Remarketing Lists for Search Ads, or RLSA, are a way for you to refine your AdWords campaigns to target potential customers and leads that have moved farther along the conversion funnel but have yet to purchase or move to the next level of your service offering. We all know that the deeper a person researches your product or service, the more likely they are to convert. RLSA gives you the tools to accurately target those people without disrupting your normal ad process.

Before we start, though, you need to know that your current privacy policy may not meet the Google guidelines. Take a few minutes to re-familiarize yourself with the current AdWords privacy guidelines here and update your privacy policy if needed. There is nothing worse than spending a lot of time learning and implementing new ads only to get your account locked because your privacy policy is something you copied from a random website and just searched and replaced their name with yours.

RLSA Remarketing List Search Ads

How RLSA Audiences Can Improve Conversions

youre-coming-back-rightRemarketing has been around for a long time now, unfortunately too many sites use it like a sledgehammer rather than a scalpel. The theory is if someone visited your website then they must want what you have so they are tagged with a cookie and your ads begin to chase them around the web. From site to site, hiding in the sidebar, these ads are there, always there, just hoping you will come back.

Google has created RLSA to help us better target potential customers and leads. These ads are search ads, not display ads, meaning that they don’t chase people around the web. They do allow us to better target our ads, keywords, and bid prices at specific audiences using data collected on your website as people visit and interact with your site.

RLSA Use Cases

Let’s start by looking at a few use cases where RLSAs can be used to drive more qualified traffic to your website.

Improved Returning Visitors

One of the most common, and abusive, methods of retargeting is to show ads to people who have already been on your website. The problem is that this is like hitting a fly with a hammer in a lot of cases. How many times have you landed on a website, said “this isn’t what I was looking for” and left almost immediately, only to have remarketing ads chase you around the web for the next 2 weeks? With RLSA you can refine this target audience by saying, only show my new ads to people who were on my site for at least 2 minutes, or 3 minutes, or viewed more than 2 pages.

You can use site engagement as a metric to determine who to show your remarketing ads to.

Targeted Cart Abandonment

One of the larger issues for eCommerce sites is cart abandonment. There are few things more frustrating than to get a visitor all the way to the checkout page only to have them leave before paying you. We know that they were interested enough in your product to get that far, so they can only be considered a very qualified lead. Let’s target them by creating a specific list just for people who added to cart.

Upselling to More Expensive Programs / Products

RLSA can also be used to target customers you already have. Perhaps you sell a training series with a small lead-in product. You can create a list of just those people and show them the next product, or book, or lesson in the series.

Targeting Competitor Terms

Targeting a competitor’s term can be expensive. But what is a visitor is researching a specific product and has already been to your site? You can create an RLSA just for people that have been to your site and then search for your competitors. This allows you to bid extremely high for the terms with qualified leads.

Excluding Specific People

RLSAs can also be used to exclude audiences. Perhaps you have a one-time product where once a customer is sold you no longer want to advertise to them. You can set your RLSA to exclude people that have seen your thank you page.

As you can see, RLSA have huge potential to segment your visitors and ads to allow you to control your ads and bids at levels that have not been easily available before.

RLSA Bid Types

RLSAs are divided into two categories, Bid Only and Target and Bid.

Bid Only

Bid only ads are designed to allow you to automatically adjust your bids for your entire audience and keyword list. This creates a large audience pool where new viewers are shown your ads at your base price while people who have seen your site in the past will see the same ads but the bid price on the keyword will be higher.

This can be useful when you have a conversion funnel where it may take someone multiple visits to commit to a purchase. Your repeat visitors are worth more so you pay more for them to get your ads higher on the page.

Target and Bid

Target and Bid ads allow you to target specific audiences and keywords outside of your general AdWrods campaigns. Along with being able to set new bid prices you are also able to show them specific ads that will not be seen by your general list. Perhaps you want to offer a coupon code to a specific audience. With Target and Bid you can fine tune your ads, audiences, and keywords based on settings you create.

Some Final Thoughts

  • Make sure that your Privacy Policy is up to date
  • RLSA require at least 1,000 visits / cookies before they can begin to be used
  • RLSA works best when your conversion process requires multiple visits to your site
  • Maximum cookie duration is 180 days
  • Bid modifiers can range from -90% to +900%
  • Setting your bid modifier to 0 allows you to gther data in ‘test mode’ without changing your ad spend

RLSA has the potential to supercharge your AdWords campaigns. It is also possible to run through your entire budget in a very short amount of time. This is not a technique for the person with a $100 per month budget. If you are comfortable with creating and configuring AdWords campaigns then Remarketing Search Listing Ads may be something that you want to experiment with.

 

Steve Gerencser

I've been a lot of things over the years, restauranteur, comic book store owner, architect, jeweler, graphic designer, software developer and more. Through them all marketing has been a large part of every step of the way. I built my first website in late '96 or early '97 and started marketing online shortly after that. Since then I've seen almost all of it and try to bring real world business needs to our search marketing and PPC campaigns always with ROI first and foremost in our goals.

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