9 Remarketing Audiences Every Marketer Should Use for Holiday 2017

Ryan MootHart, PPC Architect
Remarketing Audiences Every Marketer Should Be Using from Portent

Remarketing is an essential strategy for just about every AdWords account imaginable. Targeting ads to users who are already familiar with your site and your brand tends to increase your conversion rates and help retain existing customers.

Thankfully, remarketing capabilities have also advanced quite a bit in the past few years. Advertisers now have more control and more flexibility than ever to run the right strategies for their business. If you’re an advertiser sticking with a single All Users audience and calling it a day, you’re likely leaving money on the table and stunting your ability to grow your business.

There are a lot of options you can pursue to fix this. Here are nine remarketing audience types to help jumpstart your strategic planning.

Engagement-Based Audiences

Engagement-based audiences are defined by on-site behavioral metrics such as session duration or pages per session. They help filter out lower-quality users (e.g. users who bounced) who are unlikely to engage with your site again.

Engagement based audiences for remarketing

Demographic-Based Audiences

Demographic-based audiences are defined by criteria such as location, age, or gender. These audiences help you reach your target demographics more effectively. Also, by using these definitions in creating an audience, you eliminate the need to use the same targeting criteria in the Google AdWords UI.

Demographic Based Audiences for Remarketing

Intent-Based Audiences

Intent-based audiences are defined by where a user is in the marketing funnel (e.g. awareness, interest, desire). For example, a user who spent time on the About Us page may signal s/he is higher up the funnel than a user who added something to their cart before leaving.

The important part about using intent-based audiences after defining them is to make sure your ad content is tailored to that part of the funnel. Speaking to a user’s needs based on where they are in their journey is key to moving them further along.

Sequence-Based Audiences

Sequence-based audiences are defined by a specific series of steps a user must take in order to qualify. For example, if you wanted to run ads promoting a discount for a specific product, you may want to limit these ads to show only to users who hit that product page, added it to their cart, and then proceeded to checkout process before abandoning.

Sequence-Based Audiences for Remarketing

These audiences can take a bit longer to adequately populate, but they can significantly improve conversion rates when applied and used appropriately.

Customer Segment Audiences

Customer segment audiences are defined by behavioral trends among your existing customers. For example, a customer who’s purchased from you multiple times in the past year may be considered a loyal user while someone who purchased something a year ago and hasn’t since may be considered a lapsed user.

Customer Segment Audiences for Remarketing

You can set up these categories of users in Google Analytics using custom dimensions. Once they’re registering in your reports, you can use them to define your remarketing audiences.

Customer Match Audiences

Customer match audiences are defined by the email addresses of your known leads and/or customers. These audiences are great for promoting customer retention and use in RLSA (remarketing lists for search ads).

You can upload an un-hashed list of email addresses directly into Google AdWords and it will encrypt the file for you. Any list uploaded must have a minimum of 1,000 email addresses as many will inevitably be excluded due to them not being connected to Gmail.

Similar Audiences for Search

Similar audiences are created automatically by Google AdWords. They’re look-alike audiences based on the remarketing lists you create. While they’re sometimes riskier to use in display campaigns, they can work wonders in your search campaigns; they allow you to be more visible to users similar to any of your qualified audiences without blowing your search budget on all potential search impressions.

Similar Audiences for Search Remarketing

YouTube-Based Audiences

YouTube-based audiences are defined by your YouTube account. Once you link your AdWords and YouTube accounts together, you’ll be able to port over audience lists such as users who’ve watched one of your videos or users who’ve visited your YouTube channel page.

YouTube Based Audiences for Remarketing


Negative Audiences

Last but certainly not least, negative audiences allow you to exclude sets of users from seeing a given set of ads. You add these to any campaign or ad group just as you would an audience that you want to target (just as an exclusion instead). These allow you to filter out certain audiences who don’t meet your criteria for a given campaign’s goals without the need for creating a custom combination or a separate audience with that same exclusion built into its definition.

Young Boy Businessman Wears Sad Face

Not <em>that</em> kind of negative audiences. But you get the point.

Do you see some opportunities that would make sense for your business? Go forth and execute!

This is only a baseline of what you can and should be doing to take advantage of remarketing. From here it’s all about what you do with the audience types that will make the real difference for your campaigns and your company. If you have any other audience types you like but didn’t see on this list, feel free to share them below in the comments.

Ryan MootHart, PPC Architect
PPC Architect

Ryan is a PPC architect at Portent, with more than a decade of experience managing large-scale e-commerce, international B2B lead generation campaigns, and everything in between. He became a published author in 2016 with the release of his book, Towards Cascadia, which is a non-fiction exploration of Pacific Northwest identity, bioregionalism, and nationhood. Outside of work, Ryan and his husband, Paul, enjoy traveling and are avid followers of Sounders FC, Seattle’s Major League Soccer club.

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