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Use RLSA and Remarketing to Seal the Deal

Published: March 30, 2016

Author: Sana Ansari

Advertisers invest a lot of money to drive users to their sites, and those users can be at different stages of the funnel. Many are eager to make their decision and purchase the product/service they are looking for immediately; others may be in research mode, trying to figure out what might be best suited for their needs, and aren’t ready to pull the trigger just yet. Others may have come to the site out of curiosity from demand gen efforts.
Those in research mode and those who have come through demand gen efforts may not convert right away. Advertisers need to be able to pull these users back in, convince them the product/service is right for them, and lead them to convert. This is where remarketing comes into play.
If we look at remarketing through the Google lens, we have a couple of ways to go: remarketing via the Google Display Network (GDN) or with remarketing audiences via search. Let’s dive into best practices for each.

GDN Remarketing

The first step is to set up audience lists based on user interaction on the website. For example: audience lists that have visited a home page; visited a features, product, or pricing page; added an item to the cart; etc. These segmentations reflect and cater to an audience’s intent – e.g. someone who has placed an item in the cart but may not have purchased will be much more likely to convince to come back and convert than someone who just visited the home page and bounced.
Based on the intent from the interactions above, we can accurately set and optimize bids according to the performance and intent of these audiences. (We would want to set higher bids on those with higher intent and lower for those less likely to convert.)
Also important in setting up remarketing campaigns: exclude audiences when applicable. For example, if you are marketing for Fitbit, and someone purchases a Fitbit off your site, you want to make sure you exclude that user from your remarketing efforts because you don’t need to serve ads to those who already have the product. (Now, if Fitbit were to come out with complementary products, like replacement batteries, you’d definitely want to retarget purchasers with those ads.)
Creative is extremely important in remarketing. Advertisers need to be mindful of refreshing creative, as it plays a role in re-sparking the user’s interest to come back to the site. We recommend constantly leveraging new messaging, different images, and any deals or offers that may convince the user to re-consider the product/service.
Landing pages are also another thing to keep in mind. Let’s use the Fitbit example again. Let’s say you are remarketing to the audience who has visited your home page and then bounced. It would not make sense to have a remarketing ad to these users and send them back to the home page – you want to send them to a page that would help convince them why Fitbit is a great product and they should consider getting it – so sending them to a product/features page may be a better option. Gear landing pages to the different audiences you are remarketing to.

RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads)

Remarketing for search ads (RLSA) campaigns are similar to GDN remarketing campaigns, only they allow advertisers to layer audience lists onto search campaigns. The benefit of doing RLSA is that many of your audiences have expressed a high intent to purchase and now have familiarity with your brand, which calls for more aggressive bidding. You need to make sure we stay in front of audiences who have come to your site; as they continue to research and Google your type of product/service, you need to beat competitors for their attention and keep your brand top of mind.
RLSA often makes otherwise prohibitively expensive head terms more affordable. For instance, if you’re selling women’s necklaces, bidding on “jewelry” might get you a lot of traffic with weak conversion rates in normal search campaigns – but on that same query, RLSA lets you put your ad in front of users who have already expressed intent and established familiarity with your brand. It can still be expensive, but your conversion rates can more than justify the bids.
Last note: If you create a separate RLSA campaign simply targeting those who have visited your site with stronger bids (rather than layer your audiences on existing campaigns and applying bid modifiers), we strongly recommend that you take advantage of the ability to test different messaging, deals, value props, etc. Don’t simply assume that repeated exposure to your brand will do the trick – give your users reason to come back and convert.

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