Remarketing, in its most simple definition, is marketing towards people who are already familiar with your product/service and have already expressed some interest, whether they visited your website, signed up for a newsletter, created a free account, or even filled up a shopping cart and then abandoned it.

The interest that one consumer takes towards your product/service is usually harder to determine and put a value on; that’s what keeps us marketers up at night!

Whether you’re trying to sell products or services, collect leads, etc., questions you may ask yourself are: how interested really was this person who visited my page and did not convert? How far did he/she get on my website? Was he/she actually interested at all, or did he/she just land on my page by mistake? The good news is that we can answer some of these questions. By placing pixels in your website’s funnel, you can see how far a user actually made it, and by using whatever action it is you consider a conversion, you can exclude converting visitors from the remarketing list.

In this post, I’m going to show you how to set up a remarketing campaign – specifically, how to create custom audiences in Google. By way of example, I’ll focus on a client that offers an online service, and I’ll show you how to work through the following steps:

1) Create a remarketing list for people who landed on a particular landing page on your site and did not convert.

First step is to go into Google UI for the account, and then go down to the bottom left to the ‘Shared library’.  In the library you will see your Audiences; here’s where the magic happens!!

adwords shared audiences

Here you can make your different audiences by selecting the drop-down ‘+ New Audience’. Your choices for new audiences include ‘Remarketing list’ (where you can make a list of ‘visitors of a page’, or a list of ‘visitors of a page with a specific tag’) and ‘Custom Combination’ (where you make a list to include any/each/or none of a specific list or tag, and then you can add more filtered views of other made lists or tags).

That was a little confusing, but let me break it down.

First, you have to check to see if there is an existing tag set up (since my client is an established AdWords user, we already have three existing tags).

remarketing tags

In this screenshot above, you can see that there are already three tags in my client’s account; these tags are essentially the following:

Remarketing – tag based on anyone who visited one of our pages

Non-Paid Conversion – tag based on anyone whovisited our site and signed up for a free registration

Paid Conversion – tag based on anyone who visited one of our pages, signed up for free, and then paid for a service

Note: If you are brand-new to AdWords and want to show ads to customers on a remarketing list, you’ll need to paste the remarketing tag in all pages of your website. From there, you can go to the ‘Audiences’ and create the different tags based on your website funnel.

So for my existing client I built a ‘Remarketing List’ that is ‘Rule Based’ and consists of visitors to a certain page. You can name the list appropriately to what web page they the audience list consists of (this one is for sample only), and then enter the URL of the page into the box below with the arrow pointed to it. Then you can adjust the membership duration, which is basically how long the cookie on the visitor of the site will be placed. Then add a description in the box at the end for your own reference and save.

new remarketing adwords

2)  Create another ‘New Audience’: a ‘Custom Combination’ 

What you see in the screenshot below is that the ‘Custom Combination’ list includes any of the audiences from the ‘Rule Based’ list of Visitors to Sample Site, and then includes none of these audiences for someone who has had a paid conversion.

So basically, we are going to show our ads to someone who has been to “sample site” in the past 30 days, and not show our ads to the people that went to the site and led to a paid conversion.

paid conversion remarketing

Now you’ve verified your ‘Paid Conversion Tag’, created your ‘Rule Based’ List consisting of visitors to a specific site in the last 30 days, then made the ‘Custom Combination’ list of people who visited that site in the past 30 days, and did not lead to a paid conversion. You’re ready to go into AWE to complete the final step: setting up your ad group.

In AWE, if starting from scratch, you will need to make a new remarketing campaign, set the budgets, settings, targeting etc.  But for simplicity I will show how to set up an ad group that will target the ‘Custom Combination’ list that was made.

3)  Set up remarketing ad group

ad group remarketing

So you can create the new ad group and call it something like “Sample Site Abandonment,” where Sample Site is the website from the ‘Rule Based’ list above, and “abandonment” signifies the users didn’t represent paid conversions.

Then in this new ad group, go to ‘Targeting’ at the top main ribbon, then ‘Audiences’ in the second ribbon, then +Assign Audience. Here you can select the ‘User Lists’ tab, and then go and select the ‘Custom Combination’ list that you built (Visitors to Sample Site w/o Paid Conversion).

Here you set your Max CPC bid depending on how you see fit (remember, be aggressive since they are people that visited your site and didn’t convert – but keep in mind there’s a reason they didn’t convert). Then update the text and/or image ads that will bring this audience back to your website!

4) Rinse and repeat (with a bit of analysis)

The next steps are to take your other high-traffic landing pages and build more ‘Custom Combination’ lists of audiences that landed on those specific pages and didn’t lead to paid conversions. For this specific client, four ‘Custom Combination’ lists (in four separate ad groups) were made to remarket to the people who landed on our highest-traffic sites and didn’t lead to paid conversions. We structured the bids similarly since they were the top landing pages.

But if you remember from before (and made it this far into the blog), we have three ‘Tags’: remarketing, non-paid conversion, and paid conversion. For “non-paid conversion,” there’s a bit of a twist:

custom combination edit

For this scenario, we built another ‘Custom Combination’ list, “Signed Up for free w/o leading to Paid Conversion,” which included audiences of non-paid conversions (people who signed up for free), and didn’t include the audiences of people who led to a paid conversion (people who paid for a service).

This remarketing list shows ads to audiences who took the time to sign up and register for free, which to us means that this audience is way more valuable than someone who just landed on a page. If your funnel resembles my client’s, this custom combination will outperform the other ad groups by far, and will trigger a higher bid to make sure you reach this high-quality audience.

How are you using Google’s remarketing capabilities? We’d love to hear about other use types in the comments.

Leave a Comment

Miguel Madrigal
Miguel Madrigal, who joined 3Q Digital in January 2013, comes from a background of inside sales and account managing and has worked in industries such as commercial refrigeration, printed apparel, and distribution. He is a die-hard 49ers fan and follows all Bay Area sports. Miguel has a BS from Chico State University in Business Management as well as minors in Latin American Studies and Spanish. In his free time, he likes motorcycle riding (on- and off-road), camping, fishing, and spending time with his family and friends.