19 strategies for better remarketing

How you set up your remarketing campaign depends on your business goals and the types of customers that you'd like to reach. To help you meet your goals, here are some tips and suggestions to keep in mind as you set up your remarketing campaign.

Remarketing list strategies

1. Reach all your website visitors

The most basic way to remarket is to reach all the visitors to your website. This means that anyone who visits your website can see your remarketing ads.

To create a remarketing list to reach all the visitors to your website, create a remarketing list where the URL contains your website domain (for example, "YourDomain.com") or the URL equals your homepage URL (for example, "http://www.YourDomain.com").

2. Showcase different product categories

To showcase different product categories, create a remarketing list for each product category where the URL for each list contains the category name.


Jane owns an online clothing store and would like to show different remarketing ads to customers shopping for women's apparel and customers shopping for men's apparel.

She creates an ad that appears for customers who browsed her "Women's Apparel" page and a different ad for customers who browsed the "Men's Apparel" page.

3. Appeal to visitors who didn't convert

If your website attracted visitors who didn't convert, you can set up a remarketing list to attract those customers back to your website.

Custom combination lists can help you target visitors who left your website before converting, while excluding any visitors who did convert. If you already have a list targeting all visitors to your website, create a remarketing list for visitors who have already completed a conversion on your website. Then, set up your custom combination list to exclude visitors who already converted.


A university website attracts a lot of visitors but wants to reach the visitors who didn't fill out a form requesting more information. The university uses a custom combination list to reach visitors who didn't convert to keep those visitors aware of what the university offers.

4. Re-engage visitors with abandoned shopping carts

Sometimes people will place items in their online shopping carts without completing their purchase. Since these customers are often very close to making a purchasing decision, it can be a valuable opportunity to reach out to them and help them purchase.

To reach people who have put at least one item in the cart, create a list of customers who have visited your "Shopping Cart" page (for example, the URL contains "cart.asp") and a second list of people who completed their purchase and visited an "Order Confirmation" page (for example, the URL contains "purchase.asp"). Then, use a custom combination list to remarket to people who have visited the "Shopping Cart" page but not the "Order Confirmation" page.


Nina runs an online electronics store. She finds that her customers put big ticket items in their shopping carts but don't always complete their purchases. Nina decides to set up a remarketing campaign to attract these customers back to her store and hopefully complete the sale.

5. Up-sell or cross-sell to existing customers

Customers who have already purchased items from your website may also be interested in complementary products or services that you offer.

By creating a list of "converted customers," you'll reach a smaller group of your website visitors, but these customers will already be familiar with and interested in your business. Be sure to customize your ads for this group.

You can also create remarketing lists for certain products. If customers have viewed certain items and then made a purchase, you could show them ads for another related product.


Jason owns a gardening supply store and wants to reach customers who already viewed the plant seeds section from his store and then made a purchase. He knows customers who purchased plant seeds are often interested in plant food products, so he sets up a remarketing campaign to advertise these related products to those existing customers.

6. Reach customers within a certain time period after they completed a purchase

If you anticipate that customers are likely to purchase from your business within a certain time period after their initial interactions, you can create a remarketing list with a specific membership duration.

To reach customers who made a purchase within the last 30 to 90 days, create two remarketing lists: one with a 30-day duration and one with a 90-day duration. Then use a custom combination list to reach all customers on the 90-day list, but not the 30-day list.


Mark owns a video game website. He knows that customers who buy a gaming console from his site often buy more games 30-90 days later, but those who exceed the 90-day duration are unlikely to make another purchase. Mark decides to set up a remarketing campaign to sell video games to all customers who bought a console 30-90 days ago.

Ad strategies

7. Tailor your ads to your remarketing strategy

Your creative strategy is just as important as your remarketing list strategy. Here are some general recommendations for your remarketing ads:

  • Relevant to the audience you'd like to reach
  • Same look and feel as your site
  • Compelling call-to-action


Jane's remarketing ads to people who visited the women's outerwear section of her website would be more relevant if they promoted women's down jackets instead of a generic message.

8. Use all ad formats and sizes to reach your audience

To reach as many customers as possible on the web, create text and display ads for your remarketing campaign in multiple ad sizes.Then test which format works best for your campaign.

9. Use the Ad gallery to create display ads more easily

When you're ready to create display ads for your remarketing campaigns, use the Ad gallery which is a free AdWords tool that helps you build your ads.

You can select from over a hundred ad templates. By adding some text, customized colors, images, and your logo, you'll have professional-looking display ads specifically designed for each remarketing lists.

Bid strategies

10. Bid on lists that are more likely to convert

Higher bids increase your ability to reach more people on your remarketing lists, maximizing your exposure to this valuable audience. When determining what bid to set, consider the value of your customers in each of your remarketing lists.


Reggie sells electronics. Since TVs are more profitable than cameras, he bids higher for a remarketing list that targets visitors to TV pages than for a list created for camera pages.

He's also set up two custom combinations to target two sets of customers:

  • Those who have visited his website but haven't initiated a purchase
  • Those who have already begun the checkout process on his website but abandoned it without completing a purchase

People who have already added products to their shopping carts are more likely to complete a purchase, and therefore are probably more valuable to him. In this case, he bids higher for the ad group with this remarketing list.

11. Use bid strategies that maximize conversions

Automated bid strategies

You can use Conversion Optimizer, a bidding optimization tool that can help you maximize your return on investment (ROI) by optimizing bids in real-time, impression-by-impression. With Conversion Optimizer, you'd no longer need to adjust your bids manually to reach your conversion goals.

To help increase the number and quality of your conversions, you can combine automated bid strategies with remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA).

Manual bid strategies

If you prefer to manage your remarketing campaign bids manually, we recommend setting a maximum CPC bid.

Here are a couple of bid strategies that can help you improve your remarketing performance:

If you're happy with the performance of your remarketing campaign, you should consider raising your bid to reach more customers and improve your ROI. Raising your bid can help you improve your ad's position, increasing your chances of appearing consistently on Display Network websites to people on your remarketing list.

If you've created remarketing lists with various membership durations, you can use bid management to your advantage. Say that you want to reach visitors who came to your website in the past 30 days separately from people who visited your site in the last seven days. You can create two different lists, each with varying durations, and then bid more aggressively for the list that is more valuable to you.


Nina owns an electronics site and knows that customers are more likely to purchase a television within the first week after viewing her television pages. She bids more for people who have joined her list within the last seven days. People who visited her site within 30 days might still buy products, but she doesn't want to bid as aggressively for these customers.

To do this, she creates a list of television page viewers with the membership duration set to seven days and targets this list with a more aggressive bid. She also creates a second list of television page viewers with a membership duration set to 30 days. To prevent reaching seven-day visitors with both lists, she then creates a custom combination to target the 30-day membership list, excludes the seven-day list, and uses a less aggressive bid.

General strategies

12. Broaden your location and language targeting

Since remarketing can help you reach your ideal customers, you should be able to show them ads no matter where they are on the web. Your website visitors may be multi-lingual and may access your website from around the world, so make sure that in your campaign settings you select to target all languages.

When you choose your location targeting, keep in mind that you should be able serve customers in the regions you target.

13. Extend the membership duration of your lists to reach more visitors

Increasing the duration of your list (for example, from 30 to 60 day) allows you to engage with people who visit your website within the specified time period. In most cases, the longer the duration, the more users you'll have on your list.

14. Decrease the duration of the list to get only the most recent visitors

To potentially increase conversions from your list, you could decrease its membership duration to get only the most recent visitors. However, decreasing the duration could limit the number of potential customers you're able to reach.

15. Cap the number of times your visitors can see your ads

Frequency cap limits the number of times a person is exposed to an ad per day, which could reduce your impressions.

16. Schedule ads for when your visitors are likely to see them

Ad scheduling lets you specify certain hours or days of the week when you want your ads to show so that you can reach your customers while they're awake and online to see your ads.

17. Accelerate ad delivery so visitors see your ads sooner after coming to your site

Accelerated delivery tries to show your ads more quickly until your budget is reached. With this option, you'll be able to reach people on your list and deliver your ads as soon as your customers are browsing the Display Network.

Long-term strategies

18. Invest your ad dollars on websites that show results

If you're spending a large percentage of your budget on one or two websites but aren't getting enough conversions to justify the investment, you could decrease your bid for this website or exclude the site from your campaign.

Conversely, if a handful of sites are performing exceptionally well and delivering a low CPA, you may want to increase your bid on these sites.

Conversion Tracking lets you see how many conversions you're getting from your remarketing campaign. You can also evaluate your performance on the Display Network sites that showed your ads and decide how to bid and optimize based on this data.

19. Grow list size by growing your website traffic

Use a complementary online advertising strategy to attract more people to your website so that you can add them to your list. Display and search campaigns are effective ways to achieve this.


Related links

Was this article helpful?