Post by Chris Dean, Media Manager, and Jamie Strothmann, Media Manager

Remarketing is now a mainstream digital marketing tactic used to drive incremental sales and site traffic across brands and verticals. Advertisers have been successfully leveraging remarketing strategies for nearly five years, experiencing conversion rate lifts of 203% when compared to display ads, with 300% higher click-through rates (CTRs) than traditional search campaigns.  Google has cited remarketing campaigns resulting in a 100% increase in ROI.

New developments in remarketing are continuously emerging to optimize customer experience and increase ad effectiveness. Brands that are not already running remarketing campaigns are losing significant opportunity in their digital campaigns. The right remarketing strategy should be determined based on goals, budget and creatives. But how do brands maximize results using remarketing?

Below is a detailed walk-through of remarketing, complete with illustrations of executed campaigns in specific scenarios:

Types of Remarketing

There are 5 important remarketing ads that can help brands recapture website visitors:

  1. Standard Remarketing – Display ads targeted at audiences that have visited a website and are currently viewing another website on the Google Display Network (GDN)
  2. Dynamic Remarketing – Serves ads on the GDN and Google search Network, highlighting specific products to audiences that have already viewed them
  3. Remarketing For Mobile Apps – Display ads targeted at users that have interacted with a mobile app or website while they are on other mobile websites
  4. Remarketing List for Search Ads (RLSA) – Serve ads in Google Search to past website visitors
  5. Video Remarketing – Display ads based on users that have interacted with YouTube videos or channels and browse the GDN

Brands should take a critical look at their goals before choosing the best type of remarketing campaign. Here are some helpful questions to ask before launching a remarketing campaign; these questions will help you determine which type of remarketing is best for your current situation:

  • What’s the overall goal for your brand? Is coverage, total conversions, or simply a test to determine an audience the main goal?
  • Is a basic search ad or display ad preferred?
  • Has remarketing been run before? What worked and what didn’t?
  • What type of remarketing best fits your needs?
  • While each type of remarketing can be effective on its own, combining multiple types into one campaign can enable a more holistic campaign strategy that targets users in various stages of the conversion path


One Performics client in the hospitality industry is currently running a campaign combining standard remarketing across the Google Display Network with RLSA on the Google Search Network. Combining the remarketing tactics allows ads to be served on both networks, allowing for greater coverage than one tactic alone. Because these are all users who have previously visited the client’s website, they are served with ad copy specific to being a past site visitor, rather than the same ads that other users are served.

How to Set Up Remarketing Campaigns

Shared Library

Both Google and Bing require brands to tag their sites with a code to help identify unique visits. Brands have the ability to tag websites depending on the audiences they wish to target in the appropriate timeframe. This then creates a shared list within the library that can be used across accounts and eliminates the need for duplicate tags.


  • List Exclusions are useful when brands do not want a certain audience viewing their advertisement. Exclusions can be made the same way as a basic remarketing list. You may make campaign exclusions or ad group exclusions based on campaign set up.
  • Website Exclusions can be used when ads are shown on websites that aren’t appropriate or relevant. By checking search queries and excluding websites, this will narrow the audience and produce the best qualified traffic.


For one Performics insurance brand, a conversion is defined as a user that finishes a quote. If the quote process has seven steps and the user falls off on step three, they’re no longer counted towards the end goal. This user has shown interest in the brand’s product, and is more likely to convert.

By creating a remarketing campaign based on remarketing lists and adding the first page of the quote process, the brand could capture all traffic that has visited that page during the appropriate time duration. But, the brand didn’t want to target audiences that have finished the quote process. By adding a remarketing list exclusion of users who reached the end of the quote process, the brand eliminates ads showing to audiences that have already converted, to target the most qualified traffic.

In-Market Audiences

In-market audience targeting, when combined with remarketing, can be a very effective tactic. In-market targeting involves targeting users who are actively in the market to purchase a specific product or service. For a user to be qualified as in-market for a particular product or service, Google considers the user’s clicks on related ads, the content of the sites they visit, and the recency and frequency of the visits to those applicable sites. Google provides a very exhaustive list of product and service categories to target.

With in-market audience targeting, an extra layer of targeting can be added to remarketing campaigns. For example, let’s say a brand is in the hotel industry. One of Google’s in-market audiences is that of users who are in the market to book a hotel in a variety of cities and countries across the globe. So if the brand has a hotel in San Francisco, Google allows remarketing to users who have been to the hotel’s website and are recently showing the intent to book a hotel in San Francisco. This kind of multi-layer targeting allows for very relevant, quality traffic.

Top Keywords

Another layer an advertiser can add to their remarketing campaigns is the top keywords.  By adding top converting keywords, brands are remarketing towards people searching and have visited/engaged in an advertisement. Determine which keywords better serve your campaign.  They can be throughout brand, non-brand and conquesting campaigns.

Retargeting Message based Copy

Create specific copy for remarketing campaigns with both a landing page and ad copy. Retargeting-based copy encourages audiences to come back to the site and finish the conversion process. By adding message-based copy, brands are able to highlight the main goal of their campaign.

Example: “Finish Your Quote and Call a Local Agent Today” or “Come back and Save.  Book Now.”

Just like regular campaigns, remarketing campaigns have additional features to make campaigns unique and have an overall better user experience. Brands can still add location targeting to generate audiences from respective areas and add ad extensions such as call, sitelinks, location, app, review and call-out extensions. As a general rule, adding extensions will help generate traffic and allow for your ad to take up additional space on the search page.

Remarketing helps brands reach consumers that are more likely to convert.  It shows more relevant ads to users, and presents opportunities for returning customers.  Brands should use remarketing to their advantage.

Be creative, reach out to audiences about special offers or updates, and determine ways to combine remarketing tactics to get more accurate targeting and higher return on investment. Remarketing should be considered a best practice for any holistic digital strategy.


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