Remarketing With Google – Now Easier Than Ever

By Lindsay Keller | Sep 4, 2012
More Articles by Lindsay



What is Remarketing?

Remarketing is a type of advertising that allows you to place a cookie in the browser of anyone who visits your website, giving you a chance to reconnect with visitors that have abandoned your site without converting through Display Network advertising. You can create remarketing lists that allow you to deliver specific ads targeted to the interests that visitors have expressed through the pages they’ve viewed in the past.Remarketing - Reach Your Target Audience

Remarketing is a great way to remind potential customers about particular products or offerings on your site that they have already showed interest in. For example, you can target visitors who have placed a product in their shopping cart, but did not complete the purchase, with ads that offer a coupon for discounts or free shipping to hopefully capture that missed conversion. Remarketing allows you to put your brand and special offers in front of potential customers that have already showed interest in you. And you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, so why not give it a try!

If you’ve already jumped on board with remarketing, than you may have noticed some recent changes to the remarketing features in AdWords. Prior to July 27th, each remarketing list required its own code to be placed on the pages that you wanted included in your target audience. On July 27th, Google announced a major change to the remarketing process, rolling out a feature that allows you to implement just one piece of code across your entire website. Once each page contains the remarketing code, remarketing lists can be created based on rules. If you haven’t already started remarketing, now is the time. It’s easier than ever!


How to Set up Remarketing Lists Based on Rules in Google AdWords

First select Shared Library from the left-hand menu in Google AdWords and then select Audiences, bringing you to the page where you can create remarketing lists. Once you arrive on this page, you should see a “Main List” under Audiences, which is the automatically generated code that should be used as your primary tag to be placed on all pages on your website. The tag can be retrieved by clicking on the blue [Tag] link, as seen below. Have your webmaster place this tag right before the </body> tag on all pages on your site. If you don’t see “Main List”, you need to simply create a tag-based audience and place the generated code on all pages on your site.

Google AdWords Remarketing - Main List

Once the remarketing code is on all pages on your website, you can define remarketing lists based on page URL rules. For example, if I want to target all visitors who viewed one of the snowboard pages on my website I can select New audience and choose the below options instead of having to place a unique tag on all snowboard pages.

New Google AdWords Remarketing List

Please note that a remarketing list must include a minimum of 100 unique visitors before ads can be served on Google’s Display Network for that list. When deciding on what remarketing lists to create, make sure they are granular enough that you can deliver relevant ad content to your target audience, but not too narrowly focused that your audience will not be able to gather enough unique visitors to be eligible to serve ads.

An additional feature that Google offers allowing you to get even more focused on the audience you want to target is something called custom combinations. Custom combinations allow you to serve ads to a combination of existing audiences. For example, if you want to target all visitors who viewed a snowboard page, but did not make a purchase, you can do that with custom combinations. You can create an audience for everyone that has visited a snowboard page (audience 1), an audience that includes everyone who arrived at the “thank you” page after purchasing a snowboard (audience 2), and then create a custom combination that targets ads toward everyone in the first audience who are NOT part of the second audience.

To create a custom combination, first select New audience and then custom combination from the drop down menu. In the example below, I’ve selected to target any of these audiences: Snowboard Page Visits AND none of these audiences: Purchased a Snowboard. 

Google AdWords Remarketing Custom Combinations

Now that you know how to set up remarketing lists and custom combinations, the last step you need to do is apply your audiences to your Display Network campaigns. To do this, first select the Campaigns tab and then select the Display Network tab. Under the Display Network tab, 4 different options will appear, choose the Interests & Remarketing tab highlighted below and select + Change display targeting.

Google AdWords Display Network Options

Next choose the ad group to get started. Then the below options will appear. Choose the remarketing lists or custom combinations tab and simply select the audiences you would like to target for the chosen ad group. Then click save. It’s that simple!

Google AdWords Remarketing Lists

Now you know how to create remarketing lists in Google AdWords using the new “one code” method and apply your audiences to ad groups. But wait, there’s more! Google has also recently launched a beta version of remarketing with Google Analytics!

So what’s the advantage of using Google Analytics to set up your remarketing lists? Great question! Keep an eye out tomorrow for my follow-up post showing how to set up remarketing lists and a review of the additional features for remarketing offered in Google Analytics.

Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @lindskeller and stay tuned for tomorrow’s post!

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