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Remarketing Lists for Search Ads – Best Practices

If you have attended any of my presentations of have read any of my blog posts over the past 3 years, you’ll know that I am big fan of Remarketing. One recent new addition to Google is Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA). This allows you to create unique search ads for previous site visitors.

Of course, I say “new”, RLSA was first introduced in 2013, allowing you to create unique messaging to previous site visitors. Being able to dive deeper into the search traffic, will allow you to create unique messaging and bidding strategies to previous site visitors. This opens the doors to multiple strategies:

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

You can optimize bids for your existing keywords for visitors on your remarketing lists. For example, you can increase your bid by 25% for those who previously viewed your website in the last 30 days. Or, you could show a different ad to site visitors who have placed items in a shopping cart but have not purchased them. – Source: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2701222?hl=en

If you are using Remarketing, then you are practically already there. If not, then you should be. Stop here and implement Google Remarketing on your site. Below are several great posts on getting started with Remarketing

More on RLSA

Diving deeper into those AdWords Remarketing audiences, you will see a column called “List Size (Google search)”. It’s been there for a while and now may be the time to stop ignoring that column.

To use Remarketing with a search campaign, the audience needs to be associated with the campaign or AdGroup. Although, like most things with PPC, separation is key. I recommend creating a separate RLSA campaign. Measurement and comparative data is much easier measurable with separation and segmentation.

Best Practices for RLSA

Knowing how to implement RLSA is only the starting point, the real value is in the practical uses. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  1. Use Unique Ads – Remember, these searchers have already been to your site. For whatever, reason they probably did not convert. Now, they are searching again. Give them something different. Show them a new message, new deal, new value, etc.
  2. Product Interest / Higher Bidding – If it’s clear that the audience has visited a product or service page, then you are more than half way there. Knowing there is interest helps tremendously. From there, it makes sense to increase bidding for product-specific ads.
  3. No Frequency Capping – One of my favorite features of Remarketing display ads is Frequency Capping. That allows you to reduce and maybe eliminate the “creepy” factor. If done well, users don’t feel like ads are following them around. Although, may not needed in search ad much, it’s still not available. To prevent searcher fatigue, use multiple messages.
  4. Go Broad – Normally within search campaigns, having too many broad keywords would result in higher spend and often lower conversions. It’s not the best spend of the dollar. However, going broad with RLSA is recommended. The audience is already narrowed down because of Remarketing. Opening up that search audience larger should result in even higher conversion rate.

About John Ellis

John Ellis is Founder and President of Crescent Interactive. He is an experienced online marketing professional, with special emphasis on paid search. John is a frequent speaker on advanced PPC tactics and strategies.