Last Updated: March 22nd
Dynamic Remarketing on AdWords Comprehensive Guide 
In this guide you will learn how to get more results from previous visitors across the Google Display Network.
We'll talk about standard versus dynamic remarketing, creating display ads and bidding.
This guide is long though, so be feel free to save it and come back to it whenever you need to!
Lets get started...
If you are already running campaigns on Adwords, but are not taking advantage of remarketing, you are losing out on a huge revenue stream.
Once you set up your remarketing, you’ll be able to show ads through Google Display Network with options of creating ads in static, or dynamic options. Read on to learn more...
Display remarketing shows ads to users based on website behavior on your website or other audience signals across googles display network. This can help you re engage the previous users with personalized ads. we look at previous users and they’re more likely to convert if they return to your website. that means there’s a lot of people who come to your site or your app and have expressed interest in and for whatever reason haven’t converted yet.
So, display remarketing gives you the chance to reach those users across the display network. The display network made up of two million sites and apps that include Gmail and YouTube. and has more than one trillion impressions per month and reaches 90% of internet users. So, your users are already on the network. it’s simple to reach out to them again using display remarketing. long customer journeys offer more opportunities to re-engage with users. your customers often visit multiple sites and multiple pages on your site before making a purchase. customers visit websites at least 6 times before they purchase from your business. So, there are lots of opportunities to reconnect with potential customers along the buyer’s journey.
Conversion rates may vary. However, visitors who are closer to making a final purchase are more likely to return and convert than a new user. So, it says implications and how you'll create lists, connect with users, and how you'll even bid for them. So, display remarketing allows you to re-engage with previous visitors across the display network using a variety of ad formats, signals from your website, you have a lot of control and flexibility on how you engage with these previous visitors and help them become customers. Display remarketing is also great for any account size large or small as they all can benefit from PPC remarketing.
- filling out a form
- visiting a site
- going to a page
- coming from a specific channel (social, organic search, etc.)
So, the way dynamic remarketing works is when a visitor comes to your site, AdWords automatically places them in a list. You then create dynamic remarketing ads which connect to the feed so when your websites visitor is on a page or an app (that's part of the play network) the user can see an add contain the actual products they viewed on your website. So, for example, in e-commerce these ads can show the actual product the user viewed so dynamic remarketing is preferred when you have large sites or structured websites. On average, advertisers using dynamic remarketing see up to twice the conversion rate and 60% lower CPAs then static remarketing.
Once you have dynamic remarketing setup it's time to create dynamic ads. Dynamic ads automatically include the products that were viewed on the site. Dynamic remarketing should utilize dynamic responsive ads as they can show in many ad formats. Responsive ads give you access to more inventory and reach by adapting to fit over 2 million sites and apps on the Display Network. This gives you access to image text and native inventory. As dynamic ads are created based upon the user behavior, you need to create specific dynamic ads.
There are two specific ad types. The first is dynamic responsive ads. If you use dynamic responsive ads, the format will create both image, and text ads for you. This is the preferred format since it's only one type of ad to manage. There is dynamic image ads. If you want to customize the look and feel of your images then you can create dynamic image ads. However, the preferred format to start with is dynamic responsive ads.
To test and see for yourself how different ads created for the ad gallery template perform, create two or three different ads and see which one gives you the best results.
Pick one of your ad groups with enough traffic and go to the image gallery.
Create an ad and customize the ads images, colors, the call to action and the ad message. (Another type of user benefit).
Create a different ad with a change, such as a different call to action or color. Be sure to change only one thing at a time to do a proper AB split test.
Compare the metrics between the ads to see which performs better and pause the one that's under performing.
Doing a proper proper AB split-test is vital to improving your display remarketing and getting better results for your campaigns.
Creating Standard Remarketing Ads
There are three ways to create static ads for your remarketing ad groups.
Responsive Ads - These show text, image, and native ad formats
Ad Templates - These are image ads that can be built and customized within AdWords interface
Upload your own - You can upload your own if you don't wish to use any templates.
You should always create a responsive ad since these show in many ad formats, including both image and text. Creating image ad formats is optional, but useful if you want to customize the look and feel of your image ads.
When it comes to creating image ads, there are several options when creating the images:
Upload your own images
Use the Ad Gallery Template to customize your ads
Use the Ad Gallery Ideas to scan your website and easily create the ads.
If you upload your own ads, you can either create them in all sizes, or you can upload them in the following sizes to be resized by google and reach 95% of display placements:
Alternatively, you can upload HTML5 ads and Google outlines technical requirements for HTML5 ads. Otherwise, you can use Google's free tool, Google Web Designer, to create HTML5 ads without any coding necessary.
The ad ideas feature will scan your landing page and automatically create ad templates for you. You can choose one or more of these templates to use. You can choose one or more of these ad templates to use. For each ad template you can customize the ads by changing the logo, images, and other ad options. A big advantage of using these templates is that they're automatically created in multiple sizes so it is very easy to get started using image ads.
And now finally if you want to create image ads with an AdWords interface we don’t want to start with any ad ideas. You can use the blank template to fully customize your image ads. To test and see for yourself which performs better for you, ads created in the ad gallery templates or ads based on your own images, perform these steps:
- Create an ad using the ad gallery, and apply a label to these ads in AdWords as "Ad Gallery"
- Then upload your own ads, and apply a label in AdWords based upon their themes
- Compare the metrics for either sets of ads by viewing your performance data by label
Some things to consider...
Think through your organization. As you create ads, always consider the remarketing list in that ad group and your ads are ADA complaint. If the ad does not appeal to every list in the ad group, use fewer lists per ad group or change your ads so your ads are always relevant to the users in the list.
Here we will learn how to tag your site using Google AdWords or Google Analytics to create remarketing lists and add those lists to ad groups or campaigns.
We will also cover the difference between the “Bid only” and “Target & bid” settings, which determine the reach of your ads and which strategy to use.
There are two places you can make an audience list. The first is in Google Analytics. If you're going to use Google Analytics, you must first put Google Analytics on every page of your website. Then, you need to link AdWords and Google Analytics together. To do this, go to Admin > Audience Definitions > Audiences.
Once you've linked AdWords to your Analytics, you can then create a new audience. Now, when you go there you'll first see some pre-built audiences. Such as smart lists, all users, and so forth. You can choose one of these lists or you can create custom lists. Custom lists can be very powerful and very specific if you want to make custom lists. For instance, you could reinforce other offers, channels, or other marketing objectives with custom lists.
So for instance, you could put high value email converters in one list. This allows you to use ads that reinforce an email message and only show your ad to the highest checkup value customers. Now again there's a lot you can do here but it's best just to start simple. Remarketing lists that includes Google's display network demographic dimension information such as age and gender cannot be used in remarketing list search ads (RLSA) but they can be used in display remarketing.
Therefore, it's useful when you're using Analytics if you're going to use the list for both display and RLSA remarketing, that you do not use demographic based information. Now if you want to use demographic information for your display remarketing list then create one list that can be used for display, then, make another list without the demographic based information to be used for RLSA.
You can also make lists in AdWords. First you need to setup the remarketing tag across your website. This can be done by going to your Tools > Audience manager > Audience sources. Once a tag is setup you can then create your remarketing list through the Audience lists section of the Audience manager. AdWords lists are easy to build. There's less options than you have in Google Analytics but they're much easier to setup. The lists are very basic, for example, people who've visited a page or visited page one and two. So, if you want simple and easy to create use the AdWords tag. If you want very complex lists then use Google Analytics. Of course, if you already have Google Analytics on your website then you go ahead and use Analytics lists anyway.
Now when you create lists it doesn't matter if it's in Google Analytics or in AdWords, you need to define a list duration. So, by default a user is in your audience for 30 days you can adjust the membership time from 1 to 540 days before the cookies will expire. You can also use Google tag manager. Now, if you're using Google tag manager you can easily add additional tags for either AdWords or Google Analytics across your website.
In this section we're going to look at how to apply audiences to display campaigns.
The first step is if you're using Google Analytics, ensure that your accounts are linked together then switch over to Google AdWords. Now to add the audience to an ad group select your campaign, go to the audience tab, and create an audience.
Then, go to "select an ad group" and choose Targeting (recommended) > Remarketing and select the appropriate list. Repeat this for each ad group.
You can also add exclusions to your account from the same interface. So, navigate to the "exclusions" tab and select either campaign or ad group exclusion. If you're adding a remarketing exclusion choose remarketing and choose the appropriate list.
For adding bulk lists use the AdWords editor. To do this download the account to the editor. Next, select the ad group or campaigns where you want to apply a list. Then under the keywords and targeting section, select Audiences. The next step is to highlight all the audiences you want to apply the list to. Selected edit and add the audience and save it. Finally post it to the account.
Tip: When adding a list to multiple ad groups - only for display - you want to use the "target and bid" setting
There are two setting options for audience targeting, Target & Bid vs Bid Only. They are very different in how they reach users. You should use Bid Only when you want to trigger your ad off any keyword or targeting method in the ad group. You only want to use audiences as bid modifiers. Now, adding all lists to all search ad groups with bid only can help you see additional information within your account. You can leave the bid adjustment to +0% which means your bids won't change. Also, you'll collect stats on how the lists perform without changing your bids.
The other option is 'Target & Bid'. So, if only want to show an add to a user who searches for a keyword and they're in one of your audience lists. Then, you want to use target and bid. So, if you're showing different ads or keywords to users in a list than new users. Now across the Display Network you want to use target and bid in most cases because this will maximize your reach.
As a note, if you add an audience with target and bid to an existing search campaign, you'll see your traffic go down. If you think about it, you already have an existing set of keywords that are receiving traffic. Using target & bid means the user must search for the keyword and be in the audience to see your ad.
In this section we will look at your remarketing bidding options. First off you could do manual or automated bidding. If you want full control over your bids use manual bidding. However, using one of the automated bidding solutions can save you a huge amount of time and generally leads to better overall results. If you're going to use manual bidding consider using enhanced CPC bidding. Which will automatically raise or lower your bids based upon the likelihood of a conversion and to receive some bid assistance for your manual bids. An easy way to test and see if automated bidding works better than manual bidding for you is to use drafts and experiments.
Follow these steps:
- Create a draft of your display remarketing campaign
- Change the bid method to target CPA in the draft campaign
- Launch an experiment from the draft to test automated bidding
- Continue making manual bid adjustments to the original campaign
- Compare the metrics for both campaigns to see which bidding method performs better and more efficiently
If you're focused on specific CPAs then using the automated bid option of target CPA is a great bid system as it will automate your bids based upon your target CPAs. Using conversion optimizer, on average, users see a 20% increase in conversions at the same, or lower, CPA. If you've got a variable sale amount then consider migrating to ROAS bidding. Especially for using dynamic remarketing. When target ROAS is paired with dynamic remarketing, advertisers see 40% better return on ad spend. Ecommerce businesses especially should consider target ROAS.
There are some best practices within structure to think with your remarketing campaigns. It's recommended to consolidate lists ad groups and campaigns to help make reporting and optimization decisions easier and more streamlined. Therefore, they'll be based more on statistically relevant insights. This is true for both manual bidding, as well as automated bidding strategies. Now for dynamic remarketing it's recommended to leverage the automatically created list as much as possible. If you only use static remarketing, it's recommended to create lists that reflect the customer journey on your website or any product segmentation that you may have.
So you have your remarketing setup, now it's time to improve upon your already existing campaigns.
In this section we will go over best practices and different ways to measure and grow your campaigns.
Are you ready?
With display remarketing, if you know the user has been on our site, we might want to loosen some of the targeting constraints that we use in other campaigns. We think about the language setting, if we're using automated bid strategies then AdWords will automatically optimize the language targeting for performance. As the users already been in the site, it's best then to open the language targeting options so that user switches the system they're on and there’s a different language setting they can still see your ads. Now, if your site is in multiple languages, it is best to create your list per language so you can match the ads and the audience to the same language combinations.
When you think about the locations, if you're using automated bid strategies then average will automatically optimize location target for performance. But users are mobile and often traveling. It can be useful to expand your location targeting for those users who were in your target location when they first came to your site, and since they've left the locations that you're targeting but they may still be interested in their product. This might expand to other countries if the users commonly gift items from one country to another.
A tip that you can take is to try a small-scale experiment. Create a test campaign that targets areas outside of your norm and compare it to your standard campaign and see if there is a conversion lift.
To see if expanding your targeting while user remarketing will help you reach more customers, you can test this and see for yourself using the following steps:
- Create a draft of your display remarketing campaign
- Change the geographic target to be all countries
- You can also remove other restrictions such as time of day
- Launch the draft campaign as an experiment
- Compare the total conversions and CPA between the two campaigns to see if removing restrictions will help with your remarketing
Users in your remarketing list have shown an interest in your products or your services. Therefore, it's useful to remove some ad serving restrictions such as excluded placements. If you do this it's always recommended that you watch your stats. Exclude off-brand placements from your remarketing lists. Keep in mind that if you're using automated bid strategies, AdWords will automatically optimize your placements for performance. If you exclude certain types of content from a brand management standpoint then of course feel free to exclude those same types of content from your remarketing ad groups.
Another consideration is frequency capping. A frequency cap is how often a user can see an ad in a time frame. This can be customized in your campaign settings. If you're using automated bidding, Google will automatically optimize for conversions or ROAS. This means that if a user is less likely to convert, your ad is unlikely to show resulting in an automated optimization of ad frequencies. If you're using manual bidding, Google optimizes towards clicks and CTR. So, if a user is less likely to click, your ad is unlikely to show which as well naturally manages frequency.
Tip: Keep things fresh by using 2-3 different ads or offers for static remarketing campaigns.
In this section we're going to look at how to measure your remarketing success. One way to look at this is the direct response picture. You can look at each remarketing list and its conversions to tell how successful each list is if you're just measuring last touch points.
Now, if you see that an ad group has one list converting and another was not, you might consider moving the non-converting list to another ad group and pair the different ads and landing pages. Then you can set your bids by each list based upon your target goals. If your focus is on multi-touch point attribution you can examine your assisted conversion values and view-through conversion data to see how remarketing is contributing to your overall success. This is very useful on long consumer journeys as the average user visits websites at least six times in the purchase process.
Examining additional data points beyond just the last click attribution can give you a fuller picture of your remarketing success. Though, another way to examine remarketing success is just to measure the conversion rates of users who visit your site two or more times to see if the total conversions are increasing from those visitor types. But don't forget to also examine how many more people are coming back to your site multiple times. Even if the conversion rates aren’t going up if more people are coming back, they're still likely to see an increase in total conversions.
Growing your display remarketing
Your remarketing lists are dependent on how many users you can get to your site. Often, there are other audience targeting options you can use but have similar performance to remarketing. One of these is similar audience. Similar audiences or look-alikes, are auto-created lists of users that are similar to another list that is already in your account. You can add these lists to their own ad groups to expand your reach to users that behave similarly to your previous site visitors. It's recommended to create a separate campaign for these audiences then for remarketing so we can easily view and manage its marketing tactic separately.
Tip: Adding similar audiences can grow your remarketing conversions by up to 38% compared to using remarketing alone.
You also have in-market audiences. In-market audiences are users who are researching a product or service. By adding these audiences to their own ad groups, you're reaching users who are actively researching for products or services in your niche. Again, it's recommended to create a separate campaign for in-market audiences so you can view and manage each marketing tactic separately.
We can easily test and see if similar audience and in-market audience targeting can improve performance. This is very useful to find customers who are either similar to your current customers or people actively considering buying.
To compare the two, follow these steps:
- Create a new Display Network campaign and add an ad group
- Add similar audiences when selecting "Interests & Remarketing" to target for that ad group
- Create another Display Network campaign and add an ad group
- Add the in-market audiences that you want to reach when selecting "Interests & Remarketing" to target
- Examine each campaign's performance to see how many additional conversations you can get with these other targeting methods
Now if you're using static remarketing and you want even more personalized experience, Try dynamic remarketing.
You can also use remarketing on YouTube. If you're running video campaigns consider adding a remarketing list to your video targeting.
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Another option you have is known as auto targeting. Auto targeting allows you to expand your overall conversions by targeting users who are not in your lists. There are two options, one is conservative auto-targeting. Conservative auto-targeting will slightly expand your marketing and usually has a similar CPA. This is best for tight CPA goals and limited budgets and anybody can use conservative targeting.
The other option is aggressive auto-targeting. This targeting option can significantly expand your marketing but the CPAs can fluctuate quite a bit, so this is best for getting the most conversions possible. Aggressive targeting examines your conversion data to determine how to show your ads. Since aggressive targeting examines conversion data to survey, you must have at least 15 conversions in the past month to enable the option.
So, an easy way to pitch display remarketing within your company is to look at your own data to make data-driven decisions. Now, one good report to use is known as ad clicks per conversion. Your ad clicks per conversion shows you how many ad clicks you receive before a user converts. If you see your ad clicks per conversion is above 1, that means many users are clicking on your ads multiple times before buying. This is an indication that users need to visit your site multiple times before they convert. Using display remarketing can help ensure your ads are viewed by these interested users.
Another good report is visits to conversion analysis. This report shows how many times a user visited your site before they converted. This report considers multiple channels. Using display remarketing and this report can help increase your total coverage for those additional visits. Find this in Google Analytics under Conversions.
Tip: Remarketing allows for more cross-channel integration since you can remarket based on almost any way you measure.