Have you ever been followed by a pair of shoes on the internet?

If wherever you go online you see ads for a pair of shoes that you’ve recently been eyeing up, you’ve been targeted for remarketing.

Remarketing is a great tool for driving conversions and brand awareness online so I am going to show you how to set up remarketing campaigns. After reading this handy guide, I hope you will come to realise that it isn’t as daunting as you might think.

What is Remarketing?

Google AdWords remarketing allows you to target people that have previously visited your website with display ads shown on other websites within the Google Display Network. This is achieved by tagging visitors with a cookie when they visit a certain page on your website. These users can then be added to a List:

how to set up remarketing

Goals that you may want to achieve with a Google AdWords display remarketing campaign could include:

  • Target previous visitors that didn’t convert or complete an action
  • Encourage repeat purchases from previous visitors
  • Generate more awareness of your brand with display ads on the Internet

What makes AdWords Remarketing Successful?

In addition to driving awareness of your brand on the internet, remarketing also helps to drive additional conversions from previous visitors that know you and have already shown interest in what you offer. There are various reasons why these visitors may not have converted. Most likely, they wished to shop around to get the best price before committing to a purchase. But by adopting display remarketing, you’re keeping your brand in the mind of the customer when they leave your website.

In addition, remarketing is highly cost effective, as you gain a lot of exposure but only pay for clicks on the ad.

How To Add Your Remarketing Tag

To kick off your remarketing campaign, first you need add the Google AdWords remarketing tag to your website. You can add this snippet of code to add into the footer of your website so it will be applied to all of your pages.

To find your remarketing tag log into Google AdWords and click Shared library and Set up remarketing: 

how to set up remarketing

AdWords will then prompt you to add the tag to your website before you can create a remarketing list. You can view the code directly on this prompt, so you can copy and paste it directly into the footer of your website. Alternatively you can email the code to your web developer:

how to set up remarketing

Once the code has been added to your website, log back into AdWords and return to the Audiences tab. AdWords will then check and confirm if the tag is working:

how to set up remarketing

Now you’re ready to start creating remarketing lists!

How To Create Remarketing Lists

Return to the Audiences tab click +Remarketing List.

On the next screen you’ll be able to create a list by choosing specific criteria to meet the objectives of your remarketing campaign.

First you need to give the remarketing list a name, and choose whether you want to include visitors to your website or mobile app.

Next you need to define who you want to add to your list. From the drop down you can choose from a range of criteria to target visitors that have visited certain pages on your website. This saves you from having to create or add different codes to your website.

For example, if you want to specifically target users that visited a page about your latest training course but didn’t click through to an enquiry form, you would choose Visitors of a page who did not visit another page:

how to set up remarketing

To qualify for a remarketing campaign, your list needs to contain at least 100 visitors that have previously visited your website within the last 30 days. It’s important to keep this in mind when deciding what lists to create, as your target audience might be too niche. A good place to start is taking a look at your Google Analytics data to identify how many visitors a certain page on your website has received in the last month.

Once you have chosen the type of visitors you want to add to your list, you need to enter the URLs of the pages they previously visited and the page they didn’t move on to. Just make sure that you add a Rule set an exact match URL. Otherwise this will result in a pool of users that have visited other pages, such as the homepage:

how to set up remarketing

Membership Duration

This allows you to set the number of days a visitor stays on your remarketing list and how long you show ads to them. The default number of days is 30, and the maximum you can set for display remarketing is 540 days. After this length of time the user is removed from the list.  The number of days that you set will vary depending on the specific product or service you’re trying to promote.

If you’re remarketing high value goods or services such as a car or a holiday, it’s best to set a relatively high number of days. This is because high value goods and services generally have a longer conversion funnel, which means visitors may take longer to make a purchasing decision. If you’re remarketing lower value goods such as clothing, visitors tend to make a purchasing decision within a shorter space of time. So a membership duration of around 7 days would be more suitable for this type of product.

Setting up an AdWords Remarketing Campaign

Now that you’ve created your remarketing list, it’s time to create a new AdWords campaign.

Select +Campaign from the All Campaigns in AdWords and choose Display Network only:

how to set up remarketing

Give your campaign a name and then select no marketing objectives and All features.


how to set up remarketing

Just like when you’re creating a standard Search Network or Display Network campaign, you can set locations, ad schedules, and your daily budget from this screen. However, it’s important to click Ad delivery: Ad rotation, frequency capping at the bottom of the screen. This option will allow you to set a frequency cap:

how to set up remarketing

In recent years, remarketing has developed something of a poor reputation, with some users complaining that they feel “stalked”. However, the number of times your display ad is shown to a user is within your control. The default frequency is 10, but I would recommend toning this down to between 5 and 8. This will help to avoid annoying users in your list, which can have a negative impact on your brand’s reputation.

If you’re an e-commerce business you can take remarketing to the next level with dynamic remarketing. Available under Dynamic ad settings, this allows you generate display ads that pull though products that visitors have previously shown an interest in.

Once you’ve applied your settings, click Save and in the next screen you need to create an Ad Group to pull in your remarketing list and set your bid.

Creating Display Ads

Your remarketing list has been created and you’ve added to your new Campaign and Ad Group. All that’s left to do is create your display ads.

There are two ways to create AdWords remarketing display ads: You can either create and upload your own ads in the appropriate sizes and file formats, or you can use the AdWords Ad Builder.

By feeding a URL into the Ad Builder, Google will scan a page on your website and take elements to offer some ad ideas. While the standard of ideas it will generate can be mixed, this method can help you to create effective ads without possessing the skills of a Photoshop pro.

The Ad Builder will allow to make tweaks to the ads it has generated for you, such as adding additional images, altering the text, and changing colours.

Whether you’re creating your own display remarketing ads or using the Ad Builder, it’s important that they are branded, contain a strong call to action, and relevant messages to your target audience. Creating display ads is a deep enough topic that deserves its own article, but by following these basic principles you’ll be in better position to drive more clicks.


Finally, it’s worth touching upon Placements that will provide you with additional insights into your remarketing display ads.

Available within your AdWords campaign under Display Network, Placements provides you with information on what websites within the Google Display Network where your ad has been shown. As you monitor your remarketing campaign over time, you can keep an eye on what websites are generating a high number of impression but generating little to no clicks:

how to set up remarketing

Within Placements you can also exclude individual or types of websites showing your remarketing display ads. This allows you to help protect your brand by preventing ads from being shown on inappropriate websites that aren’t helping you sell your products and services.

For advanced Google AdWords remarketing techniques, be sure to keep any eye out for upcoming posts! Alternatively, if you need guidance on how to set up remarketing campaigns in AdWords, call us today on 0800 622 6100.

If you need help with your don't hesitate to contact us.

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