Brian Furey // Dec 17 2013
Remarketing Lists for Search Ads [RLSA] is an extremely useful feature that Google rolled out over the summer. It allows you to serve search ads to people who are on your remarketing lists, and for Portent’s small e-commerce clients, it’s definitely proven profitable. So if you’re looking for another way to increase your sales, read on.
RLSAs are extremely easy to set up. If you’re already doing display remarketing, the same tag will also populate the Remarketing for Search List. If you don’t have a remarketing tag on your site, you’ll need to set that up.
To create a remarketing tag, go into the shared library and under Audiences, click on +Remarketing list.
Then put the code at the bottom of all of your site’s pages before the </body> tag. Your search remarketing efforts won’t work, however, until your Remarketing for Search List populates with 1,000 visitors.
There are a few ways you can set up your RLSA. You can either add your list as an audience to your existing campaigns, or you can create entirely new campaigns dedicated to RLSA.
Adding a remarketing audience to your existing ad group allows you to bid more for searchers that have already visited your site. I like to use this to bring ads to the top positions for people who are expressing explicit interest in buying your product. For example they’re searching for “buy [your product/service]” or “[your product/service] for sale.”
To add a remarketing audience to an ad group, go to the desired ad group and navigate to the audience tab.
Click on the +Remarketing button. Once there, click on the “add targeting” drop-down menu, select “remarketing,” and add your list.
Now you have to choose your targeting method. You have two options: “bid only” or “bid and target.” This might seem a little confusing if you’re not familiar with the display network. “Bid Only” allows you to select a separate bid or bid modifier that you want applied to this audience.
With “bid only,” your ads will still be shown to people not on your list searching for your keywords, and you’ll bid like you normally would. But if someone who is on your list is doing the search, then your bid will be based off of your remarketing bid modifier.
If you select “bid and target,” your ads will only show to the people in your audience who are searching for your keywords.
Since you’re adding a remarketing list to an existing ad group, “bid only” should be the option you choose.
This is the option I prefer when I use RLSA, since it gives me much greater control over my remarketing efforts.
To set this up, create a campaign like you normally would, then head over to the audience tab. Add your remarketing list, just like before, but this time select “target and bid.”
Now choose the keywords you’re going to bid on.
If you’re feeling a little tepid about a remarketing campaign, starting with keywords that show a buyer’s intent is a fairly low risk option, such as “buy [your product/service],” since this is the group that’s most likely to convert.
But what excites me most about RLSAs (and where their power lies) is that they give you the ability to bid on keywords that you would normally never add to a standard campaign.
You can bid on keywords that ordinarily would be too broad and convert at a price that’s just too high. Or you can add experimental keywords that you don’t want in a standard campaign due to a budget restriction. Since you’re only bidding on these keywords for a small audience, there’s a lot less risk with RLSAs than putting them into a standard campaign.
One piece of advice: don’t combine your broad/experimental keywords with your normal keywords in the same campaign.
Even if you’re only serving ads to people who have been to your site, you may accidently rack up clicks and spend your entire budget. Your keywords are potentially still very broad, and even when targeted to an audience of a few thousand, they can easily eat up your entire budget leaving little room for keywords that will convert at a lower price.
There are plenty of uses for RLSAs. Let me know some of your favorites in the comments.
Brian is a graduate of Willamette University and when not writing blog posts for Portent, he is off sampling the greatest in northwest beers and cheering on the Seahawks. Read More