As a digital marketer, you’ll know that attracting potential customers to your site is only one piece of the puzzle. The other, more lucrative piece is convincing these potential customers to become customers.
Google Ads remarketing is a powerful tool for businesses to remain connected with these potential customers after they leave your website, and to encourage them toward making their first purchase (and hopefully many more thereafter!)
In this post, we’ll dig deep into Google Ads remarketing best practices to give you the information you need to build effective strategies, increase conversions, and maximise customer engagement.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What is Google Ads Remarketing (Retargeting)?
- How to Set Up a Google Remarketing Campaign
- Best Practices for Google Ads Remarketing
- Ad Formats
- Google Remarketing Ads Example
What is Google Ads Remarketing (Retargeting)?
Google Ads remarketing is a type of behavioural retargeting that displays adverts from websites users have visited in other places around the web. This tool can be used by advertisers via the Google Display Network to retain the visibility of their brand and encourage further interactions with the view to achieve a desired commercial outcome.
Google Ads remarketing works by placing cookies when someone visits your site, then bidding on advertising space on other websites they visit. If the bid is successful, the past visitor will see an advertisement for the brand in question.
What are the Different Types of Remarketing Campaigns?
There are several types of remarketing campaigns, each allowing a business to target customers differently in pursuit of their goals:
- Remarketing Lists for Search Ads: Past visitors are segmented in Google Analytics and ads are tailored accordingly, giving you a high degree of control over the type of advertising each past visitor sees. Find out more about Remarketing Lists for Search Ads here.
- Customer Match: Online and offline data is used to tailor ad content to past visitors to encourage further engagement. Customer lists are created manually and uploaded to Google Ads, then campaign targets are set according to the specified data - which can include email or other identifiers. By merging online and offline data, Customer Match can strengthen campaign performance and lead to greater ROI. Be aware also that there are eligibility requirements for Customer Match which you can read here.
If you’re looking for information about the different types of ads used in remarketing campaigns, we cover that in more detail later on in this blog post.
Google Remarketing vs Retargeting
These terms are often used interchangeably, but technically they are different things.
- Retargeting is the process of serving ads to past visitors to your website, who have not yet made a purchase. The goal of retargeting is to encourage them towards making a purchase, via the methods outlined above.
- Remarketing is the process of maintaining ongoing engagement with past customers who have made a purchase. The goal of remarketing is to encourage repeat purchases.
It’s not worth getting too strung up on the nuances though, as the terms are often used interchangeably, as we said above. The thing to focus on is the strategy that best aligns with your goal.
It’s also worth noting that Google’s remarketing tools are often used for retargeting, meaning that even industry heavyweights contribute to the confusion around the definitions.
How to Set Up a Google Remarketing Campaign
Below you’ll find an overview of how to set up a remarketing campaign. To find out more about any of these steps we recommend browsing Google’s extensive support pages, here.
Install Google Ads Tag
If this is your first campaign, you may need to implement a Google Tag. This is done most easily via Google Tag Manager.
The Google Tag allows you to add site visitors to remarketing audiences via cookies
Set up Google Analytics
You’ll also need Google Analytics running on your site to create a remarketing list. To do this you need to get your Tracking Code from within the platform and add it to your site’s header, either manually or by following the instructions within the platform.
Creating a Remarketing List
A remarketing list is the list of users who you want to target with ads. Creating a remarketing list in GA4 lets you define the list membership according to the various data collected within the platform.
How to Set Up a Remarketing List in GA4
In GA4 you can create remarketing lists with the following steps:
- Click ‘Admin’ and then click the property where you want to create the audience
- Click ‘Audiences’ in the ‘Property’ column
- Click ‘New audience’
- Define the audience
- Click ‘Next’
- Select the desired destination(s)
- Click ‘Publish’
It’s up to you which criteria you set for audience membership. You could create an audience for visitors who’ve viewed the cart page, and target these with dynamic ads encouraging a complete purchase. Or you could create an audience for visitors who’ve looked at a specific blog category, and offer an ebook with more information on that topic.
The Audience Configuration screen in GA4 uses And/Or logic to build audiences. You can include or exclude people based on binary criteria, or depending on their position on a spectrum (time on page greater than 60 seconds, for example).
Other examples of audience definitions include:
- Lifetime spend: for ads that target high-value customers, for example
- Demographics: for ads tailored to specific users
- Geography: for ads specific to (a) specified region(s)
- Devise usage: for ads targeted only to mobile users, for example
Create Your Assets
Ad campaigns require ads to function. There’s more info on ad formats and ad creation best practices in later sections.
Best Practices for Google Ads Remarketing
Google Ads remarketing can be tricky, and for the best chance of achieving your campaign goals you need to follow best practices. This covers everything from ad design to audience segmentation, as outlined below.
Crafting Compelling Ads
Internet users are bombarded with ads wherever they go, making it increasingly difficult to grab - let alone hold - their attention. To maximise the chances of your business being seen and engaged with, you need to invest time and effort into crafting compelling ads.
This includes the use of clear and compelling headlines, engaging and relevant ad copy, high-quality, eye-catching imagery, and CTAs that are effective in encouraging interaction.
As you probably know, this is much easier said than done, and one of many areas of B2B PPC where expertise and experience can make all the difference.
Proper Audience Segmentation
Another crucial part of effective remarketing campaigns is ensuring your ads are shown to people with a relevant interest and relevant past behaviours. Targeting all past visitors to your site with ads asking them to complete their recent purchase will alienate any users who didn’t add a product to their basket, for example.
Effectively segmenting your visitors based on behaviour means that the right type of ad can be shown to the right past visitor at the right time, far increasing their likelihood of engaging. Following the example from the previous paragraph, displaying an ad for a specific product that a visitor looked at, added to their basket, then abandoned, is far more likely to drive engagement.
There’s nothing worse than being bombarded by the same company over and over within the barrage of advertising you’re already exposed to online. Frequency caps are an easy way to make sure you don’t annoy any past visitors by showing them your ad too many times.
Frequency caps also protect you against paying for these excessive impressions, making it easier to keep your ad campaign within budget and to optimise ROI.
The power of remarketing is greatly increased when you have data showing what people did after engaging with your ads. If they click an ad and all you know is that it was clicked, it’s hard to attach its performance to commercial outcomes, and to make informed strategic decisions on an ongoing basis.
If conversion tracking is set up correctly, however, you can follow user behaviour from ad clicks to commercial outcomes like purchases, free trial requests, demo requests, resource downloads, and so on. This lets you see which ads, headlines, CTAs etc are most effective, giving you the data you need to refine your remarketing campaigns in future.
To further understand which ads are better at driving engagement, you can use A/B testing to compare variations on the same ad. Comparing headlines, copy, imagery, CTA content and so on lets you see which phrasing and design resonates best with customers. You can also use A/B testing for audience segmentation, letting you better understand which audience(s) identify most with different CTAs and commercial outcomes.
Using A/B testing is a way to greatly expand your understanding of what works and what doesn’t, and is a highly recommended way of maximising campaign performance.
Remarketing campaigns can use many different ad formats, all of which are suited to specific visitor types, behaviours, and target commercial outcomes. A summary of each ad format is included below.
Standard AdWords Remarketing
Past visitors see display ads for your business on other websites in the Google Display Network. These ads can be static or animated images, videos, or responsive
Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RlSAs)
RLSAs give you greater control than standard remarketing, in that you can alter your bid amount based on keywords or other data points. This format is ideal for advertisers looking for more granular levels of control about where and how their ads are displayed.
Past visitors see adverts tailored to their browsing habits, encouraging a specific behaviour (for example, returning to buy a specific product they looked at).
This type of ad is only suitable for ecommerce websites, as the ad content focuses on products and services that a past visitor engaged with.
Dynamic remarketing is great for encouraging past visitors back to your site and guiding them towards a specific commercial outcome.
Past visitors to your site or people who have engaged with your videos or YouTube channel are served videos that are related to your business, either as ads or recommended videos. The campaign configuration lets you decide which type of ads you’d like to serve.
Past customers are sent individual emails or email workflows to encourage repeat purchase. This can include everything from cart abandonment emails encouraging purchase completion, to purchase follow-up emails, to personalised recommendations based on past behaviour.
The majority of businesses stand to benefit from Google Ads remarketing. This suite of tools is a powerful way to serve tailored ad content to past visitors as they navigate the web, keeping your business and its offering at the front of their mind.
A range of tools and options exist to make sure that the remarketing ads you serve are relevant, engaging, and will not alienate your target users. Businesses without experience and expertise in creating and managing ad campaigns can use these tools, but the potential benefits increase exponentially when working with a specialist B2B PPC agency.
We also offer a free PPC review: we’ll review your PPC account structure, analyse your campaigns and setting, provide tailored recommendations, and much more.
Learn everything you need to know about Google Ads for B2B Marketing with our content hub.