A study conducted by Nielsen showed that the majority of consumers need an average of 6 visits before making a purchase. Which is why is very important to have a strong Google Ads retargeting strategy in your marketing mix.
If people don’t convert on their first visit, retargeting enables your business to drive prospective customers back to your site to persuade them to do so on their second, third, fourth, etc.
Rinse and repeat until you get what you’re after. And Google Ads retargeting is the most effective ways to do just that.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through all of the different retargeting options on Google Ads and how to implement them today to generate more sales.
The sad fact of running an eCommerce business is that 98% of the people who visit your website walk right back out the front door without giving you a dime. It’s exhausting. It’s frustrating. And it’s inevitable.
You’ve paid in time, energy, and resources to get those people to your website, and there’s nothing more frustrating than glancing at your analytics dashboard and seeing your bounce rates.
Luckily, there’s a strategy to recapture some of that 98%. Retargeting.
The experience of the world’s largest online retailer of bags and accessories proves it:
We use paid search to draw in as many customers as we can, and it’s a big part of our marketing budget.
But remarketing helps us make the most of that search spend and recapture more benefit from it.”
Larry Sweeney, search engine marketing manager at eBags
Here’s the ultimate Google Ads retargeting guide to get your customers back to your site and increase your sales.
How To Set Up Google Ads 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.
And the first step is tagging.
This includes anything from the basic retargeting tag to mobile app analytics, Google Analytics, YouTube, and more. These will obviously differ depending on your business’ goals and the retargeting campaigns you want to run.
If you only plan on general remarketing to website visitors, all you’ll need to set up is the basic Google Ads tag.
Here’s a step by step walkthrough to getting started with Google Ads retargeting:
Click on the tool icon in the Google Ads navigation bar.
Then click on “Audience manager” under “Shared Library”
Click “Audience sources” on the left-hand menu:
Here you can decide which tags you want to set up for your remarketing goals:
Click on “Set up Tag” under “Google Ads Tag”:
When you click to set up the Google Ads tag, you can customize the data collected depending on your industry. If you prefer to just collect standard data, select the first option.
Hit “Save” to continue.
Choose how you want to install the tag:
If you have a web developer in-house, you can either email them the tag for them to add to your website, or ask them to use Google Tag Manager (if you’re already tracking other campaigns or using Google Analytics).
Or, do it yourself (like a badass).
Copy and paste the Google Ads retargeting script onto every page of your website (in between the <head></head> tags):
Once you’ve done this, be sure to double-check your tag is working with Google Tag Assistant:
Run the plugin on each page of your site to make sure that the tag is properly installed.
Once your tags are set up, you’re ready to jump into the exciting world of retargeting on Google Ads.
Here are the top ways you can use it to drive more customers.
Do you want to learn how to create Facebook and Google ad campaigns targeting warm audiences that give you the highest ROI and don’t require a huge ad spend?
Then click on the image below and request your FREE recording of our most requested webinar Advanced Retargeting Strategies For Facebook And Google Ads
In this master class, our Facebook Ads Specialist Paul Fairbrother will run through the warm audiences that you must be using to be successful in 2019. We’ll also cover the best converting retargeting strategies including Evergreen campaigns which allow you to run your retargeting on autopilot.
We’ll then turn our attention to Google, where our Google Ads Specialist Bruno Morris will cover how to set up your Google Ads retargeting for maximum ROI.
What are you waiting for? Discover AdEspresso experts secrets in this exclusive one-hour training! It’s free.
And now, let’s dive into The Ultimate AdWords Retargeting Guide
Google Ads Retargeting your Website Visitors
Retargeting website visitors with Google Ads has never been easier.
On top of basic website retargeting (just showing your ad to everybody who visited your website), you can take it up a notch.
For example, you can target by specific date ranges, list sizes, specific URL visits, and more.
Before we go any further, we need to make 100% sure that your tags are properly installed. (See the last section.)
Okay, we can get started.
Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough to getting specific with your Google Ads retargeting campaigns:
Head back to the audiences section under shared library:
From here click the oh-so-clickable big blue “+” button:
From the dropdown list, select “Website visitors”:
Name your audience. Alright, you’re on a roll.
Google automatically gives you the default option to add all visitors to your audience. But you can vastly customize these lists beyond simple website retargeting.
Click the “List Members” dropdown:
Okay, this is where we pause.
What kind of retargeting campaign are you looking to create?
Let’s get specific with it.
Here’s how to set up a couple high-impact retargeting audiences and campaigns:
Google Ad Retargeting campaign based on visitors over a specific period
Let’s say you ran a 4th of July promotion, and want to re-engage with the people who visited the promotion page while the promotion was up and running.
Use the “Visitors of a page during specific dates” selection:
Google Ad Retargeting campaign based on visitors within a stage of your sales funnel
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.
Create a new retargeting list based on those page visits to capture a giant list of users who are just inches away from converting (but haven’t).
Select “Visitors of a page who also visited another page,” and you can add multiple URLs to target:
This means your website visitor has to land on each of these pages before they’re added to your retargeting audience.
You can repeat this process for any URL on your site.
Google Ad Retargeting campaign based on blog visit
These are most likely going to be inbound, organic visitors.
These people should go into your top-of-the-funnel retargeting list – a list you’ll likely use to increase brand awareness and name recognition, rather than anything super salesy.
Google Ad Retargeting campaign which excludes people who have visited a certain page
This is probably the most powerful retargeting campaign there is – targeting people who visited your checkout page (for instance), but not your thank-you page. So they were 95% of the way there but bailed at the last second.
These people are hot, and just need a little retargeting push.
Use the “Visitors of a page who did not visit another page,” option:
Top Google Ads retargeting tip:
Under membership duration, change the standard “30 days” period to at least 60 days, and in most cases, 90 days.
Some visitors, especially if you’re selling bigger ticket products and services, won’t convert in a single month.
If you limit your lists to 30 days, users might not convert, and your lists will expire.
Extend the lifespan of your lists for more conversions.
Okay, you’re good to go with the creating lists for the main Google Ads retargeting campaigns.
You’re ready to create ads for those lists, and watch the conversions pile up!
Google Ads Retargeting your Mobile App and YouTube Channel
One of the coolest Google Ads retargeting features involves your mobile app and YouTube channel.
To do this, you’ll have to set up App analytics and Youtube tagging (the process is similar to the website tracing process we went through above):
This section will give you a walkthrough of how to set up retargeting audiences for both your mobile app users and YouTube channel viewers and members.
Google Ad Retargeting campaign focused on your mobile app users
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:
A cool way to run this campaign is to retarget app users who haven’t been active recently. You can customize that field by setting the cutoff point.
For example, create a retargeting audience of people who haven’t used your app in the past three weeks:
Google Ad Retargeting campaign focused on your YouTube channel
The first step (you might be seeing a pattern here) is to select “YouTube Users” from the Audience lists dropdown:
Link your YouTube channel, and you’re good to get rolling:
Be sure to allow Google Ads access:
You’ll also have to link from the YouTube side as well, by the way. Just go to the “other Settings” under Settings in YouTube Studio and open “Advanced Settings.”
Then head down to “Adwords account linking,” and follow their quick walkthrough:
Once you’re set up, you have a wide range of available options for people you can retarget from YouTube:
YouTube’s 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.
This means you can get ultra-specific in your offer as it relates to user behavior.
For instance, let’s say you’ve created videos on one of your products.
- Create a retargeting list based on users who’ve watched that specific video.
- Create retargeting ads featuring that product and offering a limited-time discount on it.
- Close. Make money. Win.
Google Ads Retargeting with Dynamic Ads
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, among other possibilities, let you show ads to people who viewed a specific product on your site.
That means you can tailor specific messages and offers to your audience based on their actual interests. No more wasted ad budget-making assumptions about what people want based on sales funnel stages.
Dynamic retargeting lists help your business generate leads, boost sales, and convert those visitors who abandon their shopping carts.
On top of that, Google Ads does most of the work for you, using an algorithm to determine which ad placements and styles are best for each audience type based on your objectives (ROAS)
In Google’s words:
Target ROAS lets you bid based on a target return on ad spend (ROAS). This Google Ads Smart Bidding strategy helps you get more conversion value or revenue at the target return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) you set. Your bids are automatically optimized at auction-time, allowing you to tailor bids for each auction.”
EBags, a leading retailer for bags and fashion accessories, implemented dynamic retargeting ads and saw a 20% increase in ad clickthroughs.
Essentially, when I add a product to my eBags eCommerce shopping cart (like this):
EBags would retarget me with display advertisements which showed the exact product I added to the cart.
With the use of this ad type, they drove an overall revenue increase of 10-15% (not bad when you sell more than a million bags a year).
But they aren’t the only ones.
Unfortunately, dynamic retargeting does require a bit more setup work.
- You need to create a product or service feed with details on each product you want to retarget, including a unique ID, price, image, and more.
- You need to tag each page of your website with the custom parameters tag (which adds the ID of your product to their profile)
- You’ll need to create responsive ads which change based on the product (you don’t want to create as many unique ads as you have products, after all).
Adding a step-by-step guide to creating a dynamic ad campaign to this resource would make it about 10x longer (and 10x more boring) than it already is.
Instead (after you finish this post), check out Google’s instructions for a step-by-step tutorial.
Dynamic Google retargeting ads are difficult to set up, but the results are well worth the effort.
Google Ads Retargeting with Customer Match (Lookalike Audience)
If you’re familiar with Facebook’s lookalike audience targeting, you’ll love Google’s customer match retargeting.
It’s like Facebook lookalike audience on steroids.
Unfortunately, Google has some requirements before you’ll be able to use Customer Matching:
- A good history of policy compliance.
- A good payment history.
- At least 90 days history in Google Ads.
- More than USD 50,000 total lifetime spend. For advertisers whose accounts are managed in currencies other than USD, your spend amount will be converted to USD using the average monthly conversion rate for that currency.
Once you get access though (you’ll have to request it of your Google account manager), you’ll never go back.
Not only does customer matching enable you to produce a new list of users similar to your current customers (like Facebook’s lookalike audiences), but it also enables you to 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 along your sales funnel.
To get started with customer match, 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 Google Ads will use to generate a matched audience.
That’s all it takes.
How To Create A New Ad For Your Google Ad Retargeting Campaign
Okay, now the fun part.
It’s time to put all of this into practice.
Let’s launch a live ad that brings back the 98%. Let’s give our website visitors a second chance to buy our awesome product or convert on our amazing service.
This is the easy part.
Let’s walk you through it.
Head to the campaign section of your Google Ads account and create a new campaign:
Select your campaign’s goal:
Select your campaign type (for example, Display Network):
Click Continue and, on the next page, scroll down to choose your campaign budget:
Ignore the rest of this page and scroll down to the “Audiences” section. Choose your retargeting audience:
Create new ads based on each list and segmented offer and get them running!
Sit back and watch the conversions roll on in.
And If you Need More Help…
If you’re a bit stuck on the “create my ad” stage of this process, we have you covered.
- Click here to check out AdEspresso’s Guide to Google Dynamic Search Ads
- Click here for AdEspresso’s Guide to Google Display Ads
- Click here for AdEspresso’s Guide to YouTube Ads
And don’t forget to request your exclusive FREE recording of our most requested webinar Advanced Retargeting Strategies For Facebook And Google Ads
Google Ads may not be the most enjoyable platform on the internet.
It can be annoying. It can be budget-draining and complex. Oh, and the metrics and analytics can be infuriating.
And, to be honest, generic display ads kind of suck…
But, when 98% of your site traffic isn’t converting, retargeting ads are your best bet.
Google Ads offers diverse website retargeting, allowing you to target specific URLs with advanced customization.
That means 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 retargeting ads, customized and tailored based on previous visitor awareness?
You can’t afford not to be running them.
Retargeting is important feature provided by adwords. You have described it very well how to set up and target it. Thanks for sharing.
Digital Santhosh says
I’m always searching for new tactics to retarget my website visitors. And your remarketing guide has proven very valuable for me. Particularly, I love the dynamic retargeting list where in which I have an opportunity to show a bunch of relevant valuable products for my retargeted visitors.
Ethan Gibson says
This is a gold mine of information for Google Ads Retargeting. Your article shows it can really be done just by strategizing and communicating. I needed to read this today! Thank you.