Most advertisers use Remarketing strategy to target potential customers. Remarketing Lists for Search Ads allow advertisers to reach out to those people who have visited their website and have shown interest in their products or services. Remarketing is a very valuable tool at the disposal of advertisers.

This strategy has been around for a while. Leading advertising platforms like Google AdWords, Facebook Ads and others provide this feature already. Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) is very useful when a customer visits the website but leaves it to continue looking for a product on Google. Targeted ads are shown to this customer.

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads is available only for Search Network Only – All Features and Search Network Only – Dynamic Search Ads campaign types.

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) is a feature that lets you customize your search ads campaign for people who have previously visited your site, and tailor your bids and ads to these visitors when they’re searching on Google and search partner sites. – Google

For example, Drew is looking for a studio apartment and he visits a real estate website and looks at the studio apartments section of the site to check out the available locations. Even if Drew does not pick any, thanks to RLSA, the site will add Drew to a Studio category audience list. Then, the site could bid more for Drew the next time he searches for studio apartments on Google again.

Different Remarketing approaches –

RLSA helps advertisers in redefining their campaigns and addressing their target audience better. This also helps in finding quality customers to sell to. Two basic approaches when using Remarketing Lists for Search Ads are –

  1. You can optimize bids for your existing keywords to target visitors on your remarketing lists. For example, you can increase your bid by 25% for those who previously visited your website in the last 30 days. Or, you could show a different ad to site visitors who have placed items in a shopping cart but have not purchased them.
  2. You can bid on keywords that you don’t normally bid on just for people who have recently visited your site or have converted on your site in the past. This can help you increase your sales. For example, you could bid on more broad keywords only for people who have previously purchased from your site.

When used wisely, RLSA can boost the conversion rates, reduce the ad spend wastage and improve the overall return on investment.

Understand Remarketing approaches –

Let us dig a deeper into both the approaches. Each of these approaches has been around for over 3 years now. And most of the advertisers have tried to make the most out of them. Advertisers refer to the first approach as Target and Bid Remarketing approach. The second approach as Bid Only Remarketing approach.

Target and Bid approach –

Target and Bid approach uses two conditions to your show ads. The target simply means whether the target audience is in the Remarketing list or not. The bid is simply the keyword you are bidding on. When using Target and Bid approach, Google shows these ads only when both these conditions are true. The user searching on Google should be a part of your Remarketing list. And the user is searching for the keyword you bid on.

From the previous example, Drew just didnt quit the website without any action, but, he filled the form with his details. He is in your remarketing list now. Next time Drew is on Google searching for a studio apartment, you can target your ads to him. But, if Drews fiance, Rachel is on the look for an apartment instead of Drew, Google won’t show your ad to her even when the keyword matches. This is because she isnt a part of your remarketing list.

Bid Only approach –

Bid Only uses only one condition to show your ads, whether the search query matches your keyword or not. Google shows your ads to the searcher only if this condition is true. You can also adjust your bid for your keywords based on the audience.

When using Bid Only, even Rachel is shown your ad when she searches for studio apartments. But when Drew searches for a studio apartment, your ad will be shown. However, you can make adjustmentsfor your bid. Say, you increase your bid for when Drew searches. This might put your ad on the top, or simply ensure that you are not being outbid by your competition.

What Remarketing approach best suits you?

Target and Bid is an approach to regulating your ad spend and better your return on investment. Google shows your ads only to the audience who are already familiar with your product/service as they have visited your website before. You can also tailor ads specifically for this audience. Advertisers also offer them exclusive discounts, inform them about a new product or update them the revised prices.

Bid Only approach is more of an aggressive approach. You are aiming to reach out the maximum audience. The idea of this approach is to enable you to advertise to regular audience as well as the audience who already know you.

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads and Similar Audience –

It is very important to note that Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) offer extraordinary benefits to advertisers. But the only limitation is how they are focused on the audience who have already visited your website. To overcome this limitation, Google has launched Similar Audience for Search and Shopping. It is safe to say that similar audience is an extension to Remarketing Lists for Search Ads. From the insights of the remarketing lists, Google knows what audience to target that is right for you business. I have explained more about the similar audience in a different blog.


CEO and co founder of AdNabu. Exploring the intersection of data and marketing