Remarketing For Search: What Is It And How To Set It Up

Remarketing For Search: What Is It And How To Set It Up

Written by Iñigo Etxebeste

Remarketing for the Search Network, better known as RLSA: remarketing lists for search ads, was launched over 2 years ago now – they have been around since July 2013 – however it remains very underused among digital marketers.

We have recently set up an AdWords account for a new client and among other types of campaigns we also set up RLSA. Since many online marketers are still unaware of the possibility of running remarketing campaigns targeting the Search Network I thought I would just write a post explaining what it is and how to set it up.

What is it?

Google defines RLSA as a feature that lets you customise your search ads campaign for people who have previously visited your site, and tailor your bids and ads to these visitors when they are searching on Google.

Traditional remarketing campaigns let you retarget people who left your site without buying anything, it helps you to connect with these potential customers by displaying ads across the Display Network. Now RLSA or remarketing for search allows you to connect with these lost customers when they continue looking for what they need on Google Search.

Why shall I use it?

According to Google, there are a few reasons for using remarketing lists with search ads:

– Broaden keywords: You can bid on keywords that you don’t normally bid on, just for people who have recently visited your site or who have converted on your site in the past. This can help you increase your sales. For example, you could bid on more generic keywords, but only for people who have previously purchased from your site.

Example: A specialty tour company wanted to capture additional gift revenue around the holidays. While broad keywords like “present” and “gift” ordinarily would not be profitable, remarketing lists for search ads let them target those keywords only to people who had purchased gifts from the company the year before. Results: conversion rate +300%, comparable to brand terms, and a 30% increase in ROI.

– Optimise bids: You can optimise bids for your existing keywords for visitors on your remarketing lists. For example, you can increase your bid by 25% for those who have viewed your website within the last 30 days. Or, you could show a different ad to site visitors who have placed items in a shopping basket but have not purchased them.

Example: A tire reseller created one remarketing list for users who had been to their homepage and another for people who had searched for a particular tire model. Keywords and ads stayed the same, but they raised their bids a bit for previous homepage visitors, and they increased bids a lot for people who had searched on the site. Results: total sales up 22%, conversions up 163%.

– Customise ad text: Deliver specific messages to each segment that reflected users’ previous interests.

Example: A telecom that provided TV, voice and internet services set up three remarketing lists to segment site visitors who expressed interest in each service category. The telecom then used remarketing lists for search ads to deliver bespoke messages to each user group. Results: cost per order down 66%, a large increase in overall search campaign ROI.

How does it work?

In order to start using RLSA on Google, you need to create a remarketing list and add a snippet of code that you get from AdWords to your site. This snippet of code is called a remarketing tag. You can add the remarketing tag to all the webpages on your site. The code will tell AdWords to add every person who visited your site to your list. When people visit your homepage, for example, the cookies associated with their browsers are added to the remarketing list.

Once the remarketing tag is added to your website, you can add the remarketing list to an ad group that has keywords, bids and ads with a message tailored to customers on the remarketing list. These customised ads will show to people who have already been to your site when they later search on Google. These messages won’t be shown to people who aren’t on the list.

Remember that a remarketing list for AdWords search ads needs to reach a at least a thousand cookies before the list can be implemented to tailor your ads. This helps protect the privacy of the users who make up your list.

Google created this case study about the success story of the company Tirendo, a European online tyre retailer, who saw a 161% conversion rate increase with RLSA or remarketing lists for search ads, leading to a 22% overall sales increase.

How to set it up?

When you visit the “Audiences” section of the Shared library for the first time, you will find the “All visitors” list that Google automatically created for you. This list will also appear on the Audiences tab, under the main Campaigns tab. Follow these steps to start using remarketing lists in your campaign:

1. New Search campaign: Create a new “Search Network only” campaign, or select an existing search campaign and ad group.

2. Audiences: Click on the Audiences tab, next to the Keywords tab. If you don’t see this tab, you will need to enable it by clicking on the drop-down menu at the end of the tab bar, and selecting Audiences.

3. Remarketing: Click on + Remarketing.

4. Targeting: Click on the Add targeting drop-down menu and select Interests & remarketing.

5. Remarketing list: Click on the Select categories drop-down menu and select Remarketing lists. You will find the “All visitors” list and any other rule-based lists that you have created for your different groups of site visitors. Add the remarketing list to your ad group.

6. Remarketing tag: Add the remarketing tag across your entire site.

Would you like to add anything else to the story? Feel free to do so, leave a comment!

Source: Google: about AdWords remarketing lists for search ads

Iñigo Etxebeste, December 23, 2019