Google RLSA Best Practices

Michelle Cruz June 27, 2015

It’s hard to believe that Google introduced RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) just shy of two years ago. In my opinion this feature is under-used by most paid search marketing experts. I think this stems from the fact that most marketers still don’t fully understand how to utilize all of the features to benefit their search campaigns. In this post I provide 5 get-started tips to set-up a successful RLSA program.

RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) is often confused with display remarketing. RLSA takes display remarketing one step further allowing you to show text ads on to people who have previously visited your website. Through RLSA you can remarket to your audience only when they are searching for information related your products and services.

Marketers have learned that most prospects do not convert (become a lead or customer) when visiting a site for the very first time. This is especially true for high-consideration products/services and companies with a long, complex sales cycle. RLSA helps advertisers market to those prospects again and again while they continue to search/research. This should increase long-term conversion rates.

Step 1. Select Keywords

Choose your keywords wisely, since RLSA is search-based remarketing you will want to choose which keywords you include in your ad group based upon themes which are broadly related to your industry. Since your RLSA campaign will be only targeting previous website visitors, you’ve already significantly cut down your potential audience size. You may want to consider broader-based search terms to maximize your chance of getting back in front of that audience again.

Step 2: Select Pages

Tag every page of your website or mobile site with your Google Smart Pixel. Your site will need to obtain 1,000 visitors prior to meeting the minimum audience size requirement to run an RLSA Campaign.

Step 3: Build Out Audience

Customized audiences can be established based upon your specific business needs. For example: new visitors to your site, repeat visitors to your site, remarket based on pages visited, action taken, or conversion. Adding audience lists to your search campaigns while applying bid modifications will allow your ads to show to both new and returning users for the keywords in the ad group.

Build out your audience based upon the type of visitors you obtain on your site.

  • An “all visitors keyword” list is automatically created with your RSLA campaign. This will help you market to general and new visitors.
  • When creating your campaign, consider bidding on keywords that you wouldn’t normally bid on. For example – keywords that correspond to people who have recently visited your site, or have previously converted on your site.
  • Create a remarketing list for customers who have made a recent purchase within the last six months. This will give you a chance to upsell products to recent purchasers.

Step 4: Create Ads

Create different ad copy based on different target audiences and experiences.

One of the biggest benefits of RLSA s that you can tailor your ad copy to create a personalized experience based upon previous actions.   Remember with RLSA the user needs to be actively searching on Google using search terms that are contained within your RLSA Campaign.

Don’t forget to apply your audience to your RLSA Campaign. An RLSA Campaign is exactly the same as a normal search campaign with the addition of audience targeting. If you have created multiple audiences you may want to break them out into individual RLSA campaigns allowing you to better control budget, bid targeting and ad copy relevance based upon the audience pool.

Step 5: Set Bids

Campaigns can be set up to “Bid Only” or to “Target and Bid”. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. With Bid Only you can preserve the current campaign settings but you will not be able to differentiate your marketing message. By using Target and Bid you will be able to broaden your keywords and customize bids on different target audiences — but a new Ad Group must be set-up (which may duplicate an existing campaign).

Increase bids by 100% in order to aim for the average position of 1.5. By using bid modifier you can increase bids to target specific audiences.

Most marketers don’t have an unlimited budget allowing you to bid on general search terms with high click costs. Through your RLSA campaign you can reduce the risk of bidding on such terms since the user has been prequalified through your targeted audience.

Final Thoughts

All search marketers should take advantage of Google RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads). Market again and again to prospects who have visited your website. Reach them while they are actively searching on Google. Maximize your long-term conversion rate!

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