How to Set Up a Remarketing Campaign in Adwords

How to Set Up a Remarketing Campaign in Adwords

Depending on your business type, website, and goals, a remarketing (or retargeting) campaign can take many forms with greatly differing levels of sophistication. Regardless of form or function, the one thing that has become clear since remarketing was first introduced in Adwords nearly 4 years ago is that remarketing is here to stay.

As you know, remarketing is a display network targeting option that allows you to re-engage users who previously visited your site. Because these visitors have already interacted with your brand and website, they are often times further down the sales funnel than a visitor who has never been to your site before.

Based on typically strong results, we recommend that everyone run a remarketing campaign to help keep your brand fresh in the mind of recent site visitors. If you aren’t running a campaign now, no worries! Follow these easy steps and you can get a remarketing campaign up and running today.

1. Generate and install the remarketing code

In Adwords, navigate to ‘Shared Library > Audiences > Set up remarketing’ to receive the remarketing code and instructions for installation on your site. It’s important to remember that this code should go on ALL site pages. You will define your targeting parameters later and it is no longer necessary to individually tag pages with the code.

Adwords Audiences - Remarketing

2. Determine your remarketing goals and strategy

There are countless strategies that can be implemented depending on what is right for your business. For this example, we will cover one of the more basic and common strategies of targeting all site visitors who did not complete a conversion.

3. Create the appropriate Remarketing Lists for your strategy

Within the ‘Audiences’ tab, you can target your remarketing campaigns by including our excluding any group of site visitors by defining different site engagements that they completed on the site. In our example, we will need click ‘+Remarketing list’ to create a new remarketing list for all visitors who completed a conversion.

Create a Remarketing List

If a conversion is tracked when a user visits the page ‘/thankyou.html’ you will define this list using that page and name it something appropriate like, “Conversions.”

4. Create the appropriate Custom Combinations for your strategy

In order to target visitors who did not convert, you will have to do some simple math using your two remarketing lists, ‘All Visitors’ and ‘Conversions.’ Again, click on ‘+Remarketing list’ but this time select ‘Custom Combination.’

Remarketing Custom Combinations

 In the options, you will want to target “Any of these audiences:” ‘All Visitors’ and “None of these audiences:” ‘Conversions.’ Again, name your custom combination something appropriate like, “Non-Converting Visitors.”

5. Create a new campaign for remarketing

In Adwords, navigate back to ‘All Online Campaigns’ and create a ‘Display Network Only’ campaign. Select ‘Remarketing’ as your campaign subtype.

Display Network Remarketing Settings

 Follow the steps in Adwords to get your campaign started and be sure to select your newly created ‘Custom Combination’ when it comes time to select your targeting.

Like with the remarketing lists and custom combinations, be sure to give your new campaign a relevant name, preferably including the word ‘remarketing.’ Getting your Adwords account organization right the first time will truly pay dividends over time to not only your results, but also your sanity. This starts with proper naming conventions for all aspects of your account.

5. Measure, Optimize, Measure, Optimize…

Your remarketing campaigns, like all others, should always be a work in progress. Ad copy provides a never ending cycle of testing and refining to improve CTR and conversion rate while keyword bids changes with results and possibly the time-of-year.

Alternate Remarketing Strategies

We really just scratched the surface of remarketing targeting possibilities. Using Remarketing Lists in Google Analytics, you can target users based on additional engagement methods. Here are a few others to think about, though the possibilities are truly endless.

Targeting visitors who did not convert AND

  • Added a product to the shopping cart
  • Watched a video
  • Visited the Contact Us Page
  • Visited the blog
  • Did not visit the blog
  • Have visited the site more than 5 times

Targeting visitors who did convert AND

  • Placed an order of more than $100
  • Completed the Free Trial but not yet the paid subscription
  • Converted more than 30 days ago
  • Bought a television but not surround sound

Often times it is the sophistication and creativity that really makes a remarketing campaign a success. Try to think like your site visitors. Imagine what it is that caused them to leave your site during their previous visit and what exactly you can do to re-engage them. If you’re not thinking like this, you can be sure that your competition is.

Zach Etten

Zach is a seasoned leader with nearly 10 years of digital marketing experience. His analytical and goal focused approach has helped businesses achieve lofty growth initiatives through search, social, and content marketing. Outside of work, you can usually find Zach cheering on any of the Boston sports teams.