Remarketing in Google Ads: Creating Effective Campaigns and Lists for Higher Conversions


Learn about Remarketing, its function, and how to leverage it in your Digital Marketing strategy to achieve better results.

Remarketing, an integral aspect of online advertising, involves displaying ads to users who have previously interacted with a brand, such as visiting its website. To create effective remarketing lists, embedding a code on your website is essential, and platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads offer these codes for easy integration.

Understanding Remarketing

Remarketing, also known as Retargeting, involves showing ads to users who have previously engaged with a brand. The term “Remarketing” is used by Google, while other platforms, such as AdRoll and FetchBack, use “Retargeting.” This strategy aims to reach the same user multiple times, presenting ads after their initial interaction or search related to a specific topic.

The Purpose of Remarketing

Remarketing serves a clear objective: increasing conversions and subsequently boosting sales. The philosophy behind Remarketing is that not all users who see an ad for the first time will make a purchase immediately. In e-commerce, for instance, a mere 3% of visitors convert during their first visit, according to Google Ads data.


Especially for complex sales, like generating quote requests, the conversion rate remains even lower. Remarketing offers an opportunity to reconnect with potential customers who haven’t yet converted, ensuring that your brand remains in their minds as they make their decision.

The customer journey consists of various stages from initial contact to purchase, which can be divided into four distinct moments:

  1. Awareness: When individuals begin researching a topic without the intention of immediate purchase.
  2. Consideration: When users possess some knowledge and contemplate a purchase, often involving price comparisons and seeking recommendations.
  3. Purchase: The point of actual transaction.
  4. Loyalty: Post-purchase stage, focusing on repeat conversions.

Through a well-structured Remarketing plan, you can engage users in different stages of this funnel, guiding them toward subsequent stages.

How Remarketing Works

The functioning of Remarketing is straightforward, and Google Ads serves as a prime example.


Consider a scenario where you search for “Digital Marketing Software” on Google and click on a sponsored link in the search results. Upon visiting the advertiser’s website, a cookie is stored on your computer. This cookie is akin to a marker that Google uses to identify you. Subsequently, Google displays ads from the same website on affiliated sites with ad space (Display Network) or within search results (Search Network).

As a result, you encounter new ads over a period, encouraging you to convert. The typical Remarketing period spans around 30 days, though variations exist based on platforms and configurations.

Types of Remarketing in Google Ads: Display Network and Search Network

Google Ads offers two primary methods for Remarketing: Display Network and Search Network. Let’s delve into the distinction.

Remarketing on the Display Network

The Display Network comprises partner websites that allocate space on their pages for sponsored links. This space is utilized to display banners to users who are part of a Remarketing list. This is where you encounter the “persistent” promotions on various websites.


Example of a Display Network Ad: [Insert example image]

Each Remarketing platform has agreements with different sites to construct its Display Network. Thus, depending on your choice, your ads will be showcased on websites affiliated with that platform’s network. Additionally, partnerships often exist, allowing a single website to display ads from multiple networks.

Remarketing on the Search Network

Another form of Remarketing occurs on the Search Network. With this method, ads are shown within search results themselves. These ads are visible on Google search, Google Maps, Google Shopping, Google Images, Google Groups, and partner search engines.

Ads on the Search Network have a distinct format from Display ads. While Display banners can vary in size and design, Search Network ads follow the standard AdWords format, comprising text with limited characters.

A crucial difference between the Display and Search Networks lies in where ads appear. Display Network banners can be displayed on partner sites a user visits, regardless of whether they are actively searching for such content. In contrast, Search Network ads appear when a user conducts relevant searches on Google’s search engine, indicating high interest and potential conversion.

Other Forms of Remarketing: Facebook and Instagram

Remarketing can also be conducted on Facebook and Instagram, where ads appear within the social media network, whether in the news feed or sidebar. This approach is similar to the Display Network, keeping the brand visible to users who have engaged with it previously.

It’s worth noting that Remarketing on Facebook and Instagram often involves collaboration with partner companies like Perfect Audience and AdRoll.

Choosing the Right Remarketing Strategy

The ideal Remarketing strategy depends on your business’s goals and needs. Exploring the available options and adapting formats to suit your context is essential. Experimentation with various models can help refine your campaigns and yield optimal results.

Creating a Remarketing Campaign in Google Ads

The primary objective of a Remarketing campaign in the Search Network is to maintain your brand’s presence when users search for specific topics. The aim is to offer different options to users at varying stages of the purchasing process, such as providing offers to researchers or complementary products to previous buyers.

Installing Google Ads Tags

  1. Sign in to Google Ads.
  2. Click the Tools icon in the upper-right corner and select Audience Manager under the Shared Library section.
  3. On the left, click Audience sources. You’ll see a list of sources to create Remarketing lists.
  4. In the “Google Ads Tag” section, click Set up Tag. If you already have a tag configured, select Edit source from the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner of the “Google Ads Tag” box. If you only need the code, proceed to step 6.
  5. Choose the data type the tag will collect: standard data or specific attributes/parameters. You can also include the “User ID” parameter in the tag, collecting user IDs to display more targeted ads. If you choose specific attributes or parameters, select the business type that best represents your products or services.
  6. Click Create and Continue. For an existing tag, this button will display “Save and Continue.”
  7. Once the installation screen appears, the global site tag and event snippet will be ready for use. You can copy the code, use Google Tag Manager, download the tag, or email it to a webmaster. To integrate Remarketing on your website, copy the code and paste it between the <head></head> tags of your site. The global site tag should be placed on all website pages, while the event snippet should be added only to specific pages allowing dynamic Remarketing events.
  8. Click Finish.
  9. On the “What’s next?” confirmation screen, click Finish again.
  10. Optional: If you’ve already added the global site tag for another Google product, such as Google Analytics, add the ‘config’ command from the Google Ads tag (highlighted below) to each existing instance of the tag.

“AW-123456789” is just an example ID. Replace this part of the ‘config’ command with your client ID in the global site tag box.

<script async src=""></script> <script> window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);} gtag('js', new Date()); gtag('config', 'AW-123456789'); </script>

Creating a Remarketing List in Google Ads

Once the tag is set up, it’s time to develop strategies. Remarketing relies on lists, such as those of visitors to specific product-related URLs, pricing pages, or those who have completed a purchase on your website. Determine which audiences are most relevant for new ads.

To create Remarketing lists, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to Google Ads.
  2. Click the Tools icon and go to Audience Manager under the Shared Library section.
  3. Click Audience lists (you may already be here).
  4. To add a website visitor list, click the “+” button and select “Website visitors” (options include “App users,” “YouTube users,” and “Customer list”).
  5. On the ensuing page, name your Remarketing list descriptively. To make this work, a tag or event snippet should already be configured.
  6. Choose a template from the “List Members” dropdown.
  7. Select a rule set from the “Visited page” dropdowns. Define the pages on your site where you want to collect cookie data from visitors. The values can be keywords, numbers, or dates, based on the rule set and conditions you’ve selected for the list.
  8. Enter an initial list size, indicating the number of visitors you intend to capture over a specific period. To expand the list size, include visitors from the last 30 days.
  9. Determine the membership duration, the period a visitor remains on your list. Note that this setting can be adjusted at any time.
  10. Optionally, add a description for the audience.
  11. Click “Create audience.”
  12. Create as many Remarketing lists as needed. Then, create new campaigns and ad groups to include your lists.

Remarketing Strategies for the Search Network

Several approaches can be adopted when working with lists in the Search Network. Here are some examples to guide your strategy:

Optimizing Keyword Bids

Suppose your business offers Digital Marketing software and has an existing AdWords campaign with keywords like “Digital Marketing software.” To target users who have visited your website through this campaign but haven’t yet made a purchase, increase your keyword bids. This way, your ads have a better chance of appearing in subsequent searches, giving users another opportunity to engage.

Reducing Keyword Bids

Conversely, consider reducing keyword bids for products that typically generate single purchases. If a user has already converted, you may not want your ads to appear in their search results, conserving your ad budget for potential buyers who haven’t yet converted.

Customizing Ad Text

In the Search Network, you can tailor ad text to cater to specific audiences. By creating a duplicate campaign and modifying ads for the second version based on your strategy, you can offer unique incentives like “free shipping” or “10% discount.” These customizations can entice users who previously visited your site without converting to engage with your brand again.

Loyalty and Cross-Selling

For instance, if you run a website selling cameras and accessories like tripods and lenses, you can create a campaign specifically for these accessories. To execute this, utilize a Remarketing list based on customers who have purchased cameras from your site. This approach increases the likelihood of your ads appearing when users search for relevant accessories.

Final Tips for Building Remarketing Campaigns

  1. Focus on Relevant Audiences: Tailor your Remarketing efforts to audiences that align with your objectives.
  2. Craft Specific Ads: The closer your ad content matches user intent, the better. For example, users who visited your pricing page might respond well to an ad with an enticing discount.
  3. Optimize Landing Pages: Ensure your landing pages align with your ads’ intent, guiding users toward their desired goal.
  4. Continuously Analyze: Pay attention to metrics that measure campaign performance. While CPC (Cost Per Click) is important, also consider Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) – your actual spend per conversion.
  5. Avoid Overexposure: Be mindful not to bombard users with excessive ad displays. It’s generally recommended not to exceed 10 views per person.

Are you ready to leverage Remarketing to drive more conversions and sales for your business? By following these strategies and best practices, you can effectively use Remarketing to reconnect with potential customers and enhance your digital marketing efforts.

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