May 18, 2017

Remarketing – Brief Intro & Best Practices for Google Ads

What is Google Remarketing?

Remarketing on Google Ads gives advertisers the option to show ads to people who have previously visited their website, watched their video or viewed their YouTube channel.

You can customize your advertising and create lists based on previously visited pages or pages where exits were made (where users left the site flow). For example, you can choose to show your ads only to people who have visited page X but not page Y, or left their online shopping cart without making a purchase.

Since such ads are shown to much more relevant users (those who have already engaged with your website), their chances of converting and increasing ROI are better – if used wisely.

Remarketing Setup

To set up a Remarketing campaign, you should first add the Remarketing code (also known as a Remarketing Tag) to your website, and verify that it is placed correctly.

You were probably wondering where can you find this piece of code – the answer is, you can get it only after creating your first Remarketing list on Google Ads.

Go to ‘Shared Library’ on Google Ads, click ‘Audiences’, then click ‘+ Remarketing List’ and set up your first list. After creating the first list, you will have the option to save the snippet code or send it via email (with instructions) to your developer or to yourself. The Remarketing code should be placed on every page of your website.

If you (or someone else) have already created your first Remarketing list, you can just verify the Remarketing code was implemented correctly by using the Tag assistant add-on from Google Chrome. If the code was not implemented properly, you can find the piece of code under Shared Library > Audience > Tag Details (top right corner) and place it correctly.

Remarketing tag

How Google Remarketing Works

So, after implementing the Remarketing code in your website, how can you target specific users to show your chosen ad to?

Simple – that piece of code that you implemented on your website will place a cookie on your users’ browser when they are visiting your website and will mark them. Once you choose to target them with your Remarketing campaign, Google Ads will know how to find them all over the Google Display Network (AdSense) and show your ads based on Google’s auction.

Based on the users you want to target, their stage in your website funnel, and your offering, you should create relevant ads. Setting up different lists will help you target different types of audiences.

Be sure to target specific users with specific offers that correspond with their past behavior. For example, try to give an extra discount to users who abandoned their shopping cart without making a purchase. Promise great and relevant content to users who have visited your website but did not sign up for newsletter. Give a discount for a second purchase to users who have already made a purchase on your website.

In general, try to be as creative as you can with your targeting lists and ads.


If you are already using other Google Ads products, it should be very easy for you to create your first Remarketing campaign. If not, make sure your campaign meets the following requirements:

  • Google Remarketing tag was implemented in your website.
  • The Remarketing list was created within your Google Ads account and was linked to the relevant campaign.
  • Remarketing lists must contain at least 100 active visitors or users in order to deliver your ads. With fewer than 100 active visitors, your campaigns will not serve your ads (lists targeting Google search [RLSA] must have at least 1,000 active visitors or users).
  • List status must be ‘open’ in order to tag new visitors, so when you create a new list, make sure the status is open. If you change the status to ‘close’, the list will keep serving your ads until it will contain fewer than 100 active visitors (based on the membership duration you set up for the list).
  • Set up the membership duration based on how long you want to keep the users in your list. You can choose a duration of anywhere from 30 to 540 days from the last time the user met the rules you defined for your list.


The main benefit of Remarketing is that you can stay connected to your target audience from any stage of your website funnel. It can also help increase your brand awareness by showing ads to your visitors even if they haven’t visited your website for a while.

Remarketing campaigns will increase your conversion rates, as long as you use them wisely and combine them with other targeting methods Google has to offer.

Always keep in mind, however, that the user has the ability to opt out of any remarketing list by changing their browser settings or by deleting browser cookies.

Remarketing Best Practices

Here are some best practices for Remarketing campaigns, according to Google and to our wide experience here at yellowHEAD:

  • Set a clear Remarketing strategy before starting the campaign – which users you want to target in your campaigns, what offers you want to promote, etc.
  • On your first campaign, target everyone who has viewed your homepage.
  • Use frequency capping to limit the number of times your ad is served for the same user. You are trying to get users back to your website – if you get the user fed up with your brand by showing too many ads, you could create the opposite effect.
  • Create highly relevant ads to what you know visitors are looking for based on the list they are in.
  • Send your ad traffic to a relevant page on your website to increase your ad relevance and increase your chances of winning the auctions.
  • If you have a limited budget, try using additional targeting for Remarketing campaigns in order to narrow down the inventory to even more relevant audiences.
  • Exclude “bad” content from your Remarketing campaigns (relevant for any display campaign) by changing the site category options.


Use Remarketing, but use it wisely!

Google Remarketing can improve your performance and significantly increase your CVR and ROI if you do it right.

Build a proper and clear strategy before starting and don’t hesitate to test different things even if you are not sure they will perform well – let the numbers and statistics decide for you.

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