Google Remarketing to Past Visitors

In this page, we will cover:

  • Generating the remarketing code
  • Creating remarketing audiences in Google Ads Creating custom remarketing combinations via rules Setting up a remarketing campaign Setting remarketing bids
  • Setting frequency caps to limit how often ads show
  • Increasing traffic to your remarketing campaign
  • Remarketing to YouTube viewers

Introduction

Have you noticed ads that seem to just know what you want to buy, following you around the Web? I recently searched for “tennis shoes,” visiting various websites but did not buy from any of them. Over the next few days, wherever I went on the Internet, be it my favorite news website or a blog I regularly read, I kept seeing ads for tennis shoes that I recently researched. This is called remarketing and is also referred to as retargeting in the world of online marketing.

Remarketing allows you to reconnect with users who previously visited your website as they go on to browse the Display network, setting you up for a second chance to convert. Remarketing can be an extremely powerful method of reminding your potential customers of your brand or reconnecting with them as they click on your ads but navigate away from your website without performing the desired action. This can help you look like a big brand, even if you are on a small budget.

If you are advertising with Google, you can set up remarketing through your Google Google Ads campaigns. To get started, you’ll need to place some code on your website, define your audiences or who you’d like to target, and create a separate campaign for remarketing.

Generating the remarketing code

The first step of setting up remarketing is adding the remarketing code to your website. You’ll need to access this code in your Google Ads account, where it might be pre-populated already for you. If not, you can easily set it up.

You can also create remarketing lists through Google Analytics by editing your Analytics tracking code. For additional details about setting up remarketing lists through Google Analytics, see the article at https://support.google.com/analytics/ answer/2611270?hl=en&ref_topic=2611283.

Getting ready

You’ll need to have an Google Ads account to use Google’s remarketing. You’ll also need to add the code to your website, so make sure you have access to the website’s code or get in touch with your webmaster, if someone else edits your website for you.

How to do it…

To generate the remarketing code in your Google Ads account, follow these steps:

  • Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  • Click on the Shared library link at the bottom-left corner of your campaign management page.
  • Click to View the shared settings for Audiences.

Click on the Set up remarketing prompt to set up remarketing.

  • Next, Google Ads will show you the code that you’ll need to add to every page of your website, right before the </body> tag. You can copy and save this code for later, or send it to your webmaster. This is your Main list that Google Ads automatically generates for you.

5. Do not use the code from the example below. Your remarketing code is unique to your Google Ads account.

6.   Click on Continue to create specific audiences you’d like to reach with your ads.

How it works…

Google Ads automatically pre-populates a Main remarketing list that you can access in your shared library. Once you add this single tag to your entire website, you’ll be able to create as many lists as you want based on sections of your site that people visit.

There’s more…

If you don’t see a Main list, you can create one by following these steps:

  • Click on the Shared library link at the bottom left of your campaign management page.
  • Click to View the shared settings for Audiences.
  • Choose + New audience and select Remarketing list.
  • Choose the second option, Define a list of site visitors by placing a new tag on your site.
  • Click the +New tag button.
  • Name your new list Main list and choose your membership duration. Membership duration refers to the number of days a cookie stays on your remarketing list with the maximum being 540 days. You can leave the default 30 days and also enter an optional list description, such as All visitors.
  • Click on Save and you’ll be taken to the screen where you can see your audiences and access their tags. Click on the Main list [Tag] to copy and paste the remarketing code snippet at the bottom of each webpage, just before the closing </body> tag in your source code.

Creating remarketing audiences in Google Ads

With Google Ads, you have the option to target broad as well as highly specific audiences via your remarketing campaigns. For example, you can target all visitors or only those who browsed certain product pages but did not convert. Segmenting who you remarket to allows you to tailor your ads to visitors you already know are interested in your website. You can further customize messaging with personalized ads based on what content someone browsed on your website.

Getting ready

If you have not done so already, go through the prompts to enable remarketing in your account and generate the Main list remarketing code. Add this code to all pages of your website.

Next, define your audiences or what segments of visitors you’d like your ads to reach. Here are some recommended audiences:

  • All visitors: Anyone who came to your website. This is the most basic and simple way to set up remarketing but also the least targeted.
  • By products or services: You could target users who visited specific pages on your site with custom ads and messages. You could take this further and only target visitors to specific pages who did not convert.
  • Converters: You could target those who already purchased a product or became a lead and continue to nurture your relationship with past customers.
  • Non-converters: All visitors minus those that purchased a product or became a lead. Targeting such audiences can remind your non-converting visitors of your brand and entice them to come back to your site and convert.
  • By membership duration: You can segment visitors by the number of days a cookie stays on your remarketing list. For example, you could create a shorter 7-day audience list to show one message, and a longer 30-day list audience for a different message or offer.

How to do it…

In this section, I’ll go through examples of how to create an audience of users who visited specific product pages and an audience of all visitors who converted.

To create a remarketing audience for users who visited specific product pages, follow these steps:

  • Go to your Campaigns tab.
  • Click on Shared library at the bottom-left corner of your screen.
  • Click on View to view your Audiences.
  • Choose + New audience and select Remarketing list.
  • Select the first option, Define a list of site visitors based on the selection below.

Next, define what URLs should be included in this audience. You’ll be able to choose if your URL contains or does not contain the specified parameters. If your URLs are descriptive and contain words such as “roses” or “tulips” you can use these words to include all URLs with these terms in them. If your URLs are not descriptive, you can still create audiences around common parameters within your URL structure. You can also be more specific by including a specific URL for your audience by choosing the equals option. Here are all of the available options to define your list:

  • After defining your URL parameters, choose your membership duration. The default is 30 days, but you can choose up to 540 days. Your membership duration should follow your sales cycle. For example, if you have a short sales cycle of a few days, your ads should not follow your customers long after they have decided not to buy. However, if you have a typically longer sales cycle of a few months, such as expensive machinery, longer remarketing membership duration is more appropriate.
  • Name your list under Remarketing list name and write an optional description.
  • Under Initial list size, choose if you’d like to Include past visitors who match your list definition or Start with an empty list. If you choose to include past visitors, the list will include visitors from up to the past 30 days that still fit your list definition.

Click on Save.

If you track conversions in Google Ads, you can easily create a remarketing audience for users who converted:

  • In your shared library’s Audiences section choose + New audience and select

Remarketing list.

  • Select the second option, Define a list of site visitors by placing a new tag on your site.
  • In the box below, you’ll see all of your current tags, including your conversion action. Click on Add next to the tag that defines converted users. You might want to double-check the name of your active conversions by going to Tools and Analysis and choosing Conversions.
  • Choose your membership duration, name the list (such as “Converters” or “Sale”), and write an optional description.
  • Click on Save.

How it works…

Defining remarketing audiences allows you to show customized ads to visitors who browsed specific pages on your website. You can choose specific parameters, such as URLs visited as well as how long a cookie should stay on your remarketing list. Once you define remarketing lists, you can create separate ad groups and show different ads to each audience.

Creating custom remarketing combinations via rules

Custom combinations enable advertisers to further define and segment visitors based on multiple criteria. For example, they allow you to remove customers that already converted from your remarketing list and avoid spamming existing customers who already purchased your product.

Getting ready

You’ll need to first enable remarketing in your Google Ads account and add the code to your website. Then, decide what custom audiences you’d like to target. I suggest you start with one of the following:

All visitors except for those that converted already.

Visitors to specific pages or categories of pages except for those that converted already.

Visitors who abandoned the shopping cart. This is one of the most effective ways to target via remarketing, as you can reach someone that was already considering a purchase but did not yet complete it.

If you’d like to create custom combinations for the above audiences who did not convert, you’ll first need to create remarketing lists for all visitors, visitors to specific pages, and shopping cart visitors. Then, you’ll exclude anyone that’s already converted from your custom combination.

How to do it…

To create a custom combination, follow these steps:

  • Go to your Campaigns tab.
  • Click on Shared library at the bottom-left corner of your screen.
  • Click on View to view your Audiences.
  • Choose + New audience and select Custom combination.
  • Name your new combination and write an optional description. For example,

Shopping cart abandoners.

  • Under Users included or interested in… choose each of these audiences (AND) from the drop-down menu.
  • Click on select audiences and from the drop-down menu choose Remarketing lists.
  • Click on the arrow to select the Shopping cart list or another list you’d like to create a combination around. Click on OK.
  • Choose Add another to add another condition to Users included or interested in….
  • Select none of these audiences, proceed to select audiences, and switch to

Remarketing lists. Then, select Converters or however you named your list of users who completed a purchase. Click on OK.

  • Now you have your custom combination with anyone that’s visited your shopping cart but did not convert.
  • Click on Save.

How it works…

Custom combinations allow you to create rules to include, exclude, or combine different audiences. You can use the following combinations:

  • Any of the audiences (OR)
  • Each of these audiences (AND)
  • None of these audiences
  • Using the above parameters, you can choose to create a custom combination to show ads to users who visited the shopping cart but did not convert, for example.

Setting up a remarketing campaign

In order to show remarketing ads, you’ll need to set up a separate campaign in Google Ads. This campaign should target the Google Display network (rather than Google Search) and will not require keywords, but should be built around audiences you’ll add to individual ad groups.

Getting ready

Before setting up a remarketing campaign, you’ll need to:

  • Add the remarketing code to your website
  • Create remarketing audiences for visitors you’d like to target

How to do it…

To create a remarketing campaign, follow these steps:

  • Click on the Campaigns tab.
  • Click on + New campaign to create a new campaign.
  • Choose Display Network only.
  • Name your campaign and pick your locations and languages.
  • Under Bidding and budget in your campaign settings page, choose I’ll manually set my bids for clicks and enter your budget.
  • Click on Save and continue.
  • Next, create your first ad group. Your remarketing campaign should have separate ad groups for your different remarketing audiences.
  • For example, your campaign could have the following remarketing ad groups:
    • Ad group #1: All visitors
    • Ad group #2: All visitors except for those who converted
    • Ad group #3: All shopping cart abandoners
    • Ad group #4: Specific product or category shopping cart abandoners (for example, Levi’s 501 jeans shopping cart abandoners)
  • Name each ad group after the remarketing audience you’ll target. This will allow you to prioritize bids and evaluate performance based on each remarketing segment.
  • Set a Default bid, keeping in mind that the higher your bid, the greater the likelihood that your ads will show.
  • Under Choose how to target ads, select Interests & Remarketing.
  • From the Remarketing lists section, choose the audience you wish to target. Do not add multiple lists into one ad group.
  • Click Save and continue.
  • Write a text ad on the next step. You can also add image or video ads, or build an ad using Google’s Display ad builder.

Use a combination of text and image ads for greatest reach. Your message should be customized to the audience you are trying to reach. For example, if you are targeting visitors who did not convert, your ads should remind them why your brand is awesome or you can offer customers special discounts for coming back.

Create additional ad groups for other remarketing lists you wish to target.

How it works…

Remarketing allows you to show ads to users who previously visited your website after they leave and go on to browse other websites on the web. After adding a piece of remarketing code to your website, you can create custom lists to target specific segments of visitors and deliver them customized messages.

The costs are the same as for other Google Ads campaigns. You only pay when someone clicks on your remarketing ads or sees them (depending on if you’re using CPC or CPM bidding methods) and you set your own bids and budgets.

There’s more…

After you set up remarketing, continue to test and experiment with audiences and campaign settings while keeping a close eye on results. As you tailor the campaign to your many unique audience segments, you can make powerful connections with your customers and improve your ROI.

Setting remarketing bids

You’ll need to bid competitively on your remarketing ad groups in order for your ads to show on Google’s Display network. You’ll be competing against all of the other advertisers who are running remarketing campaigns as well as against other ads targeting the Display network.

Keep in mind the purchase cycle and your different remarketing audiences as you decide how much to bid on each segment.

Getting ready

You’ll need to create a remarketing campaign and multiple ad groups for your different audiences. Creating separate ad groups for each remarketing audience will allow you to better segment and bid separately based on priority.

How to do it…

  • First decide if you’d like to use Max Cost-Per-Click (CPC) or Cost Per 1000 Impressions (CPM) bids. I recommend going with CPC bids if you are direct response focused. You can choose and adjust your bidding strategy at the campaign level in your remarketing campaign setting page.
  • Once you have chosen your bidding strategy at the campaign level, you’ll set actual bids at the ad group level. Start with a higher initial bid to be competitive in the ad auction.
  • Set different bids for individual ad groups with your different remarketing audiences. Your bids should be lower for lower funnel audiences (such as All Visitors) and higher for audiences further along the conversion cycle (such as Shopping cart abandoners). Here is an example of how you might want to set your initial bids based on the different remarketing segments:
Remarketing Ad GroupMax CPC
All visitors$2
All visitors except for those who converted$2.1
All shopping cart abandoners$2.2
iPhone 5 shopping cart abandoners$2.3
  • Monitor impressions, clicks, and conversions, and adjust based on results. If you are not getting enough impressions and clicks, try increasing your Max CPCs. If your ad groups are getting a large number of clicks without any conversions, lower Max CPCs.

How it works…

The following bidding strategies are available for remarketing campaigns:

  • Max CPC: The maximum amount you are willing to pay for each click. Your Max CPC affects your ad rank on Google’s Display network. Increasing Max CPC increases your ad rank and improves your chances of ads appearing.
  • Max CPM: The maximum amount you are willing to pay for 1,000 impressions. You pay for impressions, rather than clicks. CPA bidding is most appropriate for advertisers focused on branding.
  • CPA: specify a Target or a Maximum CPA bid and Google’s Conversion Optimizer will help you maximize conversions within your targets based on historical information. Your remarketing campaign will need to have received at least 15 conversions in the last 30 days to be eligible.

Setting frequency caps to limit how often ads show

Many advertisers considering remarketing campaigns are concerned about inundating their visitors. In fact, you could alienate your customers by spamming them with ads that constantly follow them around. To protect your brand, you can set frequency caps in Google Ads, which

by default Google does not enable in your campaigns. However, it’s easy to set this up and it can make the difference between a highly effective remarketing ad and a customer never purchasing from you again.

Getting ready

Decide how often you’d like your ads to show to past visitors. Advertisers differ on how often they like to show their ads to past visitors, and I recommend testing different frequency caps to find what produces the best results. There is no right or wrong impression cap limit, and you’ll want to test to figure out what’s most effective for you. I recommend starting with 3 to 5 impressions per day and adjusting from there.

You can limit impressions by the following criteria:

  • Campaign
  • Ad group
  • Ad

I like to set my impressions caps per campaign to ensure all ads within a remarketing campaign show only a predefined number of impressions. However, your strategy will differ based on your goals, and I recommend you experiment with different settings.

Keep in mind that just because an impression was served, that does not mean that someone actually saw your ad. The ad could have appeared below the fold, or the person simply may not have noticed it while browsing the Google Display network.

How to do it…

To set impressions caps in your remarketing campaign, follow these steps:

  • Click on the Campaigns tab.
  • Click on your remarketing campaign and go to Settings.
  • Scroll down to Advanced Settings and click to expand the section Ad delivery: Ad rotation, frequency capping.
  • Click on the Edit option under Frequency capping.
  • Set your desired impression cap and choose if you’d like to limit impressions per day, per week, or per month. Also choose if you’d like to limit impressions for the entire campaign, an ad group, or per ad.
  • Click on Save.

How it works…

Frequency capping in Google Ads limits the number of times your ads show to each user on the Google Display network over a given time period. By limiting how often ads show to the same person, you can protect your brand and ensure remarketing ads are not spamming your customers.

You can set impression caps per day, per week, or per month. You can also cap impressions by campaign, ad group, or an ad.

Increasing traffic to your remarketing campaign

If your remarketing campaign is not getting enough impressions and clicks, you can make some changes to increase reach and ensure your ads are showing as much as possible. Since with remarketing you are reaching users who already showed interest in your website, your settings can be less restrictive while still reaching an extremely targeted set of visitors.

How to do it…

To ensure maximum visibility, try making some of the following changes:

  • Budget: Is your remarketing campaign consistently reaching or is close to reaching its daily budget? Try increasing it to get more impressions and clicks.
  • Bids: Increase bids to be more competitive in the ad auction against other advertisers.
  • Location and language targeting: Relax your location and language targeting settings.
  • Frequency capping: Try increasing impression caps (if you have frequency capping enabled) to increase impressions or how often ads show to each user.
  • Ad scheduling: Review ad scheduling to make sure ads show all days and hours and you are not restricting your remarketing campaign too much.
  • Remarketing audiences: Consider creating new remarketing audiences to capture additional visitors.
  • Delivery method: Set your campaign’s ad delivery method to Accelerated, so ads show as soon as possible.

How it works…

By relaxing your remarketing campaign settings and increasing budgets and bids, you can help increase overall impressions and clicks. Make sure to monitor conversions to ensure any additional traffic results in positive ROI.

Remarketing to YouTube viewers

Google Ads remarketing now allows you to reach viewers who interacted with your YouTube videos, helping you strengthen your brand and relationship with your YouTube audience. By showing tailored ads to viewers who chose to interact with your videos or your YouTube channel, you can increase ROI with custom ads unique to YouTube interactions.

Getting ready

To get started, you’ll need to link your Google Ads and YouTube accounts first, if you have not already. To link your YouTube account to Google Ads, choose to create a new online video campaign in your Google Ads account.

After you choose this new campaign type, you’ll see an option to link your YouTube account to Google Ads. You’ll need to enter your YouTube credentials using the e-mail address and password on the account that owns your YouTube channel.

Once you sign in, you’ll be automatically redirected to Google Ads, and you should see your channel linked to your Google Ads account.

How to do it…

Once your YouTube and Google Ads accounts are linked, you’ll need to access your video remarketing lists.

  • Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  • Click on All video campaigns at the bottom left of your campaign management page.
  • Access the Video remarketing lists under the Shared library section.
  • Click to create a new remarketing list and choose from one of the already defined audiences, which Google Ads automatically populates for you.
  • After choosing your list type, click on Create list and fill in the list name, membership duration, and any other necessary parameters.
  • Once you’ve decided who you’d like to remarket to and have created your audiences, set up a new remarketing campaign, adding the YouTube audiences you just created as your targets. Make sure to customize ad messaging for the audience you are reaching and include relevant offers and calls-to-action.

How it works…

YouTube remarketing helps you reach viewers based on their past interactions with your videos and your YouTube channel. With YouTube remarketing you can automatically create remarketing user lists without adding any additional pixels to your website. You can choose to remarket to users who watched or liked specific videos, and subscribed or unsubscribed from your channel. You can even create custom audiences and combinations to further subdivide who sees what message. For example, you can remarket to anyone that’s viewed a video but did not yet convert through your site.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *