Remarketing Success & Advanced Strategies

In the past few months, Google has been rolling out multiple ways to better target your audience on the Display Network – Topics targeting, Interest Category marketing, Remarketing…At this point in the game, I have tried all three approaches. All of them have worked, but the question of how well varies. The type of targeting I’ve seen the most success with thus far is Remarketing, hands down. If you’ve been iffy about trying out a Display Network campaign for your business or your client’s business, I highly recommend the Remarketing strategy.

Why Remarketing?

Jessica wrote a great introductory post about Remarketing a few months ago, which explains the basics of what Remarketing does and offers a list of best practices. Essentially, Remarketing campaigns allow you to remarket your ads to users who have visited your site after they leave. While Interest Category and Topics targeting help narrow down your target audiences and help eliminate unqualified traffic, Remarketing does all of that, while also targeting users who are likely your most qualified leads because they have already visited your site and interacted with it on some level.

Remarketing Success

I launched a Remarketing campaign for a lead-focused client a few months ago and have seen great results so far.  This month, for instance, it is the fourth-highest converting campaign, but has one of the lowest CPLs – across search and display. Over the course of its 7-month run, conversions have stayed pretty steady and CPL has consistently been one of the lowest in the account, coming in around half of our goal CPL for some of those months.

The Remarketing campaign for my client was set up as only remarketing to users who had visited our site but hadn’t converted. It was set up using the following best practices:

  • Created as a separate “Remarketing” campaign
  • Text ads in one ad group, image ads in the other (you can also place them in separate campaigns)
  • No keywords in either ad group
  • Targeted to “Show ads on pages that match the broadest targeting method”

Google recommends that you start off with a broader approach then become more granular in your targeted audience, if needed, as the campaign gathers data. They also recommend changing out your ads every 6-8 weeks to keep them fresh to users.

I’ve seen success with my client’s Remarketing campaign, but I wanted to know what my co-workers’ experiences were. I chatted with a few of them and got their feedback, below:

It started off with a really basic, easy setup – Google users who visit the website but don’t signup for a Free Trial are remarketed to. We wrote up some ads to start with that were more focused on the user having additional questions, or ideas on how to use the client’s product. So far, those ads have done really well. We’ve seen quite a few conversions occur at a CPL that’s only a quarter of our goal. We also added image ads with the exact same audience. I like to keep all of my Remarketing campaigns very separated so we can see which ad types work the best and which audiences are responding to the message. The image ads have a really high CPL, but the client has requested to stick with it because they receive so many comments on how often their ads are seen across the Display Network.  For this particular client, we see a lot of view-through conversions in their Remarketing image ads.  You’ll definitely want to take these “conversions” lightly and not base any major decisions on them. We’re getting ready to start additional Remarketing, such as targeting those who don’t login for at least 30 days, and also requests to those who have made a purchase to follow the client on Facebook and Twitter.  There are so many great things you can do with Remarketing, and you should try as many as you have the ability to and see what works best!


Over the last month in this particular account, our text ad remarketing campaign came in third overall for conversions with a CPL that was $21 under their goal. The image ad remarketing campaign has been rocking this month and is actually leading the way in account conversions, though it is also coming in over our target CPL. Looking more long range, the image ads remarketing campaign was still over goal CPL, but came in third for overall conversions in the last 6 months. Our text ad remarketing campaign is the better performer long term, as it brought in the second highest number of conversions and for a CPL $17 under goal over the last 6 months. Generally speaking, the two remarketing campaigns are always in the top 3 for conversions at any given time.

The Takeaways? Remarketing works well for multiple clients across varying industries. Generally, in all three accounts we see:

  • High number of conversions
  • Lower CPLs in Remarketing campaigns or ad groups with text ads; higher CPLs in Remarketing campaigns or ad groups with image ads
  • Room for growth with advanced strategies

Advanced Strategies

As I mentioned, for my particular client, we started out remarketing only to users who had visited the site but hadn’t converted. In the coming months, we’ll be branching out using some advanced remarketing strategies. To employ these advanced strategies, just head to your “Audiences” tab, choose the “Add Audiences” button; choose “Remarketing Lists,” then “Create and Manage Lists.”

From there, you’ll want to choose “New audience,” then “Custom Combination.”

Below is a list of a couple advanced Remarketing strategies we’ll be trying soon for this account:

  • Those who visited the page that showcases the packages the client is selling, but didn’t add any to their shopping cart.
  • Those who added a package to their shopping cart but didn’t complete the purchase.

Even these more advanced strategies are just the tip of the iceberg of possibilities. Remarketing isn’t great just for marketers focused on lead generation, but it’s great for branding as well. For instance, as Jessica C mentioned above, her remarketed image ads generate a lot of view through conversions and, although the CPL tends to be higher than those for text ads, the campaign continues to run because it is effective for their branding efforts. If you’re interested in launching a Remarketing campaign, I highly recommend you contact your Google rep to discover all the advanced ways you could be retargeting to users.

What have been your experiences with Remarketing? What are some of the advanced strategies you’ve tried? We’d love to know! Just post your comments below.