Just adding on a remarketing campaign in it’s most basic static form can boost conversions and increase your display ROI by as much as 100%.
But simply showing the same ad to all of your visitors, no matter what product page they have seen, whether they have purchased or not, won’t give you the best remarketing has to offer.
If you do that, you will be leaving clicks, conversions, and money on the table.
By using the strategies in this post, you will learn how to show more relevant ads to every unique website visitor, and make the absolute most of your Google ads remarketing campaigns.
Let’s jump right in.
What Are Google Remarketing Ads?
Google remarketing ads are ads that Google shows across its network of properties and AdSense sites, to people who have visited your website already.
For example, I have visited the Tableau website before.
And now I often see their ads when I visit sites that are part of the Google Display Network.
In this case, it popped up while I was reading a Lifehacker Two Cents article.
Google is only able to do this if you have installed a remarketing tag, which you can read more about in our essential guide to Google Ads remarketing.
If you already have enabled audience lists through Google Analytics, or set up a remarketing tag with tag manager, you can continue straight on to the tactics.
Use Dynamic Remarketing Ads
Have an endless product line that you want to promote effectively with remarketing?
Use dynamic remarketing ads.
With dynamic remarketing ads, Google takes the analysis, strategy, and time-consuming implementation out of the picture.
Instead of you working hard to set up up to a hundred different audiences and ad groups, you can use on-page code to help Google identify different product pages and build an audience.
Sierra Trading saw a 400% increase in conversions from remarketing by switching from static to dynamic remarketing ads. Netshoes saw a 30-40% increase in revenue during the vital holiday season.
What Is Different About Dynamic Remarketing Ads?
A standard remarketing campaign on the Google Display Network works like Tableau ad in the example above.
All visitors to your websites are given a cookie and added to an audience inside the Google Ads database.
Whenever a user from that audience visits a page that shows Google Adsense ads, your advertisements can bid for a position. If your bid is high enough, and the user hasn’t seen your ad too many times, your ad will show on that page.
Dynamic Remarketing Ads are different. They build remarketing audiences based on individual product pages, not the whole website or a select few pages.
For example, if Zappos.com used them, visiting a product page like the Nike Air Max Infuriate III Low page would get you tagged with an advertising cookie.
And the next part is critical. These product page based audiences aren’t shown the same ad at all.
They always show an ad related to the product itself. In this case, if you went to a separate page, you might see an ad that is very similar to this:
The ad format would be a bit different, and the ad would probably have a stronger call to action perhaps with a discount, but this is the gist of how dynamic remarketing ads work.
How to Set Them Up
The Dynamic Remarketing ads work by comparing the tag data to a product feed and creating remarketing audiences based on the products any user has viewed or interacted with.
So the first thing you have to do is set up a product feed. (If you use the Merchant Center, or you already run a Google Shopping Campaign, you can skip thisGoogle step.)
If you don’t have an eCommerce element to your site, and you don’t use the Merchant Center, you can still set up a service feed inside of Google ads.
The most straightforward product or service feed only includes an ID, a product description, the product/service URL, and a price.
You can set them up in CSV files, and Google has multiple templates available depending on your industry.
Then you need to upload it from within the Google Ads Dashboard in the “Business Data” section.
After uploading the feed, you will need to install the Google Site Tag with product data in custom parameters.
You can read more about how to implement it for specific verticals in Google’s official guide.
By just completing those two steps, you will be able to create a dynamic remarketing campaign.
Now create a new Display Campaign.
Then you need to set a remarketing audience.
You can, for example, use the Google Ads optimized list in the audiences.
Finally, you select the product feed that you created earlier.
Now all you have to do is create your individual ads, create the campaign, and take it live.
Prevent Ad Fatigue by Splitting Up Audience Lists by Duration
Ad fatigue is a fundamental concept.
A person can only see the same ad so many times before getting tired of it. If you bombard the same remarketing audience with the same ad with the same creative day in and day out, they might even get a negative impression of your business.
And the research backs up the common sense. Ad fatigue can lower CTR by as much as 74.4%, and increase CPA by up to 335% as a result.
Instead of just showing every visitor the same ad over and over, split audience lists by duration to show different creative. By splitting up audiences over time, you can do a lot of creative things with your remarketing campaigns.
You can tell a story over time, with a different ad in week 1, week 2, and week 3 of the campaign.
You can give your audience a break and time to make a decision for a week, before hitting them with a massive final offer.
You can test different special offers and combo packages. Week 1 you can do 10% off, week 2 you can try offering a free service package or throwing other products in for a bundle.
And obviously, you don’t have to limit yourself to weeks either. (Although you need to have a very high traffic volume to have shorter membership durations than that.)
And this is very simple to implement.
If you run a static marketing campaign, all you need to do is create duplicate audiences with different membership durations.
For example, you could create a 14, 28, and a 42-day audience.
Then you need to create three different ad groups inside the remarketing campaign and select the appropriate audience.
Finally, on the 28-day audience campaign, you need to exclude the 14-day audience. (As this audience will otherwise automatically include members from both.)
If you don’t exclude the audiences with shorter membership durations, the 28-day ad group will show ads to visitors who haven’t been back to your site in 1-14 days, as well as 15-28 days.
Then repeat the process for the 42-day ad group, and you have a sequential remarketing campaign set up, ready to fill with ads.
Use Unique Ads and Landing Pages Relevant to Each Audience
Showing a relevant ad and landing page to the right people is the reason why SKAGs kill it in Google search. In one case, implementing SKAGs lead to a 50% decrease in CPA and a 22% increase in CTR.
And it’s no less relevant for remarketing campaigns. This functionality is the “secret” behind the success of Dynamic Remarketing Ads.
But if you don’t have an extensive catalog, or you don’t have the developer skills or budget to experiment with custom tags, you might wish there was a simpler way to provide a tailored remarketing experience.
You can create separate remarketing audiences based on which pages they have visited.
Instead of an ad offering 40% all products, you can offer a specific discount for the product the user was interested in, that links straight to a landing page with the coupon info already filled out.
Although given the scale at which Booking.com does this, they probably do it with product feeds or a custom machine learning solution, they are the perfect example.
Not only do they show ads relevant to the location you searched for on their site, they even feature hotels whose page you already have visited in the ad.
Creating these audiences is very simple.
Simple head to the “Audience Manager” inside the dashboard and create a new audience.
Set the name for the relevant product, and type in a unique section of the product’s URL.
For example, your product pages might be structured like this “product-#-page,” in which case the audience for product #1 would look like this.
Create an ad group in your remarketing campaign with only this audience, and create relevant ads relating only to that product/service.
Then all you need to do is repeat this process for your most important products, and that’s it.
No feeds, no tag custom parameters, no testing required. It’s simple, but the manual nature means that for bigger sites, you would need to work with dynamic remarketing ads.
Vet Your Placements to Remove Low-Quality or Low Relevance Sites
Some websites might have high traffic volumes with ad placements that cause users to click even if they weren’t too interested in the ad itself. Some sites have a higher quality audience or an audience that is more similar to your ideal customers.
So where your remarketing ads get shown can have a big impact on the performance of the ad.
That’s why you should routinely check your placements to see if there are any obvious low performers and remove them from circulation accordingly.
Go to the campaign overview for your remarketing campaign, and click through to the “Placements” screen.
Since your display campaign is audience-based, you won’t see any placements. Instead, click the “where ads showed” link at the top of the table.
Then you want to have the sites descend by clicks or cost, to see if you can find any obvious dead weight placements.
In this example, “anothersite.com” is performing quite poorly with a low CTR and the worst conversion rate of any site with a logged conversion.
Because of the drastic difference in performance, it could be a good idea to exclude that even with such a small sample size.
To exclude it, click the “exclusions link, and add it as a placement exclusion.
As you can see, it really is as simple as typing in and adding the URL. (As long as Google recognizes it as a Google AdSense placement, as it will unless the URL has already been removed from the program.)
If you have a complex campaign with a lot of ad groups, you should set up a placement exclusion list and use it instead.
In many ways, these placement exclusions are like the negative keywords of the remarketing world. If you remain vigilant, check where your ads showed and update the list over time, that’s when you see the real benefits in terms of performance.
So instead of just looking at it after the first few hours or days after the campaign is set up, make it a weekly or bi-weekly work ritual.
It can also be fun to see a list of high-profile sites where your ad has appeared.
When you set them up right, your remarketing campaigns should start to work more like your search campaigns.
They show the right ad, at the right time and it leads to the landing page for the product that the user was originally interested in.
It’s not just a blind shot in the dark at anyone who has ever visited your site begging them to come back.
This type of targeted remarketing takes work.
But if you split up your audiences, use unique landing pages at the ad group and audience level, or just cut out the manual labor and use Dynamic Remarketing Ads, you will be on your way to creating a perfect Google remarketing campaign for your business.