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AdWords Remarketing – Your Handbook to Remarketing in Google AdWords

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AdWords Remarketing – Your Handbook to Remarketing in Google AdWords

Blog / AdWords Remarketing – Your Handbook to Remarketing in Google AdWords
adwords remarketing

AdWords Remarketing – Your Handbook to Remarketing in Google AdWords

Have you ever thought what actually happens to your potential customers who are interested in your offerings, but are just not ready to pull the trigger?

They might just cool off and move away from the idea of availing what you have got to offer.

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Yes, and that makes a huge number!

While there are several strategies you can implement to drive traffic, considering the diverse user requirements optimizing your landing pages to facilitate conversion can be difficult.

So, what should you do?

Well, you can consider Google’s AdWords remarketing. This involves placing text ads, responsive ads, videos and animated images on the Google Search Network and Google Display.

Wondering what makes remarketing so different from the regular search advertising and standard displays?

It is the kind of “targeting” that is involved here.

Remarketing uses special tracking codes, where cookies are placed on the browsers of those who visit your website. Those visitors are then presented with ads using the cookie, particularly on the Search and Display networks. This can be an extremely powerful component of your PPC campaign.

The main purpose of remarketing is to target those visitors and potential customers who have already expressed their interest in your products or services.

This is because those are the ones who are likely to do whatever activity that you consider to be conversion, when compared to those who have not yet visited your website.

Today, marketers have multiple strategies to determine which website visitors have to be targeted, how to best target the leads and to make the most out of the ads designed for remarketing. Besides, there are several ways to optimize your remarketing campaigns.

How to optimize remarketing campaigns?

In this blog we will be looking into each of these topics and will also present you with a set of tips and best practices based on Google recommendations and experience.

AdWords Remarketing Options

Let us begin by analyzing all the available AdWords remarketing options.

  1. Standard AdWord Remarketing

Standard AdWords remarketing allows you to showcase your ads to those who have visited your website in the past.

They will be presented with your ads when they are browsing apps or websites on the Display Networks.

  1. Dynamic AdWords Remarketing

In dynamic remarketing you will be able to show relevant ads to those who have viewed a particular service or product on your website.

  1. Search Ads Remarketing Lists

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads – RLSA – is an AdWords feature, which enables you to correctly target all your past visitors across the Search Network.

You will have the privilege to customize and target ads to these visitors when they do a search on Google as well as the search partner sites of Google.

  1. Email List Remarketing

Email list remarketing in AdWords is also referred to as customer match. This can be helpful only when you have the list comprising of the email ids of your customers.

Once you have got their ids, all that you have to do is to just upload the list to AdWords.

This will instantly serve ads to your targeted users as soon as they sign into their Gmail, YouTube or Google Search.

  1. Video Remarketing

Video remarketing enables marketers to present ads to helps website owners to serve ads to those users who have already interacted with their YouTube channel or any other videos.

Ads can be served to these through various Display Network websites and videos including YouTube channels.

  1. Remarketing for Mobile Apps

Here those visitors who have used your mobile website or mobile apps will be shown your ads when they are using other mobile websites or mobile apps.

Choose Your Audiences

Like most of the other aspects in paid search, the first and important step to remarketing is analysis of the existing data and developing a remarketing strategy based on this.

As a marketer you you should first understand AdWords quality score, decide and choose the audience from those who visit your site and then target them for your ads.

These groups contain those who you would want to target and those who just do not want to target.

There are several ways to target your audience, which include:

1. Based on the specific project page visited

2. Based on visiting a particular checkout page on your website

3. Based on “not visiting” some pages

4. The time spent on your website/web page

5. Total number of web pages visited

6. Geography based targeting

7. Demographic targeting

Apart from these, there are some sort of custom combinations, which we will explain in detail at a later point.

That tactic will enable you to target more potential visitors like the ones that landed on your first page of the checkout process but for some unforeseen reasons did not hit your “Thank You” page.

So what does this mean?

It simply means that you will be targeting those users who were actually enough interested in adding your product to their cart but unfortunately were not able to complete the process.

Based on the URLs you will be able to target any audience.

For example, you have a thank you page.

The page will be for people who submit their mail ids to sign up for your newsletters, get more deals on your offerings, avail special discounts or even register for a lucky draw.

Now, you can use the URL of that page to get the list of users whom you will be targeting for remarketing.

Following are some of the steps that are worth considering when you begin retargeting:

  1. Consider all the pages that you would want to target on your website and then make a detailed list of it in an Excel sheet. List the page URLs and name your audience, as it makes it future reference easy.
  2. When the sheet with the list is being created, list out all your ideas which you could come up with for making custom combinations.
  3. If you have already set up Google Analytics goal funnel, then use the data that you have gathered for analyzing and finding areas to remarket.
  4. However, if you have not yet set up your Google Analytics funnel, then try reading this blog article which guides you on doing the same.

Setting Up Your Remarketing Codes

How to set-up remarketing codes?

The first and foremost step in building up your Google AdWords remarketing campaign would be to generate and special code.

Then you can place this code by placing the cookies in the computers of your website visitors.

This code can either be generated in Google AdWords or in Google Analytics. The process involves placing a single code on each of the web pages.

This is just similar to the code that is already being used by Analytics to keep a track of the traffic of your website.

However, it has a slight modification. No matter how you generate the code, by using the way you are comfortable with, you just have to place on each and every page of your website.

You can then use URLs for building audiences and custom combinations.

If you already have your Google Analytics account, then relax you can get your code there. However, if you have not created one, then we request you to create one.

But nevertheless, we will still go ahead and explain to you about how you can get a code even when you do not have an account.

The best part of having remarketing code from Analytics is that it gives you the unique luxury to set up remarketing lists which are goal based rather than the ones that are just based on the pages visited.

You will also have the privilege to of setting up codes for those who have spent some time on your website, visited at least 5 pages on your website etc.

Setting Up Remarketing Lists in Analytics

If you have made up your mind to use Google Analytics for remarketing code, we will help you to set up the code. As soon as you log in to your Analytics account, select the section “admin”.


Next, click on the link which is named “Audience Definitions”.

However, if you do not see this option at all the chances are that you might not be logged in under the user name which has been granted with the admin access to your Google Analytics.

If that is only the case then you can gain access and check once again in the following window:


So, choose “Audience Definitions” and under that click on “Audiences”.


Under the “Audiences” section, click the option “New Audience”


The options that are included here are:

1. Choosing your Analytics profile,

2. Choosing AdWords account which will be used with your list

3. Choosing the type of AdWords remarketing you want to go ahead with

4. Choice of modifying the duration of the membership


Based on what your intentions are you can name your list. We will discuss more about custom combinations in a while. But some of the naming options for your lists include – “cart abandoners”, “all site visitors” and so on. We will shortly discuss custom membership.

Now, begin by collecting appropriate data. For that you will have to do minor adjustments to the Analytics code you have just created and have placed on your website already.

Look for the following:

ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) + ‘’;

And replace it with the following:

ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://’ : ‘http://’) + ‘’;

Once you are done with modifying your Analytics code, you are not done yet. You will also have to look into some of the additional items, which include the following:

If you still don’t have Analytics for some particular reason, or if you do not have the admin access to it or due to some strange reason you do not want to abide by their terms of service, then do not worry. You will still be able to create and manage your marketing lists in AdWords directly.

Directly Creating Remarketing Lists in AdWords

To create one, you can begin by visiting your shared library in your existing AdWords account. Then just click on “Audiences”.


Click on the option “remarketing lists”.

Choosing the Duration of Your Membership

Membership duration is nothing but the time span for which you would want to store a particular cookie in a user’s browser.

Selecting membership duration is based on numerous different strategies.

However, the best way is to carefully evaluate your business and your goals while choosing the membership duration.

The membership might last up to 540 days.

Based on your requirements, you can either extend your requirements or sign up again after a few days. Check out the following two scenarios:

  1. When you have an e-commerce website, from which people will buy only once in 3 months, then the best option for you would be to push your membership duration and extend it by 90 days
  2. If you offer services which require people to sign up after a time span of 30 days? Or anything similar to that? Then you should go for 60-day membership. Doing this ensures that those customers will also be appropriately targeted immediately after the completion of 30 days

Another aspect to remember while trying out this is you will always be running the risk of irritating or annoying people. After all, no one would like to be bombarded with several ads constantly from time to time.

Deciding the Ad Duration with Frequency Clapping

Similar to membership duration, there is another factor that you have to consider – frequency clapping.


This is a feature which helps you to choose the frequency at which every individual user will be able to see the ad that you are targeting them for, withing a specific time period.

However, it is important to note that if you keep on showing your ads too many times, there is a possibility of your crossing the line and they getting annoyed with your service or products.

There is a classic example where a group of upper class, successful wives were targeted by Prada for remarketing.

They were being served with Prada ads throughout the day, all across the Internet and on every website they visited.

This made it evident that those users were being targeted. Unfortunately it began to look annoying and creepy. The users began to build some sort of resentment towards the brand.

This was something that is exactly opposite to what the brand was trying to accomplish.

Now, you certainly do not want this to happen to your brand. Do you?

If you do not want this to happen to your brand, your ads and your Adwords remarketing audience just set a frequency gap which might be appropriate for your goals. When your customers often have long gaps between conversions then you may just need a few impressions to send a gentle reminder to them about your brand from time to time.

However, if your business targets repeat customers, then you should plan to impress them as many times as possible, i.e., as frequently as possible.

Let us consider restaurants – such as Jimmy John’s – businesses like these would want to order their food every single day of the week.

They just do not care about burning somebody’s pocket. Besides, it is also feasible to order from them multiple times a week. As repeat business is extremely crucial to them, they constantly display ads to their users.

However, the main point to be noted here is choosing a plan that is helpful and also makes sense to your business.

Setting Up Custom Combinations

The tab “Shared Library” in your Google AdWords account lets you to set up your custom combinations. This is the same place where you set up Google Analytics Adwords remarketing campaigns. Here, just create a new audience, but now it will be using a custom combination.


For example, you can get your customers to land on the first page of the checkout process without reaching the order confirmation page. This can be done using custom combination.

You can now choose a remarketing audience for those who have landed on the first page of the checkout process.

This can be done by using URL of that particular page and then creating a remarketing audience.

Next, you can choose “none-of-this-audience” and later select remarketing audience which you have set up for those who have landed on your “Thank You” page.

Besides, you also have the option of choosing those who have already converted. You can just save this and then choose the custom combination as your target audience for the ad group that was created for this particular audience.


Next, you can also interlace Adwords remarketing audience with interest categories for the custom combinations.


Perhaps you will now be creating internet category marketing campaigns which will solely be focused on introducing to as many people as possible, to those who have never heard of your brand before. You can make audience targeting with the help of custom combinations.

Here, you can choose any interest category of your choice for targeting.

You can then use the dynamic remarketing AdWords tags for the home page URL, which could be “all site visitors”, as the negative audience.

This kind of custom combinations will precisely target only your target the category of your interest without showing the ads to others who have already visited your website, within the time duration of your membership.

You need not use just one negative and one positive audience either.

You will also have the opportunity to choose and target only those who have visited certain URLs on your website, may be a product page and also those who are interested in specific interest categories.

Let us assume that your company sells beds for dogs and you have hard data. This data shows that people marked by the Google as being “interested” in dogs are 65% more likely to convert than those who are not marked by Google as “not interested” in dogs.

You will then be able to custom combination to target the “dog bed” project page as well as the interest category – “dogs”.

An important takeaway here is for you to analyze what works best for your website and try all the viable options to test which one works for you.

When Membership Duration Meets Custom Combinations

“Delayed Targeting” is one of the major strategies that tends to work very well for marketers like you. Let us consider an example to understand better.

Let us consider a client who provides subscription based service. Some members of this client prefer to pay on a monthly basis. So, we thought of making an audience specifically targeting those who ended up converting during the time period of their membership duration of one month.

We then created an audience identical to them, with the only difference being 90 days instead of 30 days.

Later, we created a custom combination, in which our target was a 90 day membership duration, while excluding the audience for the “30 day” membership.

So, this only means that we have been targeting people who converted just after 30 to 90 days post conversion.


The duration of the membership will also interfere with your ad’s messaging. However, if you some kind of offers that give your users a free “7 day” trial, then you will be able to get your users to begin converting after the completion of 7 days.

Next, you are the one who is best aware of your sales cycle, when compared to anybody. So, try to come up with new innovative ways to make the best out of this “high level” targeting, which is offered to by remarketing. After initial introduction to your brand, users may think of your brand 30 days, 90 days or even 180 days. So, try adjusting your messaging accordingly.

Optimizing Your Remarketing Campaigns

When it comes to remarketing, there are different types of optimization. Let us now check out each of these.

  1. Custom Combination Testing

As discussed earlier, when you combine your previous site visitors with your interest categories, the chances are that you will get different results.

Continuous testing can be the key to figure out what might work well for your business.

You can alsouse different lengths of cookies to try different combinations and experiment with it.

For instance, messaging targeting those who visited between 7 and 30 days might just not work for those who visited 30 to 60 days ago.

  1. Ad Testing

While strong branding works well in the ads, begin this as a control and still keep experimenting with other types of messaging. Remarketing ads are no different than your other ads.

So, treat these ads also in the same way, while keeping your target audience in mind.

What you should be aware of is, these are the users who are already aware of your brand. So, you should just go a little ahead to win their interest back and get them to your website.

You can try experimenting with different types of images, call to actions, variety of offers and anything else that comes to your mind.

  1. Bid Testing

In a remarketing campaign it is extremely important to monitor the “Impression Share (IS)”. As you will be following the users rather than the sites, as soon as you get 100% IS you might end up end up annoying some of the users.

So, here you apart from impression share it is important for you to monitor your bids for return on investment and cost effectiveness.

  1. Frequency Cap Testing

During your remarketing efforts, being too annoying to the users would be the last thing you want to get into.

At the same time you would also strive to augment the number of users to your website.

So monitor the exact number of impressions received by your remarketing ad groups in combination with your audience size.

At times, your cap could be too high as you will not be limiting anything. One the contrary, your hat would be too low, where you will be severely limiting the exposure of your ads.

  1. Landing Page Testing

In remarketing, the users whom you are targeting and wanting to direct them back to your sites are the ones who are already aware of your website and have some amount of familiarity with it.

You can experiment with landing them on a new page. This lets you to determine the following:

  • Whether your messaging caters to those who have already been there previously
  • Are the questions you ask on your landing page be answered by anyone who has already visited it previously
  • Identify which is the type of content that previous visitors feel a string connection to

Although you might get varying results, remarketing ad campaigns are know to become extremely successful when the ad content is focused on your brand.

This is only because the users being targeted are your previous visitors and are familiar with your site. They will not pay attention to random creatives or advertisements.

However, they are bound to respond and notice the ads that revolve around brands which they recognize.

This becomes particularly true while testing remarketing visitors with special offers. They will not even notice a sale or a discount unless it if for a website that they are familiar with.

So, we would recommend you to begin with ad that matches your brand as well as your website as a set of control and then start testing from there.

Mostly, you can try to direct your remarketing visitors back that is to wherever they had come from. If they receive a remarketing cookie from your product page, then it is a great idea to get them back on that particular product page.

However, if you are thinking of offering some sort of specials to them, then you will have to create a customized landing page reflecting the deal your are planning to offer.

However, if your users return back to your website and then do not find the deal that your showcased or the one that was promised in your remarketing ad, then the chances are that they might just leave your page, resulting in a bounce.

It is extremely tricky to carry out placement exclusions when it comes to remarketing.

If you are not getting what we are trying to say, we mean that placement exclusions occur when you download placement reports to identify the sites where your ads are poorly performing with minimal relevancy.

However, using audience targeting strategies such as interest category marketing or remarketing, then you will be targeting users who will be on that p[articular website.

So, the relevancy of the content might not be so crucial in case of  Adwords remarketing campaigns as it would be in other sorts of display campaigns.

So, how should you go about? You will still continue to have websites that poorly perform forcing you to exclude them.

Even though you are focused on attracting people to your website, at times some websites attract the wrong people, that is, the ones who just do not want to spend.

Or you might also end up displaying your remarketing ads in a way such that you might invite accidental clicks.

This is why we recommend you to be more tolerant with the adwords remarketing placement performance. Try giving maximum tolerance to those kind of website, but again, within the margin of your goals.

Summing Up

After all, Adwords remarketing is one of the most powerful targeting methods on Google’s Display Network. Just by carefully tailoring your bids and ad copies to precisely cater to your target audience, you will be able to achieve enormous return on your investments.

Time to Share Your Thoughts

Now that you have got some ideas on this Google remarketing tutorial, please try it and let us know about your outcome. You can also ask your queries and share your experience in the comments section below.

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