Refining RLSA Strategies for Optimal Search Performance


Post by Joshua Miller, VP, Group Account Director Remarketing has been a crucial and top-performing tactic for display media buying for years. Paid search has been able to take advantage of this approach with Google’s introduction of RLSA in late 2013, though many brands and agencies are still not using it effectively. As RLSA is proving to be a highly efficient search tactic, this is the equivalent of leaving conversions on the table. For one of Performics’ clients, we have seen our CPA lowered by 24% compared to standard search. This is driven by a larger increase in conversion rate (80%) compared to the increased cost (CPC) of bidding more on RLSA searches. In order to take advantage of this extremely targeted opportunity, marketers need to do a few things:

  • Determine who you are going to target. Will it be solely based on site visits or are you able to layer in 1st party data (e.g., CRM, DMP)? The latter is more complex to set up but could lead to a more informed approach.
  • Prioritize audiences based on your business goals. For example, are prospects more valuable to you than upselling current customers? Are visits to certain pages of your website more valuable than others? Setting up a hierarchy based on business value is imperative.
  • Establish relevant KPI’s. The metric of success should be unique based on the type or value of the conversion. For example, prospecting would be CPA-focused (acquisition) while customer targeting would be measured based on value (upsell or retention).
  • Structure the account appropriately. Following some of the standard best practices for account set up, you’ll want to have maximum control and transparency. Being able to adjust bids or copy, as well as report uniquely by audience is crucial to attaining the best performance and learning.
  • Test! Once base performance is established, do what search marketers do…test and test again to continually expand and improve the program.

Though many marketers are running RLSA within their search program, many have only scratched the surface. Refining the strategy can improve efficiencies and allow you to spend the savings in other areas of your search account.


Scott Shamberg
Scott Shamberg
Scott Shamberg has served in executive-level roles for large companies, run marketing programs for Fortune 100 clients and been involved in early stage start-ups. He has over 15 years of experience in media and digital marketing, just over 11 years of senior-level parenting experience and 43 years serving as a Chicago sports fan, most years tougher than others. Most recently Scott served as Managing Director at TPN, an Omnicom retail marketing agency where he led marketing, business development and emerging commerce. During that time, he restructured the agency to better support rapid growth, created and implemented a retail technology solution set and led winning pitches for Brown Forman & Comcast. Prior to TPN, Scott was member of the founding team and the VP of Marketing at Marqeta, a Greylock Partners and Granite Ventures backed payment start-up. There, he helped raise capital in Silicon Valley and led efforts on branding, business development and customer acquisition. This start-up experience followed 8 years at Critical Mass, another Omnicom company, as GM, SVP Marketing and Media. There, he built the Experience Distribution practice, a methodology to recognize the evolution of digital consumer behavior and to form integrated communication within highly used channels. As a member of the executive team, he built the practice from a 5-person group to 35+ team, helped grow the company from $30M in revenue to $90M and led the Chicago office. Scott graduated from The University of Iowa with a B.A. in Communication and a new respect for corn. He also holds an M.B.A from Loyola University in Chicago, where he participated in one of its first ecommerce programs. His parenting experience includes overseeing his daughter Ava (11) and son Gabe (8). He and his wife Cari live in Highland Park, where Scott spends his free time listening to music his children hate (but will hopefully come to appreciate one day), trying to get in shape to run another marathon and, when the moment strikes him, writing comedic satire for himself and The Huffington Post. He says the greatest moment of his life is a tie: Paul Konerko’s grand slam in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series or the birth of his two children. When his children ask him this question, he tends to lie.

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