Do you have an incredibly loyal customer base? Do your customers continually come back to you and purchase at such a high rate that you are willing to pay a little extra for their clicks? Or maybe you have a business with a long buyer’s journey and you know that people who have already visited your website just need to interact with you another couple of times before they are ready to take the next step.
No matter your business, understanding who your best customers are is vital to your success. So we have compiled a resource for you to get the most out of your remarketing lists in your search ads.
What is a remarketing list for search ads?
Let’s start with the basics; What the heck are remarketing lists for search ads (other than a mouthful)?? Simply put, remarketing lists for search ads (or RLSA for short) are an additional layer of insight that you can use to improve the performance of your search campaigns.
You will need to have a Google tracking code on your website, like the Universal Google Analytics Tag or the Google Ads Remarketing tag. That code will add a cookie to the IP address of your website visitors, allowing you to start gathering these users into an anonymized list. Once that list of users is large enough, Google Ads will allow you to use it as an audience target for search ads. You can set up different lists based on different parameters, depending on your goals. Some common examples are anyone who has visited your site, people who converted on your site, or people who spent a certain amount of time on your site without converting.
How do you use them?
There are two ways to set up remarketing lists in search ads; targeting and observation. Targeting means that the campaign or ad group with the RLSA will ONLY show to your remarketing list. Observation means that your ads will show to everyone who searches for your targeted keywords, but you will be able to segment your data by your audience list. There are different reasons to use each method.
The targeting method is useful if you want to give past site visitors or past converters a separate marketing message than users who are finding you for the first time. A couple examples where this method could be useful are consumable products where you have a discount program or subscription service or a product with a long buyer’s journey so you can have a soft-sell message for some users and a more direct call-to-action for those who have already engaged with you.
The observation method is useful if you don’t have a separate message for past site visitors but you want to control your costs separately for these users. In my experience, this is the method I have used most often. In almost every account, the remarketing list with all past site visitors converts at a higher rate and a lower cost-per-conversion than those who have not been on my clients’ sites in the past. While there may not be a different marketing message for these users, I want to be able to see how their behavior compares to the broader population and make adjustments to capitalize on those results.
Depending on the bidding strategy you are using in your campaign, you can put bid adjustments in place for your observation audiences. You tell Google how much more (or less) you are willing to pay for a click from your remarketing list, indicated as a percent of the original bid. For example, if you bid $1 on a particular keyword, then put a 30% increased bid adjustment on your RLSA audience, you are telling Google that you are willing to pay up to $1.30 for that keyword IF the person searching for it is in your audience list.
The Google Ads auction is too complex to get into here — that could be a whole blog topic in and of itself, but in essence the keyword bid is only one piece of the puzzle, although it is an important piece. When you know that a certain audience converts at a higher rate and with a higher return on your investment (ROI), it might be worth it to pay more for a single click for the right person. Bidding more on a keyword for the right audience will help you show up in more searches and in a higher search position, leading to more visibility and more revenue for you!
What else can you do with RLSA?
Another great benefit to the targeting method with RLSA is the ability to bid on a broader range of keywords without reaching a wide, cold audience. If someone has already purchased from you and is looking for another product that you offer (but maybe have more competition with), you can set up a campaign using your RLSA as a targeted audience, then bid on those keywords and phrases, knowing you are only re-engaging with a past audience.
Assuming their past experience with you was positive, they are more likely to engage with your brand again, so you pay less for a click from this audience than you would if you were trying to reach people who didn’t know about you yet. The additional benefit of bidding on these broader keywords for only your RLSA is that you have the opportunity to re-engage with past purchasers and take them from one-time customers to brand loyalists.
So there you have it, RLSAs can be simple to set up and use, getting you deeper insights into your most engaged audience while keeping your costs low and ROI high. Here at E/Power Marketing, we know how important it is for you to see a positive return on your investment, and that means being hyper-focused on your customers. If you are ready to take the next step toward growing your business, we can help!