3 remarketing tips for Google AdWords

If you’re involved with a commercial website, then you know the majority of your sales aren’t going to come from first-time visitors.

In fact, 96 per cent of shoppers don’t make a purchase during their first visit, Google Inc. product marketing manager Tran Ngo says in a video series aimed at helping marketers get the largest return from their AdWords budget.

“From the moment a person has left your website or abandoned their shopping cart, advertisers should be using display marketing to re-engage those potential customers with tailored messages delivered at the right moment, in the right context,” she says.

Developing a marketing plan aimed at these former buyers or visitors, known as remarketing, is essential if advertisers want users to remember their brands as they browse the Internet, Ngo says.

Here are three tips that can help.

Choose the right remarketing tags for your site

There are three types of tags that you can use to start your remarketing list, Ngo says:

    • Google Tag Manager: These site-wide tags, also known as container tags, are ideal for users who simply want to tag every user who visits their site:



Google Tag Manager 1

Google Tag Manager 2

Google Tag Manager 3

    • Google Analytics Tag: These tags are recommended for marketers who want to use detailed information from Google Analytics in their remarketing, and are beneficial because they allow advertisers to create remarketing lists based on URLs, custom parameters, or their customers’ website behaviour, such as the amount of time spent on your website or the number of pages visited.If you’re already running Google Analytics, you can enable remarketing easily from the user interface without any tag updates. Under your Advanced Settings, set “enable advertiser features” to on, and in your AdWords account make sure you select “use GA tracking code” instead of “AdWords Remarketing Tag”.



AdWords remarketing diagram 3

  • AdWords Tag: These tags are recommended for advertisers who run remarketing lists for search ads. As with the Analytics tag, users of the AdWords tag can create remarketing lists based on webpage URLs or custom parameters, and if they’re already running remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA), they can simply keep using the same tag.

Once you have chosen your tags, Ngo says to make sure that you tag both your desktop and mobile site, and, if you have an app, tag that as well.

“A common pitfall that we see a lot of advertisers facing is tagging their site partially, which means they might be missing some of their site visitors from their remarketing lists,” she says.

Create effective remarketing lists

The framework to keep in mind when creating remarketing lists, Ngo says, is the path taken by consumers through your website. At every stage, you’ll have the opportunity to reach viewers who reached one stage, but did not go further, whether they reached your home page, category page, product or offer page, or abandoned their cart.

To create a home page remarketing list, simply go to the audience section of your page’s shared library and create a list where the URL equals your homepage. The same process can be used to create a category marketing list, but with category URLs.

New Remarketing List

To reach users who have abandoned their carts, you can use custom combinations: select audiences who have visited your shopping cart page and combine it with “none of these audiences” who have visited your purchase confirmation or thank you page.

Cart abandoners

Another important remarketing category is past customers.

“A big mistake advertisers usually make is that they forget about this list. This may be counter-intuitive – these people just bought your products, why would they be interested in buying again?” Ngo says. “But it’s exactly that fact that they’re familiar with your brand, your site, and sales process that they’ll be more likely to buy again.”

To reach former customers, create a remarketing list for visitors who have reached your purchase confirmation page. You’ll also want to upsell or cross-sell to these customers since they’ve purchased from your site before, Ngo says.

Optimize your remarketing campaign settings

“Reach and timing matter in remarketing,” Ngo says. “The more people you reach, the more chances you get to reconnect with your past site visitors, and offer them compelling ads and offers regardless of their context and location.”

She outlines three ways AdWords users can do so:

  • Remove language settings: If a person has visited your site before, they probably understand the language of your ad, Ngo says. If you have different ads for different languages, try creating a separate campaign for that language.
  • Remove location: Even if you don’t deliver your products to a particular country, people within that country might want to purchase something and have it delivered elsewhere.
  • Automate your frequency cap: Behind the scenes two algorithms optimize ad frequency in real-time, Ngo says: The Google Display Network optimizes for clicks, which means if the algorithm spots a particular user that it knows won’t click an ad, that user is far less likely to see the ad; while the second algorithm, conversion optimizer, is more likely to hide an ad if it knows a particular user isn’t likely to make a purchase.

While implementing remarketing lists can be a boon to advertisers, Ngo also recommends limiting the number of remarketing lists created: after all, fewer lists means more users in each, and that will make optimization easier without losing any remarketing benefits.

You can watch Ngo’s video series below.

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Eric Emin Wood
Eric Emin Wood
Former editor of ITBusiness.ca turned consultant with public relations firm Porter Novelli. When not writing for the tech industry enjoys photography, movies, travelling, the Oxford comma, and will talk your ear off about animation if you give him an opening.

Related Tech News

Get ITBusiness Delivered

Our experienced team of journalists brings you engaging content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives delivered directly to your inbox.