Remarketing is a clever way to connect with visitors to your website who may not have made an immediate purchase or enquiry. It allows you to position targeted ads in front of a defined audience that had previously visited your website – as they browse elsewhere around the internet.

From a strategy perspective, remarketing is all about messaging and bid control. You want to be able to target certain visitors with targeted ad messaging and you want to be able to control adspend on those various audiences based on performance.

For example say you wanted to target and serve ads to just people who looked at shoes vs. those who viewed hats. You’ll create different ads for shoes and hats so that your messaging resonates with those visitors. Obviously there may be some bleed and it will generally be the one with the higher bid that will get served the ad.


How Does it Work?

Remarketing works by placing cookies (the remarketing code) on a website visitor’s device when they meet your criteria (i.e. visited certain pages, cart abandoners, how many pages per visit, etc). Their cookie ID is added to your remarketing list. You can have multiple lists with a range of different criteria.

Going back to the shoe example, I’ll find the common denominator that connects all shoes – as a part of the URL – and put it in the URL contains field.


  • There is a minimum threshold of 100 cookie ID’s on each remarketing list before a campaign can become active.
  • Remarketing can be ran through Google Analytics or Adwords.
    • Analytics Remarketing uses the analytics code, so no need to set up the Adwords code if you’re going that route.


Common Remarketing Segments

  • Pages per sessions – users who have been to more pages on the site will tend to convert better, therefore are better targets and higher bids must be placed on them.
  • Returning Sessions – users who’ve been to your site more frequently will be better targets than those who have visited your site once and then bounced.
  • All Visitors – all visitors is a catch all and bids should be set accordingly
  • Product Viewers – viewers who have actually visited a product will be more likely to convert than those that haven’t.
  • Cart Abandoners – viewers who have put something in there shopping cart but abandoned it are highly interested users and therefore would be a great audience for remarketing.
  • Past Buyers – depending on how the site gets repeat customers will determine the effectiveness of this audience.
  • Time since visit – visitors who’ve visited the site recently will be much more likely to convert than those who’ve visited less recently.
  • Page-Based – visitors who have been to a certain page will be more or less likely to convert and ads should be created accordingly.

Types of Remarketing

Standard Display

Standard display remarketing serves display ads to customers who’ve visited the site based on the parameters set in the audience remarketing list. The ads can be created in the interface, but the templates do not offer as much control as creating a custom one.


  • Default audience is created when the code is installed and it is called ‘General Visitors’


Dynamic Product Ad Remarketing

Dynamic remarketing takes remarketing one step  further, letting ads show previous visitors ads that contain products and services they viewed on the site. This essentially brings them back to where they left off, looking at a product, so that the user finishes the purchase.

Unlike most standard display remarketing ads, google only allows the ads to be created from templates. The information on the product the user viewed is pulled from the data feed in the merchant center to include item attributes such as title, description, price, and image in the ad.


  • There is a custom code that the developer will need to install on the site for dynamic remarketing:
  • Conversion ID can be found in the account > tools > conversion. Select the conversion.
  • Default Dynamic Remarketing Ad Audiences are Product Viewers, Cart Abandoners, Past Buyers, and All Visitors.
  • To create a dynamic remarketing campaign
    • Creae the ad group, then
    • Go to +Ad > Image Gallery > Dynamic Ads > Dynamic Product Ads


Remarketing Lists For Search Ads (RLSA)

RLSA is just what it sounds like, search ads that utilize remarketing lists. There are two ways that you can approach this.

  1. By layering remarketing into your current campaigns, which then you can place a bid modifier for people in the remarketing lists.
  2. Creating a separate RLSA campaign that include all top performing keywords.

Both strategies are highly efficient, however doing them both does pose the risks of cannibalizing traffic from each and slowing the data accumulation.


Additional Information: