3.0 Custom combinations
4.0 Dynamic remarketing
8.0 Useful data you can get from Remarketing campaigns
9.0 Privacy questions
10.0 Best practice
11.0 Top tips for success
Remarketing is an incredibly powerful tool for
re-engaging with people who have visited your
website. Remarketing can help you:
• Decrease your CPA (Cost per acquisition)
• Increase your brand awareness
• Increase your conversion rate by getting
people back to abandoned checkouts
• Promote additional products and services
to the right audience
The main difference between remarketing and
standard display is how the audience is targeted.
remarketing targets ‘the person’ who has already
visited your site and engaged with your brand,
products or services. This is where the true power
of Remarketing lays and, when the right strategy
is applied, it can drive great results.
Google AdWords is the system that is used to run
display advertising across the Google Display
Formally known as the Google Content Network
it has undergone many changes over the years.
Targeting is one area that has seen much
effectively. The visual element means the user
has to do less when being reminded about what
they were doing on your site. A relevant well
presented banner will receive a much better
response and as they say “a picture is worth
a thousand words”.
improvement and the traditional methods of
targeting contextually or by placement has been
expanded. Advertisers are now able to use
demographics, behavioural and interests to
target or exclude audiences.
The Display Ad Builder is another development
and a tool which offers many banner templates
for businesses to use. Branding, product images
and messaging just need adding. Often the cost
of having creative designed and built can be a
barrier for companies wanting to run banner
advertising. The Display Ad Builder offers a range
of banner sizes and styles with animation already
built in that can make set up quicker and more
cost effective. It is worth noting that, although it is
possible to make visually appealing creative in the
Display Ad Builder it will rarely look as good as
when it has been crafted by a design team.
Businesses can run remarketing campaigns
through AdWords using standard PPC text ads.
This is by far the quickest way of setting up a
campaign, but rarely performs as well. Banner ads
stand out much more on page and communicate
the brand, product or service visually and more
A picture is worth
a thousand words.
How does it work?
The fundamental principles of remarketing are
fairly simple and work around lists. A piece of
code is added across the whole site which allows
for a user to be tracked. (Privacy is addressed
later) This forms a master remarketing list.
(A list is essentially a list of people who have
visited a website).
From the master list specific lists can be created.
These are defined by URL rules which allow for
all or part of URLs to be included or excluded.
Some lists commonly found could include:
• Category pages
• Product pages
• Stages of the checkout process
• Any URL that includes/excludes a certain word
• Sales/Enquiry confirmation page
A piece of code is
added across the whole
site which allows for a
user to be tracked.
When lists are combined to form custom
combinations it is easy to see why remarketing
can be so effective. Custom combinations are
created by using two or more lists to define a
specific audience. A simple example of this can
be seen in fig 1.
Relevant ads can now be served to this
audience. This is a generic strategy, but
useful as it will engage with all non-converting
costumers. These combinations can create
very specific audiences which allow for highly
relevant creative and offers be served. Such as
people who view a product and start the
check-out process but drop out.
Creative can be tailored to that user’s journey
and offer an incentive for them to come back
and complete the order. The banner can include
the product that was placed in the basket,
messaging addressing the exit (e.g. Complete
your order now) and the incentive (e.g. 10%
off discount code).
Targeting very specific audiences with highly
relevant creative is the ideal strategy but is more
time intensive. If your site has ten products or
services then ten sets of banners need creating.
A combination of a wide and specific strategy
can be used, with the specific strategy starting
by targeting the most important products
Targeting very specific
audiences with highly
relevant creative is the
Any of these audiences
None of these audiences
Users who hit the
Dynamic remarketing is one of the recent
developments in AdWords. It links up with
your Google Shopping Feed, allowing for
products which have been viewed to be
pulled directly into a banner.
If you are an online retailer then dynamic
remarketing will be a highly effective tool
to use. The tag is slightly different though
and parameters will need to be set across
all product pages.
If you are an online
retailer then dynamic
remarketing will be a
highly effective tool.
Dynamic remarketing banner example.
Key Example values Definition
Product ID: Must match the product ID from
the Google Merchant Center feed. This allows
the dynamic ad to show people the exact
product that they viewed.
Home, search results, category, product, basket,
Page type: Indicates which page people visited.
You need to use one of the values that are listed
in the middle column. A value must be present
on each page. These values might be for the lists
AdWords created for you, as well as for pages
not covered by the other values.
Every page needs to have a page type value.
Total value: Specify the value of the product. On
a basket or purchase page, you need to specify the
total value (summing up the value of all products).
This value might be used in automated bidding
optimisation, and may also be used to categorise
your lists into groups according to the value
Table: Basic parameters and their definitions (support.google.com)
As with all AdWords campaigns there is a
great level of control, and remarketing is
no different. There are a range of bidding,
targeting and ad control options that will
play a major role in the success of your
campaign, helping to make the campaign
more efficient, giving better returns.
On the right are some of the campaign
settings that can be used:
• Increase or decrease bids over certain
• Frequency capping limits the number
of times your ads appear on the Google
Display Network to a unique user
• We would recommend around five
impressions per week per unique user
• CPC – Cost per click. Charged every time a
banner is clicked on. We would recommend
all campaigns are started in this way
• CPM – Cost per thousand. Charged for every
1,000 impressions served regardless of clicks
• Set how much the campaign can spend per day
• Target users in certain locations
• Specify which hours and days you want the
ads to run
options help make a
campaign more efficient,
giving better returns.
PolicyBee is an independent, professional
insurance broker, providing dedicated
insurance services to consultancies,
freelancers and contractors.
Paid search is a major channel for PolicyBee
which operates in an incredibly competitive
market place. To help stay engaged with
potential costumers PolicyBee uses
remarketing in a number of strategic ways.
PolicyBee uses both generic and very
specific lists to target users who have either
not obtained a quote or purchased a policy.
Example of custom combination lists:
• Accounting-no quote
People who hit the site and do not quote
People who get a quote but have not bought a policy
Paid search is a major
channel for PolicyBee
which operates in an
Profession specific example creative:
Cost per quote decreased by:
Click to quote increased by:
Quote conversion paths that
Notcutts is a well-established brand and has been
helping gardeners since 1897. It has a number of
gardening centres around the UK and also an
Remarketing for ecommerce is even more
essential since Google Shopping has been
completely moved over to a paid model.
Incentive-led remarketing has been used to help
maintain sales and revenue in an increasingly
competitive market place.
Example of custom combination list:
• People who have visited the site but
have not purchased
Offer example creative:Incentive-led
remarketing has been
used to help maintain
sales and revenue.
Sale example creative:
Users who purchased after being
served an incentive led banner:
Overall revenue has increased by:
Useful data you can get
from remarketing campaigns
Within AdWords-reporting a range of useful
information can be pulled through any display
campaign that is running. These reports can tell
you some useful information about who is
interacting with your ads and where it is
Some of the data that can be seen is:
• Placements (websites)
• Time reports (month,week, day, hour)
As we have already established, remarketing serves
ads to people who have already engaged with your
site. If they do come back and convert it can be a
good indication of the type of audience that could
be targeted in a traditional display campaign.
By looking at this data you may find that the
majoity of your conversions come on Monday
evenings from males aged 25-30 who live in
London and use eBay, YouTube and Autotrader,
This profile can then be used to build out a
display campaign which targets only this criteria,
with relevant creative, increasing your Brand
visibility to the whole of this audience.
can tell you some useful
information about who
is interacting with your
ads and where it is
Some people view advertising like remarketing,
as an invasion of privacy, stalking or a little bit
creepy. It is perfectly legal, but there are policies
and guidelines that advertisers need to follow:
Policy for advertising based on interests
on any use of AdWords features which happens
on your site or app
• You aren’t allowed to run interest-based
advertising campaigns that collect personally
identifiable information (PII) including, but not
limited to, email addresses, telephone numbers
and credit card number
• You aren’t allowed to use or associate
personally identifiable information with
remarketing lists, cookies, data feeds or
other anonymous identifiers
• You aren’t allowed to use or associate targeting
information, such as demographics or location,
with any personally identifiable information
collected from the ad or its landing page
• You aren’t allowed to share any personally
identifiable information with Google through
your remarketing tag or any product data feeds
which might be associated with your ads
Full policy requirements can be found here:
Remarketing is not about bombarding a user until
they give in and click on an ad. Some advertisers
take this strategy, but it will affect your click
through rates (CTR’s). It can also annoy the user
who, in turn, gets annoyed with your business.
This is why frequency capping is so important
and in many cases the lower the better. We would
recommend only serving ads to a user around
three-five times per week.
Different industry sectors may require additional
levels of sensitivity when remarketing. If you are a
solicitor, provide health advice or dealing with any
personal and sensitive matters how and when ads
are served needs to be taken into consideration or
you could damage your brand reputation.
An employee has a dispute at work which
escalates and legal advice is needed. The
employee searches for solicitors at work and
the site he lands on is running a remarketing
campaign. The campaign then serves ads to the
employee at work which the company could
In this case it is worth considering if remarketing
is the right channel. If a campaign was to run, one
way around the issue of ads being served in work
hours is to implement ad scheduling.
The campaign could be set to run only between
1900-0000 weekdays and all day on the weekends.
We would recommend
only serving ads to a
user around three-five
times a week.
Top tips for success
1. Get the remarketing tag on your site
ASAP. It takes time to build lists
2. Define your remarketing strategy.
What is the objective?
3. Offer incentives where possible
4. Use custom combinations to create
very specific audiences
5. Create tailored creative to each
audience.Things to remember:
• What were they looking at?
• Where did they drop out?
• What messaging or incentive is needed
to finish the conversion?
6. Make sure your campaign
• CPC (cost per click) bidding and not
CPM (cost per thousand)
• Frequency capping is set to around
five per week
7. Ad scheduling
• B2B advertisers might want to consider
only running campaigns during office hours
• Is your campaign suitable to be displayed
within office hours?
8. Bid modifiers
• Are there key periods where conversions are
higher than usual? Bids could be up weighted
over these period to increase visibility
9. Mine the data out of the remarketing
campaign to get a better understanding
of the audiences that are visiting
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