Koozai > Blog > Google AdWords Remarketing Tips and Tactics

Google AdWords Remarketing Tips and Tactics

| 10 minutes to read

AdWords Remarketing TacticsAdWords Remarketing is now even more useful and targeted than ever before. This post covers some useful remarketing tactics that are now available, and briefly touches on some tips for optimising your campaigns.

What is Remarketing?

Remarketing places cookies on the browser of someone who comes to your website. You can then create lists of certain kinds of users based on criteria you select, and target them with unique ads featuring your product on other websites they visit.

You can read more about what remarketing is here.

AdWords Remarketing now only requires that you add a small snippet to your Google Analytics code, which means that you can now create remarketing lists simply and easily using most of the criteria in Google Analytics. This creates some fantastic opportunities for new tactics which weren’t possible with the old method of setting up remarketing.

Why you should be using Remarketing

Remarketing is a brilliant online marketing element which can be used in so many situations. It achieves a level of personalisation and relevancy which can’t be achieved with many other online advertising formats. If used properly it can be very successful for both branding and awareness, as well as direct response. It is not intrusive for visitors because carefully selected frequency capping can be used so a visitor will never see your ad more than once a week or however often you chose.

Users who have been targeted with remarketing are 70% more likely to purchase than those who have not, so if the focus of your strategy is to increase conversions, Remarketing is a great way to achieve this.

Tactics for Remarketing:


If your visitor is purchasing a lower ticket item, you can use this opportunity to upsell them with a higher ticket item via remarketing.

For example, if your visitor bought an iPhone case, you could target them using remarketing with ads for iPhone speakers. You’ve got a much better chance of getting a sale in this instance because the consumer has already purchased through you and already has trust in your service.

This isn’t the easiest tactic to use with AdWords remarketing because you would need to have individual product specific Thank You pages which the user would be taken to at the end of the purchase. This would also cause difficulty when a visitor purchased more than one item at once.

You may be able to use this tactic with other Remarketing platforms such as:

  • Google AdWords
  • Criteo
  • Acquisio
  • AOL
  • Chango
  • Adroll
  • DoubleClick
  • Simpli.fi
  • Magnetic
  • Yahoo
  • Retargeter
  • Bizo

Make sure you don’t remarket to people who have only just purchased though; wait a week or so to ensure they have already received their purchase as this will give them enough time to build trust in your business and services.

Cross Selling

Like upselling, this tactic is great if you are using another Remarketing platform other than AdWords, or if you have specific product landing pages.

This is about suggesting similar products that match or are suited to the product the user has chosen to purchase. For example, if you are a fashion retailer and a visitor purchases shoes, you could remarket them with the matching bag.

Seasonal Remarketing

If your product or service is seasonal, Remarketing is a fantastic tool to capture your audience again at the same time the next year.

For this, you should set up a list to capture anyone who purchased around the particular time of year, and then remarket to them at the same time next year or on similar occasions. When you create your list in AdWords make sure your member duration is at least 365 days, if not a bit longer.

This would work well for any products that are bought as gifts on a seasonal basis, for example when flowers are ordered around Valentine’s day at a florist.

Think about your consumer’s life cycle and the product cycle. For example if you sell insurance policies you can target those who purchased insurance policies a year ago to encourage them to renew or choose another policy through you.

Email Marketing

Ever wish there was a nice easy way to continue communication with your email newsletter audience (without irritating them with more emails)? Remarketing is the answer.

If you use HTML newsletters you can add your Google Analytics code to them, and then set up a list to remarket to anyone who views your newsletter. It would be classed as a page view, so if you put the code on your newsletter remember to set up a new profile within your GA account so your standard page views aren’t inflated every time you send an email with the code on.

This is great because you can make your ads specific to the content of that newsletter which will really reinforce your marketing message.

Sale Time Remarketing

If you create a list of people who have viewed products when they were full price, but not converted, you can target them using remarketing ads which let them know that those products are now in your seasonal sale. This is particularly good at Christmas time if people have been browsing full price items prior to Christmas and then those products go into a January sale.

Abandoned Checkout Process Remarketing

If a user has placed items in their shopping cart, and then abandoned it, it is clear that they were likely to be much closer to completing a purchase than someone who hasn’t placed items in their shopping cart. Create a list of anyone who has viewed the shopping cart page, but that did not visit the completed conversion page. You can now remarket to anyone who was particularly close to completing a conversion. In particular you might think about why they abandoned their cart and offer them an incentive to come back. For example if they might have abandoned because of the delivery charge consider giving them a code for free delivery, or a small discount off their total spend.

Facebook Page

If you have a customised Facebook page, you can drop your UA Code (Google Analytics code) onto the page and track views of your Facebook page within Google Analytics. You should then set up a list to target people who have viewed this page via remarketing. Remember to set up a separate profile for this, so that standard page views of your site aren’t inflated.

This is very handy because often those who are fans on your Facebook page might need a slightly different marketing message than those who already visit your site. For example if you are a car manufacturer and someone is a fan of your brand on Facebook, it doesn’t necessarily mean they own one of your cars. The objective behind the Facebook page may be more about branding and awareness. Based on this you could remarket to them about your Twitter or Google Plus page. This would be a very cost effective way to increase followers across your social networks.

YouTube Remarketing

YouTube reaches 89% of the online population and now you can remarket to the part of this population which are already watching and engaging with your YouTube content. If your YouTube and AdWords accounts are already linked, remarketing lists will be created for you automatically by Google.

YouTube allows you to create lists to remarket to based on the user’s interaction with your content, as well as views of it. For example you could remarket to people who have shared your videos and promote your new video content to them. You know that these are active engagers and sharers of your content, so it is well worth making them aware of your new content as they may share that too.

You can target your YouTube visitors based on the following:

  • Liked your video / channel
  • Disliked your video / channel
  • Commented on your video / channel
  • Shared your video / channel
  • Subscribed to your channel
  • Unsubscribed to your channel

You can learn about implementing YouTube remarketing here.

Location Remarketing

If your business has lots of physical locations across the country, you may find that some of them are less busy at certain times of year. You can use remarketing to target people who have visited your site and live in that location to tempt them into your physical store. You might include an offer for 10% if they visit that particular store on a particular day.

You might also be able to offer free delivery to certain areas of the country. Targeting your site’s visitors in these areas with remarketing can entice them back to the site for the free delivery without wasting ad resources on other consumers who aren’t relevant to the offer.

You can do this within AdWords by selecting ‘location’ as a criteria for one of your lists and specifying the location you wish to target.

Language Remarketing

If you are a global business, you might also want to target users by the language they speak. For example if you offer downloadable resources and have various language versions of these, you could remarket the specific language versions to visitors who speak those languages.

Turn New Visitors into Returning

If new visitors have come to your site and spent over a certain amount of time on site which indicates engagement, you might want to retarget them to get them back and engaging with similar content.

For example if you have a new visitor to your blog who visits your social media category, you might want to remarket to them with similar content and entice them back to the site.

Device Remarketing

You can remarket based on the device the user visited your site on. This is great if you combine it with other data, for example if the mobile phone case retailer remarkets to anyone who viewed the iPhone cases and visited via an iPhone device, you can be really specific with your ads which is even more likely to result in a conversion.

Even if your products don’t relate to the user’s device, you can still use a call to action which relates to their device, for example ‘Read our mobile compatible blog on your iPhone now!’.

Tips for setting up and structuring AdWords Remarketing:

  • Make sure you pick the right membership duration when you initially set up your lists, as this cannot be changed at a later stage
  • Make sure you have updated your website’s Privacy Policy to let users know about the cookies that will be added to their browser
  • Make sure you use frequency capping so your ads don’t annoy your visitors (cap impressions at a daily or weekly limit – hint: 3 times per day is too high!)
  • Include your list criteria in your list names as these won’t be directly visible in AdWords and you need to know what each list is!
  • Include your membership duration in your list names as this won’t be visible in AdWords
  • Create each remarketing tactic in its own ad group
  • Use a range of text, images and video ads

Check your settings to see what devices your remarketing will be used on (don’t choose mobile if your site or landing page doesn’t render well on mobile devices)

Optimising your Remarketing Campaigns:

These are some very top level ideas for optimising your remarketing campaigns:

View the placements report on a regular basis to make sure your ads are only being shown on places you approve of. If any sites are not appropriate then add them as negative placements.

Monitor lost impression share due to rank. You can select this as a column in the main AdWords table. If you are losing impression share due to rank you should consider increasing your bids.

Split test your ads and look at which ones perform best in terms of different calls to action and different ad formats.

Try split testing your destination URLs. Do not base this on CTR as the destination URL will not be viewed on the ad and so won’t affect CTR. This should be based on conversions or time on site or another engagement metric.

Review your reach and frequency data so that  you can see when the best CTR is achieved. For example if people view your ads more than 8 times a day it is likely that the CTR will be lower than if someone views them three times a week. Based on this data you can tweak your frequency capping settings.

If you have any more ideas on ways to use remarketing or any tips for structuring campaigns and optimising them please leave your comments below.

Image Credit: Dictionary Series – Marketing: Advertising from Bigstock


  1. […] Koozai  states that for online shopping sites, remarketing is a best utilized strategy. When an interested buyer’s criteria and choice is listed on their website cookie, they target the prospective buyer with unique ads featuring their products. Stats reveal that with this particular remarketing strategy that 70% are more likely to purchase products. ZeroCompany opines that dynamic remarketing leads to 200% -500% conversion rates. […]

  2. […] Remarketed visitors are 70% more likely to convert if the ads are displayed at the right moment, and if they aren’t served too often. But this is the ideal case, because in practice a visitor may return to your website several times without converting, or may find the remarketing ads annoying, especially if they’re displayed five times or more. […]

  3. […] que les internautes ciblés par le remarketing ont 70% plus de chances d’effectuer une conversion chez vous, c’est-à-dire de se procurer un produit ou un service que vous […]

  4. […] these ads are displayed at the right moment, remarketed visitors are 70% more likely to convert. Still, to get the most of your retargeting campaigns, you should always segment your audience, and […]

  5. Sahar Attari avatar
    Sahar Attari

    What do you exactly mean by “customised Facebook page”? Is that the same thing as tabs?

  6. nathale avatar


    I got really excited with the idea of adding the remarketing tag to the email html. I set up the display in Analytics, changed de code snippet as oriented by an Analytics article and created a public list in Analytics. Then I added the code to the email, send it, and opened it. But nothing happened. Did I do something wrong?

    Please help!

  7. michael jamin avatar

    This is the remarketing article I’ve long been looking for! Thank you!! However, I don’t understand what you mean by setting up a “spate profile” for Facebook remarketing. Can you expand on what this means and how to actually do it? Thank you. :)

    1. Tara West avatar

      Thanks Michael, that’s actually a typo and should say ‘separate profile’. Thanks, Tara

  8. The Complete Guide to AdWords Remarketing Best Practices

    […] Your objectives for the project will help determine which lists you’ll create, but you might find some of the examples listed here helpful. […]

  9. […] As is the case with any new AdWords feature, you can only optimize its potential if you use it well; same is the case with RLSA, where you need to develop a remarketing strategy with the best tactics to achieve results. […]

  10. Andy Roberts avatar

    Hi Tara

    Excellent summary, we’ve done some of this clients but not a lot and this is great info and I appreciate you putting it up. I guess like with a lot of other Adwords and analytics metrics, monitoring and tweaking is key

    cheers, andy

  11. joan avatar

    Great article :) I wonder if you can help me. We have ecommerce and would like to remarket our products. I always see on other websites and blogs, the products from a website I’ve visited previously.

    Which provider is most suitable for this in UK.


    1. Tara West avatar

      Hi Joan, thanks for your comment. Unfortunately AdWords doesn’t allow you to re-market in terms of dynamically pulling in the products that a user viewed to include them in your ads. The only thing you could do via AdWords is to create a list for users who viewed a specific product page and then create your ad to be relevant to that product. I don’t personally have experience of Remarketing on any other platform except AdWords so unfortunately I can’t recommend any other platforms specifically. You could try any of the ones which are listed in my post above. Hope this helps!

  12. Pradeep Kumar avatar
    Pradeep Kumar

    Nice Article. It will help for those who want to learn re-marketing in google adwords. Thanks for update.

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