Add3 – Digital Marketing Agency with offices in Seattle & Portland


AdWords has evolved significantly over the past few years and isn’t slowing down. Updated capabilities for re-targeting your existing audience arise frequently. Instead of simply targeting by keywords or placements, more sophisticated methods of marketing are being implemented in an effort to improve acquisition and retention. Depending on your business, capturing quality users and successfully getting them to complete an action doesn’t necessarily happen on the first interaction and requires intelligent remarketing strategies.

Remarketing on the GDN

Remarketing through the Google Display Network is solely dependent on your remarketing tag. With that said, confirm that this is set-up correctly in order to continue. Instead of walking through the basic and more general strategies for GDN remarketing, I want to help you think outside the box when creating remarketing campaigns based on your client’s vertical and goals.

  1. Dynamic Remarketing – CPG and Retail Verticals

Assuming that your client has set up shopping through the Google Merchant Center, consider implementing dynamic remarketing based on what users have added to their cart or wish list but have yet to purchase. This strategy is perfect for clients with limited creative assets because it will pair a Google ad template with your shopping feed in order to create image ads for your entire inventory.

Steps for launching your first dynamic remarketing campaign can be found here.

  1. Cross Sell Remarketing – Retail Verticals

If creative resources are at your disposal, consider developing a robust remarketing strategy by cross-selling similar products to your current converted users.  For example, if someone recently purchased a powder foundation in the past 14 days from your site, create a remarketing campaign that targets these past purchasers but serves image ads for powder foundation brushes. In this case, you will want to add “brush purchasers” as a campaign exclusion in order to prevent unwanted impressions for people who’ve already purchased the product being served in the ad.

  1. Mobile App Remarketing– Any Vertical with an App

App remarketing is slightly more complex. However, it is necessary if you want to drive users back into the app and inform them about a new content, an extension, or further in-app purchases. In order to launch an app re-engagement campaign, you will need an accessible deep link to drive traffic to specific pages within your app. Consider targeting all users of an app, dormant users who haven’t used your app recently, or people who’ve taken specific actions within your app.

It’s also key to glean insights on user behavior in order to determine valuable installs. Users who have opened your app more than twice in the first day or have notably longer session durations may have higher lifetime values and could be re-targeted for premier in-app features.

Remarketing Strategies in Search

Remarketing Lists for Search ads (RLSA) are not new, but incredibly underused. Keep in mind, RLSA are completely different than traditional GDN remarketing. Instead of hitting prior visitors on the GDN, RLSA will only show text ads when someone in your audience pool is actively searching on Google. One of the simplest audience list to implement is the “All Users” list. This audience list will include all users who’ve been to your site, based on the cookie window of your choosing. Think of this as the low hanging fruit that should be always be layered in your account, even if it is just to collect additional data.

Initially, I would recommend applying this list with the “bid only” targeting method and a 0% bid adjustment. After enough data has been acquired for statistical significance you have two options:

  1. Optimize the audience bid adjustment up or down depending on its performance as it compares to the ad group as a whole.
  2. Dedicate specific budgets and ad messaging to this audience by duplicating the original campaign/ad group. If you go this route, you need to apply the audience with the “target and bid” method and be sure to exclude the audience from the original ad group in order to prevent overlap.

One benefit of using an “All Users” list with an increased bid adjustment is having the ability to bid more on users who’ve already been to your site and are more qualified. Additional lists to consider utilizing are past purchasers, visitors of select pages, “similar to ____”, and abandoned cart users. Advanced marketers should create lists based on user behavior through Google Analytics for endless audience combinations.

For this example, three audience lists have been applied to a brand ad group for an app-based music service client. Based on the data and a significantly higher conversion rate of 7.43%, we can confirm that users who viewed the pricing page for greater than 4 seconds (in the past 30 days), are very valuable when re-searching for a brand term. Because we are willing to pay more for these users, the bid adjustment has been increased to +40% but the CPA remains 76% less expensive than the more general “All Visitors” audience list.


The strategies that I addressed are just the tip of iceberg when it comes to remarketing. Once enough data has been collected and analyzed, you can tailor your remarketing plans based on the performance, seasonality, and to your client’s needs. As always, stay up to date on the most recent remarketing capabilities Google (and Bing) has to offer.

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Ashley Davis

About Ashley Davis

Ashley is a Paid Search Account Manager, expanding her marketing knowledge with Add3 since 2013. Besides being a Shiba-mommy, Ashley enjoys Happy Hours, golfing, boating and glitter. Follow her on Twitter for everything from SEM updates to live tweeting reality TV, @AshleyDavisSEA.

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