise on positive sentiment.

While this is becoming more difficult in traditional media – with live pause, recording and streaming of television – it is still possible online, and it is something that can definitely have an impact on a brand’s bottom line.

The future of remarketing

While the online future of remarketing is almost certainly secure, there is a distinct possibility that remarketing will also enter what William Gibson referred to as ‘meat-space’ (real life – or the opposite of ‘cyberspace’). We’ve mentioned digital billboards and their probable future as PPC vehicles, but there is little stopping remarketing from extending into the same sphere – as upgraded versions of the personalised ads in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil or in the film adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report.

In fact, with the increasing permeation of our culture by digital assistants, it seems likely if not imminent that ads in the real world that target our previous behaviour are on the way.

Click Consult has been implementing successful remarketing strategies since the process was first introduced. To find out what we can do for your brand, contact us today.

Facebook Twitter Instagram Linkedin Youtube