Ant_active_exploration_using_antennaThere are a lot of moving parts to an optimized AdWords account.

While we’re all aware of the top players, text ads, and PLAs, many people forget about, choose to forgo, or simply don’t know about remarketing.

Set up a bit differently from regular text ads, remarketing targets Google’s Display Network and focuses on capturing users who have already been to your site and are therefore more qualified.

Whether you’re already utilizing remarketing and want to take it a step further, or are jumping into remarketing for the first time, here are some simple insights you can use to beef up your campaign.

1. Create Highly Relevant Audience Lists

Within AdWords you have the ability to create your own audience lists to utilize in your remarketing campaigns.

These can be built using rules that identify people based on URLs they have reached, by recognizing users by tags you have placed on specific pages of your site, or simply by using Google’s automated lists. By navigating to the Audience tab in the Shared Library, you can build your audience lists according to your most important targets.

What are some of the highly recommended audiences?

The whole point about audiences is to tailor them to your highest priorities.

While you are targeting these highly relevant audiences, we would recommend you exclude anyone who is a part of your “Purchasers” audience.  If someone has already completed their purchase, you don’t want to keep pestering them with ads that might cause them to associate your company with annoyance.

2. Target Based On Time Relevance

While going after highly relevant traffic, it helps considerably to capture them within the first few days.

The trick to identifying traffic by time since abandonment? Adjust your audience’s tag duration. The tag duration determines how long the user will stay within each audience’s specific funnel. Now for the trick on time-lag targeting – create duplicate audiences with different tag durations.

Say someone adds a product to their cart, but then leaves the site without completing their purchase.  Since you know they are already interested in the product to the point of almost completing the purchase, you want to re-capture their attention and bring them back.  It’s safe to say that it’s more important to capture them within the first 48 hours of abandonment due to their interest levels and before they have a chance to shop around and purchase elsewhere.  In this scenario you will be using an “Abandoned Cart” audience where you have set the tag duration to two days.

You can then serve this user an ad with specific ad text or a coupon code incentivizing them to come back.  How do you keep this from affecting your normal “Abandoned Cart” audience? Make sure to exclude your “Two Day Abandoned Cart” audience from your regular “Abandoned Cart” audience.  By using different tag durations you are working on capturing all abandoned cart traffic but can be more aggressive for the more recent and more relevant abandoners.

3. Show Relevant Ad Text

The name of the game is relevance! By creating specific audiences, you can serve highly relevant ads to each user. You’ll find that you are able to increase the ad relevance as your audiences get more targeted. To better explain this, here are some ad text examples:

All site visitors:




Abandoned cart:


Top product page:


While these are examples of text ads, keep in mind that remarketing is mainly about image ads.  When creating your image ads, do your best to maintain relevance, include a promo code (if possible), and entice the viewer with a call to action.

You will also increase the chances of your ad being seen by including ads of all allowable sizes.  Google is constantly updating their accepted sizes, so make sure to check for changes regularly!

4. Manage Your Placements

Within your remarketing campaign, you can see which placements (or websites) your ads are being displayed on and how they are performing. Navigate to the “Display Network” tab within AdWords and once there, click into the “Placements” tab.

Here you will find a list of placements where your ads are showing, and their performance data by ad group.  If there is any placement that is causing waste, you can exclude it from that ad group.  If there is a placement causing waste throughout the whole campaign, add it as a campaign-excluded placement.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to create an exclusion list within the “campaign placement exclusions” section of AdWords’ Shared Library. Once you create the exclusion list, apply it to your remarketing campaign.  By monitoring your placements, you are able to make sure you are only showing up on the most relevant sites!

By combining these practices and monitoring them regularly, you should be able to establish a sound remarketing strategy. Building up your remarketing presence is one of the most important steps in rounding out your AdWords account for optimal performance.

P.S. For anyone just getting started with remarketing, don’t forget to add the remarketing tag to your site first!