Remarketing to YouTube viewers with AdWords

Show tailored ads to millions of viewers across YouTube and video partner sites, based on their past interactions with your videos or YouTube channel. This is also known as “video remarketing.” By reinforcing your message with people who have already seen your videos or channel, you’re more likely to succeed in increasing your return on investment.

Within AdWords for video, you can generate video remarketing lists that include viewers who have done one of the following actions:

  • Interacted with or viewed your YouTube videos.
  • Subscribed to, or unsubscribed from your channel.
  • Viewed your TrueView in-stream ads.
  • Visited your channel.

You can then use these lists in your targeting settings for new or existing video campaigns. Manage your lists anytime within the Targets tab in AdWords for video.

The benefits of video remarketing lists

Take advantage of YouTube creatives and content to create remarketing lists of your target audiences. Here are some key benefits:

  • Improve ROI: Advertisers who use remarketing on YouTube have improved their return on investment (ROI) by targeting customers who have demonstrated an interest in their product or service.
  • Scope: Your YouTube video can earn millions of views (and often quickly) allowing you to reach potential customers on your remarketing list sooner than with other remarketing methods.
  • Efficient pricing: The AdWords auction model offers competitive rates that meet your target ROI. With TrueView video ads and AdWords for video, you pay only when the user chooses to watch the ad (cost per view).
  • Flexibility: Most remarketing (also known as remessaging or retargeting) relies on users visiting an advertiser’s website. With AdWords for video and YouTube, you can remarket based on actions specific to your YouTube videos, including when viewers like, dislike, comment on, and share your video.

Key features of video remarketing

Make the most of your video remarketing lists by exploring these features:

  • Targeting: Remarket to your potential customers by using specific categories, such as topics, interests, keywords, geotargeting, etc.
  • Creative formats: Build and target your remarketing campaign with the TrueView family of video ads and other creative formats (text, image, and rich media ads on the Google Display Network).
  • Detailed reports: Optimize your remarketing campaign based on performance metrics. For example, raise bids on specific topics or channels that generate the greatest ad response.
  • Ease of use: Use AdWords for video to easily create, manage, and target your remarketing lists.
  • Custom audiences: Customize your targeting by combining your remarketing lists. For example, you can target users who viewed your movie trailer but haven’t yet viewed your ad promoting the DVD release.
Types of viewers you can reach through remarketing lists

Remarketing lists are created by linking your YouTube account to your AdWords for video account. Once you link accounts, you can create remarketing lists that target viewers based on the following YouTube-related actions:

  • People who watch any of your videos.
  • People who take an action (like, dislike, comment, or share) on any of your videos.
  • People who view your video as a TrueView in-stream ad.
  • People who visit or subscribe to your YouTube channel.

If you have multiple YouTube channels, you can also link more than one YouTube account to your AdWords for video account. You can create several lists per channel, but cannot use the same list on multiple channels.

Create a video remarketing list

If you've linked your YouTube account to your AdWords account already, we created lists collecting channel viewers, channel subscribers, and channel visitors for you.


You can create as many additional video remarketing lists as you want. You can even create copies of the default lists we created for you.

Follow these steps to create a video remarketing list:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at
  2. If you've never created an AdWords for video campaign before, click New campaign > Online video above the campaign table. Create online video campaign

    If you've created AdWords for video campaigns before:

    • From the "All video campaigns view," click the Campaigns tab, and click All video campaigns in the campaigns navigation list. You should see all campaigns within your account. All video campaigns
  3. If you haven't already, link your YouTube and AdWords accounts. Click Link your YouTube account from the AdWords for video side navigation menu on any AdWords for video campaign page.
  4. In the navigation panel, click Shared Library > Video Remarketing.
  5. Select + Remarketing list. New remarketing list
  6. List type: Select the type of viewer interaction you want to target.
  7. Select channel: Choose the relevant channel and/or videos you'd like to use for remarketing. You can only create a remarketing list from one channel or videos within a single channel, but you can combine remarketing lists in the standard AdWords campaign view (outside of AdWords for video).
  8. List name: Name your list something meaningful to indicate which viewers will be added.
  9. Membership duration: Enter the amount of time a new viewer will remain on the list. If you change this duration later, this will only affect viewers who interact with your videos after you've made the change.
  10. Initial list size: Opt to include both people who fit your criteria from the last 30 days and people who will fit your criteria in the future. For example, if you create a remarketing list of YouTube channel visitors, your list will include both people who visited your channel within the past 30 days as well as future visitors. This list will be populated only if the YouTube channel has been linked for at least 30 days prior to the creation of the remarketing list.
  11. Status: Close or open the list for adding new viewers to target. This option is only available after a list has been created. Your video or channel must gain interactions from 100 viewers that meet the remarketing list criteria before the video remarketing list can be added to a targeting group.
  12. Click Create list.


You can create a remarketing list from only one channel or videos within a single channel. But,once you’re done, you can combine remarketing lists to target a custom audience. For example, let’s say you’re promoting the DVD release for a movie. You can combine separate remarketing lists to reach people who viewed your movie trailer but have not yet seen your video ad promoting the DVD.

Add a remarketing list to an existing campaign

Once your remarketing list has gained interactions from at least 100 viewers, you can use it for your ads and campaigns. Select the remarketing list you want to use while creating a new campaign or as a target for an existing AdWords for video campaign.

To add it to a targeting group, follow these steps:

  1. Create a new targeting group or edit an existing targeting group.
  2. Select Remarketing lists above the table. (If you can't see this option, click Show more criteria above the table.)
  3. Select Add remarketing lists.
  4. Click the [+] next to "Video remarketing list" to see all available lists.
  5. Check the box next to the relevant list, and click Add.
  6. Click Add remarketing lists.


It's important to be careful using multiple types of targeting. If you use more than one targeting method at a time, we'll apply them all. For example, if you target a specific keyword, age, and channel, your ads will only be shown when all those methods match your ad at the same time. This can restrict your impressions significantly. Therefore, we don't recommend pairing remarketing lists with multiple types of targets, like demographics or interests. We recommend that you target broadly, and opt in to all TrueView video formats.


In addition to using these lists for your video campaigns, you can also use them for standard AdWords text ads or display ads. Learn how to add remarketing lists to ad groups.

Targeting a video remarketing list in a standard AdWords campaign

You can add this remarketing list to an ad group with standard text ads or display ads created in the Ad gallery. These are ads using cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) pricing. To do this, use the Display Network tab in your standard AdWords campaign view to target the remarketing lists you just created. Learn how to manage remarketing lists and targeting for your AdWords for video campaign.

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