Is your AdWords budget limited? Are you looking to drive more leads and sales from your Google search network text ad campaigns? Now is the time to set up remarketing lists for search ads.

What are Remarketing Lists for Search Ads?

Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) allow AdWords users to target previous website visitors with search network text ads. As a more sophisticated targeting method, RLSAs will allow you to
drive more leads and sales from visitors that have visited your website, but didn’t do what you want them to do (i.e. convert).

Previous Visitors & Google Search Network

While you may think that this works in the same way as display remarketing, it’s actually completely different. They both shares the same core functionality of placing cookies on previous website visitors to target with paid advertising, but this is where the similarities end. For previous visitors to see your display remarketing ad, they need to be on websites that are part of Google’s display network. With RLSAs, users need to be actively searching on Google with your target keywords to see your ad.

Why RLSAs are just…awesome!

By allowing you to increase your visibility to people that already know you, your brand and your products, RLSAs give you the opportunity to drive more well qualified leads and sales through paid search. Use them well and you’ll soon find yourself getting more from your ad spend, higher conversion rates and generally a better return on investment.

You need at least 1,000 previous visitors in a Remarketing list to start using RLSAs. However, what’s really useful is that these visitors can be from any traffic source – not just PPC! To find out how long it will take you to build a list of 1,000 unique visitors, check your Google Analytics data.

Here are four great features of RLSAs:

1. Be more savvy at bidding on competitor terms

Bidding on your competitors’ brand and related terms can be a dangerous game to play. However, with RLSAs you can only bid on and trigger ads to users that have already been on your website. These users already know who you are but left without converting because they’re considering other options before committing. Using RLAs will keep you in the mind of users as they search Google and prevent wasting spend on new users that have no interest in you.

2. Exclude previous visitors that have already converted

In many cases, once a visitor has converted on your website it’s no longer relevant to keep advertising your product or service to them. For example, if a customer has purchased a new smartphone on a two-year contract, it wouldn’t make sense to continue showing ads promoting the same smartphone they have just purchased. With RLSAs, you can exclude previously converted visitors from your list. This means you will avoid unnecessary spend on ads with irrelevant messages. Instead you can target them with ads with more appropriate messages, like up-selling!

3. Up-sell to previously converted visitors

Yes, that’s right – with RLSAs, you can create a remarketing list of previously converted users and target them with text search ads with messages to encourage up-selling. These users have already purchased from you, which means they trust you. RLSAs make this process much easier. Looking back at your customer who has just purchased their new smartphone from you, they may be on the lookout for a case or a pair of headphones. With RLSAs you can target ads to the users with messages promoting these relevant products. Again, you’re targeting higher quality users that are more likely to generate a higher conversion rate.

4. Make more of a limited budget

If you’re a marketing manager it can be tough to persuade a business to invest in AdWords advertising when it’s unfamiliar territory. In other cases, you may have a very small AdWords budget and you’re unable to generate a reasonable return on your advertising spend. This is where RLSAs can help.

By only targeting users who have already been on your website, you’re focusing on higher quality leads rather than investing ad spend to target a wider audience. This means your ads are likely to show for longer times of the day, which potentially means more clicks.

How to create & implement RLSA campaigns

Before kicking off RLSAs, you need to make sure that you have the AdWords remarketing code on your website. From there you need to create a Remarketing list, which is explained for you here.

Once you have created your list, you will then need to marry it up with an existing search network campaign. Here’s a quick step by step guide on how to add your remarketing list to Ad Groups and start running to RLSAs:

1.Choose an Ad Group within an existing Search Network campaign and click the “Audiences” from the top menu.


2. Select +Remarketing and then select your newly created remarketing list.

3. In the drop under Targeting, select Ad Targeting, then select Interests & Remarketing from the next window.

Interests & Remarketing

5. From there you can click the arrow next to your bank of remarketing lists to add them to your current Ad Group.

Adding a Remarketing List

6. Before clicking Save at the bottom, you have the option to set as Target & Bid or Bid Only. If you only want your ads to show to those in your list, select Target & Bid. Selecting Bid Only will targeting your ads to the wider audience, as well as those in your remarketing list. If you choose this option, I would recommend setting bid adjustments on your remarketing audience to set a higher bid for better visibility of ads to those that have already visited your site.

Bid Only & Target & Bid Options

Are you a Bing Ads advertiser? Find out how to set up RLSA campaigns in Bing Ads here.

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