Fine Tune Your Remarketing Campaigns with Membership Duration Segments

By , Associate Director of Services at Hanapin Marketing


Remarketing campaigns continue to be an effective tool to drive conversions at low CPAs. The more you dive into the rabbit hole of remarketing, the opportunities of segmentation seem endless. One area that is a good starting point for experimenting with remarketing segments is creating remarketing lists by membership duration – a.k.a how long to follow visitors.

What is Membership Duration?

Membership duration is the amount of time a visitor’s cookie stays on your remarketing list and how long you are able to show ads to these visitors. The membership duration should be similar to your average buying or conversion cycle.

Membership Duration

Google provides the following example of how membership duration works “If you sell movie tickets, you might select a membership duration of a few days only, but if you sell cars, you might choose a duration of a few months. You’d do this because while it might not take too much time for people to decide they want to buy movie tickets, it generally takes longer to make the decision to buy a car. Similarly, if you sell Valentine’s Day gifts, you might choose a membership duration of a year plus a few days so that you can reach the customers on your list when Valentine’s Day comes around the next year.”

The AdWords default membership duration is set at 30 Days but can be adjusted to 540 days for display, and 180 for search remarketing. At this point, the visitor’s cookie is then removed from the list after the allotted time has been reached. If the visitor comes back, it will start all over again.


Determining Membership Duration Length

Membership duration varies from business to business. Typically for low average order value ecommerce or Lead gen accounts, the highest converting membership durations will be between 1 – 14 days. While bigger ticket (more expensive) items, may have a longer conversion funnel, which would be better having longer membership durations 30+.

If you aren’t sure what the best membership duration cycle is for your account, one way you can get some insight into this is through Google Analytics.

In Google Analytics if you are using the ecommerce pixel, just select:

  • Conversions
  • Ecommerce
  • Time to Purchase

This will give you an idea of your purchase cycle and what to set your membership duration at. As you can see in the image below, majority of the purchases are happening within the first 7 days. There are a few stragglers 28+ days out.

GA Time to Purchase

Membership Duration Segmentation Case Study


For this particular client we decided to segment our list into 3 membership durations – 30 days, 60 days and 90 days. Below are the steps we took to set up the membership duration list segments.

  1. Create a new remarketing list targeting any site that contains your main domain. Creating the new list will allow you to adjust your membership duration – set it for 30, 60 or 90 days
  2. Create a new custom combination remarketing list
  3. Select the audience list that was just created – 30, 60 or 90 and None of Converters and the other lists
  4. Create an AdGroup for each Membership Duration segment audience list

Creating List

Creating List 3


As you can see in the case study below, majority of the conversions are coming through during the first 30 Days and bids have been adjusted accordingly. There are still a few stragglers coming through 90 days out but at a significantly lower CPA.


Let us know what other success stories you’ve had with Remarketing segmentation!

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5 thoughts on “Fine Tune Your Remarketing Campaigns with Membership Duration Segments

  1. Eric Barnes

    The reason CPA is so much cheaper for the 90 Day conversion period because the Bid is $1 compared to $4 for the 30 Day period. The conversion Rate actually decreased, but that may also have to do with the decreased bid.

    This is not an evenly tested case study. This makes the data almost useless.

    1. Cassie OumedianCass_Oumedian

      Hi Eric, I can see where having the bids be the same would make for a more valid test but for this particular campaign, the bids were staggered on purpose because the client placed more value on the conversions from the 30 day segment. Everyone’s approach will be slightly different. This set up proved to be successful for this campaign so that is why I found the info useful and thought I would share the findings to help spark ideas for others.

      1. Eric Barnes

        I agree approaches can be different, but case studies can not be made off different variables. It needs to have consistent data.

        That is very important data to leave out. That data makes this case study invalid. The lower bids would cause the traffic and CPA to decrease. If anything the case study could be done showing that lower bids decrease CPA.

        What if one person were to see this data and to come to the conclusion that conversions are cheaper at the end of the month. They then would not target people in the first 30 days but in the last 60 to 90 days with regular or increased bidding. Little would they know, the true reason that the cost per acquisition was lower was because the bids or lower.

        This study should be taken down. To prevent people from harming their own accounts

  2. Flix

    Have you tried much shorter segments, e.g. 1 day, 7 days, 14 days?
    Given that 90 % of transactions occur on day 0, this might help.

  3. Hasith Tennakoon

    How do you make sure that there is no list member overlap among the different remarketing lists for the same domain?


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