Google AdWords gets a bad rap. “It’s too complicated.” “It doesn’t work.” But the fact of the matter is, you need AdWords retargeting.
Only a measly 2% of shoppers convert on their first visit. That means 98% of your traffic is bouncing from your site without giving you a dime.
Retargeting is a necessary evil in today’s digital landscape. If people don’t convert on their first visit, it means you need to create a second, third, and fourth visit. Rinse and repeat until you get what you’re after.
And AdWords retargeting is one of the most effective ways to do just that.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through all of the different retargeting options on AdWords and how to implement them today to generate more sales.
Here’s the ultimate AdWords retargeting guide to get your customers back to your site and increase your sales.
How To Set Up Your Tags With AdWords Retargeting
The first step in any good remarketing campaign is to get the boring setup work out of the way.
It’s tedious but necessary.
If you want to use AdWords for remarketing, you have to start by setting up the proper tags on your site.
This includes anything from the basic retargeting tag to mobile app analytics, Google Analytics, YouTube, and more.
These will obviously differ depending on your goals.
If you only plan on general remarketing to website visitors, all you’ve gotta do is set up the basic AdWords tag.
To get started with tag setup, head to the “Audience manager” under the “Shared Library” in AdWords:
From here, click “Audience sources” on the left-hand menu:
Here you can decide which tags you want to set up for your remarketing goals:
When you click to set up the AdWords tag, you can customize the data collected depending on your industry:
If you prefer to just collect standard data, select the first option.
Next, hit save to continue.
Now, you can copy and paste the retargeting script onto every page of your website (in between the <head></head> tags).
Once you’ve done this, you can double-check your work with the Google Tag Assistant.
Run the plugin on each page of your site to make sure that the tag is properly installed.
When finished, you’re ready to jump into the world of retargeting on AdWords.
Here are the top ways to use it.
Getting Specific With AdWords Retargeting
Retargeting website visitors on AdWords has never been easier.
On top of basic website retargeting, you can customize a few factors that give you detailed options.
For example, you can target by specific date ranges, list sizes, specific URL visits, and more.
To get started with website retargeting, first make sure that your tags are properly installed. (See the last section.)
Next, head back to the audiences section under your shared library:
From here, click the insanely large blue “+” button:
From the drop-down list, select “Website visitors:”
From here, AdWords gives you the default option of targeting all website visitors in the past 30 days:
But you can vastly customize these lists beyond simple website retargeting.
To pull up more options, click the drop-down list:
Here’s where you can start to get specific with it.
You can create retargeting campaigns based on specific sales or holiday periods by using the “Visitors of a page during specific dates” selection:
Running a limited-time sale?
Capture those interested users into a new remarketing list.
The website options also offer another powerful feature. You can target specific URL visits based on funnel stages.
For example, let’s say that you notice that most customers contact you from a features or pricing page.
That’s a good sign that visitors to those pages are toward the bottom of your funnel.
They are just about ready to convert.
Create a new retargeting list based on those page visits to capture a giant list of users who are just inches away from converting:
Select “Visitors of a page who also visited another page,” and you can add multiple URLs to target.
Meaning a user has to land on each of those before they’ll go on that retargeting list.
You can repeat this process for any URL on your site.
For example, you could create a new retargeting list based on blog visitors, who are most likely going to be inbound, organic visits.
These could be your top-of-the-funnel lists that you focus on generating a brand awareness and recognition rather than offering a sales-based ad.
Another option might be excluding people who have visited certain pages on your site:
For example, you could exclude visits to a thank you page from your remarketing lists, as you know they’ve already converted.
Pro tip: under membership duration, change the standard “30 days” period to at least 60 days, and in most cases, 90 days.
Why? Because some visitors won’t convert in a single month. Especially if you’re selling bigger ticket products and services.
If you limit your lists to 30 days, users might not convert, and your lists will then expire.
Extend the lifespan of your lists for more conversions.
Once you’ve created a website retargeting list, you’re ready to create ads for that audience and watch the conversions pile up!
Retargeting On YouTube And Mobile
One of the coolest AdWords retargeting features involves mobile application and YouTube video retargeting lists.
Basically, they let you target mobile app users on both Android and Apple’s iOS.
For YouTube videos, you can target a diverse range of actions based on your own YouTube channel engagement.
To start retargeting mobile app users, create a new retargeting list from the audience manager:
When creating an app user list, you have a few options for retargeting:
You can choose to target:
- All app users.
- Users who haven’t been recently active.
- Users who downloaded specific versions.
- Users who took specific actions.
If you decide to retarget users who haven’t been active recently, you can customize that field by setting the cutoff point.
For example, if they used the app ten days ago, you could add them to the retargeting list:
For YouTube video retargeting, you have a wider range of available options:
The YouTube retargeting options are some of the best around, rivaling platforms like Facebook and Twitter when it comes to specificity.
Similar to the website visitor retargeting, you can segment audiences with these options.
For example, by choosing the “Viewed certain videos” option, you can select videos on specific topics or products and create a new retargeting list with ads relating to those videos.
Meaning you can get ultra-specific in your offer as it relates to user behavior.
If you have videos on product X, create a retargeting list based on users who’ve watched that specific video.
Next, create ads featuring product X to close the deal.
If you want to use the retargeting features for YouTube and mobile apps, be sure to install those tags back in the audience manager:
Dynamic Retargeting Lists
Basic retargeting allows you to show ads to people who visited your site or interacted with your app or YouTube channel.
But Dynamic Lists take it a step further:
They let you show previous visitors ads that contain specific products and services they viewed on your site.
That means you can tailor specific messages and offers to your audience based on their actual interest. No more wasted ad spend hoping that your offer resonates.
You can use dynamic retargeting lists to help build leads, boost sales, and convert those visitors who keep abandoning their carts.
On top of that, AdWords does most of the work for you, using their predicting algorithm to determine which ad placements and styles are best for each audience type.
With the use of this ad type, they also generated 35% more traffic from the Google Display Network and an 88% lift in brand-related searches.
But they weren’t the only ones.
Netshoes found a 30-40% growth in revenue during the Christmas season using this ad format.
Unfortunately, these do require a bit more setup work.
You need to create a product or service feed with details on each item, including a unique ID, price, image, and more.
You can upload this content in the “Business data” section of your Shared Library. If you’re a retailer, you can upload a product feed to the Google Merchant Center.
Adding this information here would make this post about 10x longer (and 10x more boring than it already is). So check out Google’s instructions for a step-by-step tutorial.
These ads are difficult to set up, but the results are worth the effort.
Customer Match Retargeting (Lookalike Audience)
The Google AdWords customer match retargeting list is like a Facebook lookalike audience on steroids.
Not only can you produce a new list of users related to your current customers, but you can also create specific targeting to that existing list.
Meaning you can easily reach leads that have given you information, hitting them with ads at every touchpoint.
To get started with customer match, you can upload a list of customer information or simply copy and paste the data:
Using the template and formatting guidelines, you can upload a list of current customer information that AdWords will use to generate a matched audience.
That’s all it takes.
How To Create A New Ad For Your Remarketing Lists
Now that you have a handle on the top ways to retarget your customers, it’s time to put it all into practice.
To launch a live ad that brings back those visitors for a second chance at closing that big sale.
This is the easy part.
Head to the campaign section of your AdWords account and create a new campaign based on your objective:
Select your campaign type (for example, Display Network) and then select the objective you want to accomplish with your new retargeting list:
Next, scroll down to the “Audiences” section and choose your retargeting list.
Now simply create new ads based on each list and segmented offer and get them running!
Repeat the process for each retargeting list you’ve created. Then sit back and watch the conversions roll on in.
AdWords is not the most enjoyable platform on the internet.
It can be annoying and budget-draining and complex. Oh, and the metrics can be infuriating.
Display ads suck in most cases. But often, that’s because they’re used improperly.
Retargeting display ads are actually one of the best bets you’ve got when 98% of your site traffic won’t convert.
AdWords offers diverse website retargeting, allowing you to target specific URLs with advanced customization.
Meaning you can easily segment audiences by funnel stages and landing page visits.
You can quickly retarget mobile app downloaders and YouTube video engagements. You can even create dynamic audiences of people who’ve interacted with specific products on your site. Or have given you their email address and customer information in the past.
So yes. Generic display ads do suck.
But retargeted ads, customized and tailored based on previous visitor awareness? You can’t afford not to be running them.