How to Set up Google Ads Remarketing

Text reads, "How To Set Up Remarketing in Google Ads"

If you’re currently running paid advertising or PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns in Google Ads but not taking advantage of remarketing, you’re missing out on an opportunity to boost brand recognition and dramatically increase conversions. Remarketing allows you to target ads at relevant, interesting and much warmer audiences who just need a final push to convert. Businesses often use remarketing to increase the value of website visitors originating from SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) or PPC campaigns — you’ve invested the time and money to get that person to your site and you want to them to convert! Remarketing increases the chances of conversion, delivering fast results for a relatively low cost.

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at what remarketing is, how it can benefit your business and how to set up Google remarketing.

What Is Remarketing?

Remarketing is a highly targeted method of advertising where ads are shown to people who have already visited your website or otherwise interacted with you. According to the marketing principle the Rule of 7, people need to be exposed to a business’s offer at least seven times before they take action. With this in mind, the chance of a consumer converting increases each time they see an ad for your business. When remarketing is set up on your pages, anyone who visits those pages will later be served your advertisement when they land on sites in the Google Display Network or, if you run video remarketing adverts, on sites like YouTube.

How Does Google Ads Remarketing Work?

Remarketing with Google Ads uses a small snippet of code, a “remarketing tag”, which can be added to any page or pages on a website. You can then create user lists for each tagged page, such as “product page [product name] list”, “home page list” and so on. When someone visits your site, provided they meet your set criteria and give permission for you to collect their cookies (tiny text files stored on a user’s browser), their cookie ID will be added to the relevant user list.

User lists enable businesses to create highly targeted campaigns. Users who have visited a sign-up page are likely to be closer to converting than those who visited the homepage, for example. A hard-sell ad, offer code or other incentive may work well for the first group, whereas a softer “find out more” ad may get a better response from the second group.

How Can Remarketing Benefit My Business?

Targeting an audience that has already shown an interest in your products or services can lead to higher conversion rates and an impressive return on investment (ROI), as this audience is already warm. By targeting ads to consumers with an established interest in buying your product or service, you’ll convert more leads and reduce your cost per acquisition (CPA).

Every time a consumer sees an ad for a business, the chance that they will take the desired action, be that to subscribe to a newsletter or make a purchase, increases — as does your brand recognition. Consumers also benefit from effective remarketing, as they are shown only relevant ads for products and services that they’ve expressed interest in.

In short, here’s why your business needs to start remarketing:

  • Enhance customer experience
  • Increase brand recognition
  • Improve your ROI
  • Improve your conversion rates
  • Personalise and highly target your marketing efforts

How to Set up a Website Remarketing List in Google Ads

Before you can create your first remarketing campaign in Google Ads, you’ll need to create a website remarketing list.

Step 1. Sign in to your Google Ads account

Head to Google Ads and log in. Simple stuff.

Step 2. Navigate to Google Ads Audiences

Click the “Tools & Settings” icon in the top menu bar and click on “Shared Library”. Alternatively, use the search bar to locate the shared library.

This section of Google Ads contains three core elements: “Audiences”, “Campaign Negative Keywords” and “Campaign Placement Exclusions”. Google Ads Audiences is where you can set up your remarketing lists. From here, you can view any previously created audiences and create new ones. You can also view the retargeting code and check that it is installed on all your relevant pages.

Step 3. Access the New Audience: Website Visitors List

Click on “Audience Manager” and then “Audience Lists”. To add a new user list of people who have visited your website, click the blue “+” button and select “website visitors”.

Screenshot of Google Ads Audience Manager

Step 4. Create a New Website Visitors List

The page that opens will look like this:

Screenshot of Google Ads New Audience Creation

First of all, enter a name for your list in the “Audience Name” field. Some businesses create many different audiences, so make sure that the audience name clearly describes the users it includes. For example, you might create a “Homepage List” to include all users who have visited the homepage.

Next, click on the “List members” drop-down menu and select a template. You can choose to include any user who visited a specific page or you can set additional criteria, such as “Visitors of a page during specific dates” or “Visitors of a page who visited another page”.

In the “Visited Page” section, you can set rules that will dictate whether a user is added to the list or not. Choose “Match any rule group” or “Match every rule group” from the drop-down menu and set your rules. You might want to only include pages that contain a certain keyword, for example. Text, numbers or dates can be added to the free text field, and you can create additional and/or rules using the blue buttons.

Screenshot of Google Ads New Audience Creation

In the “Initial List Size” section, choose to start with an empty list or include people from the last 30 days.

Finally, enter the number of days you want people to remain on this list. This is a free text field and you can keep people on each list for a maximum of 540 days.

If you expect to have a large number of different audiences or several similar audiences with minor differences for specific marketing objectives, it’s a good idea to add an audience description, although this is optional.

When you’re happy with the new audience list, click “Create Audience”.

How to Set up Google Ads Remarketing

When you’ve set up at least one remarketing audience list, you’re ready to create the first remarketing campaign for your business. Follow these steps to get started:

Step 1. If you’re not signed in to your Google Ads account, do so now

Step 2. Set up Campaign Goals and Type

Click “Campaigns”, which can be found on the top left in the menu panel. Click the blue “+” button to create a new campaign. You’ll be presented with a set of goal options, which may look like this:

Screenshot of Google Ads' New Campaign Screen

Hover over each box for more detail and choose a goal for your campaign. When you click on a goal, the “Campaign Type” section will appear. Select “Display”.

Screenshot of Google Ads New Campaign Goals Options

Step 3. Set Your Campaign Parameters

After clicking the blue “Continue” button on the previous screen, you’ll be taken to the “New Campaign” page.

Screenshot of Google Ads campaign parameters screen

Work through the page completing all required fields, including the campaign name, location and language settings, bid strategy, budget, ad schedule and campaign dates. Click the blue “Additional Settings” text for more options, including Content Exclusions and Device Targeting.

Step 4. Select an Audience for Remarketing

Now, it’s time to make use of the website visitors list you created earlier. Scroll down to the “People” section and locate “Audiences”.

Screenshot of Google Ads' new campaign audience options

Click “Remarketing” and check the box next to the audience you’d like to target. Complete the remaining fields — demographics, ad group bid, etc. — and click “Create Campaign”.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully set up your first remarketing campaign in Google Ads!

What Next? How to Use Google Ads Remarketing Effectively

You’re up and running and know the basics of Google Ads remarketing, but what makes an effective campaign? Check out our top tips for getting the most out of your display campaign.

  • Set a Clear Goal: Remarketing is a different beast to traditional PPC and you should adjust your expectations accordingly. The strength of a remarketing campaign is its ability to build brand recognition and increase the likelihood of a website visitor converting at some point by repeatedly exposing them to your ads. This type of campaign is unlikely to return a huge number of one-click conversions or large volumes of website traffic.
  • Plan Your Strategy with Care: Before ploughing ahead and creating a campaign, consider your goals and the lists you need to build to achieve them. Google offers a useful guide outlining 21 strategies for better remarketing, which provides some great ideas to get you started.
  • Add UTM Codes at Campaign Level: Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) codes form part of a website’s URL (Universal Resource Locator) and are used by Google to track activity associated with a particular link. UTMs make it easy to identify which marketing activity resulted in a conversion. Add UTM codes at the campaign level in Google Ads and you’ll save yourself hours adding them manually for each ad URL.
  • Set a Privacy Policy: Google advises that anyone choosing to use its remarketing feature should be transparent about this activity. Website owners should have a process in place for letting visitors know that information is being collected for remarketing purposes. Check out Google’s guidance on what to include in your privacy policy.
  • Use Exclude Lists to Manage your Budget: If budget is an issue, you must consider the users who should be excluded from your remarketing campaigns. If your goal is to get people to subscribe to a particular service, once they have completed this action, you should exclude them from future remarketing campaigns to avoid wasting money on serving them further ads encouraging them to complete the same action.
  • Give Dynamic Remarketing a Try: Google Ads can use the data it gathers on visitor behaviour to dynamically create ads for your business. These include an image along with information about your product or service, such as the price and description. eCommerce stores will get the biggest benefit out of this feature, but it can be a real asset to any business.
  • Use Google Analytics Metrics to Create Remarketing Lists: Head to Google Analytics (GA) and toggle remarketing. Once enabled, it’s easy to create lists based on almost any metric in GA. Lists created here are automatically added to the audience list in Google Ads, enabling a world of possibilities when it comes to list creation and remarketing.

Any business can benefit from remarketing with Google Ads. It’s a relatively low-cost way to increase conversion rates and achieve an amazing return on investment. Customers will thank you for serving ads that are relevant to them and you’ll see brand recognition soar as consumers are repeatedly exposed to your ads.

Do you want to make your PPC campaigns more profitable? Find out how Exposure Ninja can help your business with Pay-Per-Click Ads Management by requesting a free PPC review today.

Is your digital marketing
underperforming ?

Get free actionable marketing advice

Request a review and our award-winning team will send you a 15-minute video audit of your website and marketing.

Exposure Ninja's Google and TrustPilot review scores