Given Google’s re-jiggered SERPs and the new emphasis on top-of-the-page ads, it’s high time to revisit some RLSA techniques that can put your ads (affordably) in the penthouse. (I just presented these at SearchFest, so I wrote this while I still have Portland coffee running through my veins.)

First, in case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s what the SERPs look like now:

image001

So, yeah. If you’re not on top, you’re not really playing to convert. And RLSA (remarketing lists for search ads, if you need the reminder) can help you get there. We’ll break RLSA techniques into three categories – Suppression, Amplification, and Conquesting – then bring Dynamic Search Ads into the picture.

Let’s get started.

Suppression techniques

Remember, RLSA is just as effective for excluding audience types from ad campaigns as it is in remarketing to them. A couple of examples:

  • If you’re running brand-awareness campaigns, use Customer Match to remove existing customers from search targets.
  • You can decrease bids for groups less likely to convert.

Amplification techniques

Where RLSA really shines is in the variety of ways you can use it to re-engage folks who have shown affinity to your brand. Four rock-solid tactics:

  • Use Customer Match to upsell to existing customers for a loyalty/retention assist. Note that this is especially effective when used on competitor terms (sometimes the best defense is a good offense).
  • Use RLSA to boost bids for groups more likely to convert (and remember to layer in LTV to refine bids even more effectively).
  • Correlate CVR to Google Analytics segments (Time on Site, Page Depth) to access keywords you otherwise couldn’t afford.
  • Combine with Dynamic Search Ads (more on that in a bit) and broad match keywords for better relevancy.

Conquesting techniques

If you’re looking to do a hostile takeover on users actively engaged with your competitors, RLSA is great for that. Among your best moves:

  • Aggressively position yourself on competitive terms in research-deep verticals.
  • Target keywords that only your competition currently bids on.
  • Employ very deliberate ad copy for those shopping around. Be creative; remember Seth Godin’s Purple Cow philosophy and try to ensure that your ads stand out!

RLSA + DSA = Winning

Dynamic Search Ads are great for filling gaps in keyword coverage and can highlight new ideas/products. They work very well for eCommerce, particularly for large catalogs…but they can also work for B2B if they’re used for content-rich sites.

That said, DSA isn’t foolproof – not by a long shot. But your odds get a lot better if you layer it with RLSA (tip: keep your DSA campaigns narrow and your RLSA audiences broad; this means you’re casting a wide net but using relevant messaging at the same time). And keep in mind that all the same RLSA benefits (and best practices) that we discussed above can apply to DSA.

Good luck!

Leave a Comment

Ada Pally
Ada Pally has worked in marketing since 2002 and online marketing since 2005. Prior to joining 3Q Digital in November of 2011, Ada worked as both an in-house marketer and a consultant advising companies on digital strategies. Her focus on measurement while developing brand integrity has performed across industries and for companies of all sizes. Ada specializes in paid search, display, SEO and email marketing, combining her dual degrees in English and Marketing to create SEM strategies that perform for the entire business.