Remarketing to YouTube viewers with AdWords

You can 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 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. These are some key benefits:

  • Improved ROI: Advertisers who use remarketing on YouTube have improved their return on investment (ROI) by showing video ads to people interested in their product or service.
  • Broader scope: With YouTube's vast network, your video ad can reach potential customers on your remarketing list.
  • Efficient pricing: The AdWords auction model offers competitive rates that meet your target ROI. With CPV bidding, you'll pay for video views and other video interactions, such as clicks on the call-to-action overlays (CTAs), cards, and companion banners.
  • Flexibility: Usually, remarketing (also known as "remessaging" or "retargeting") is based on visitors' actions on a website. With AdWords and YouTube, you can remarket based on actions specific to your YouTube videos, including when viewers like, dislike, comment on, and share your video.

How video remarketing works

Remarketing lists are created by linking your YouTube account to your AdWords account. Once you link accounts, you can create remarketing lists that reach people who have done 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 video ad
  • People who visit or subscribe to your YouTube channel

You can then use these lists in your targeting settings for new or existing video campaigns. Manage your lists anytime in the "Audiences" section of the AdWords shared library.


  • 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.
  • If you have multiple YouTube channels, you can also link more than one YouTube account to your AdWords account. While you can create several lists per channel, you can't use the same list on multiple channels.
Create a video remarketing list
  1. If you haven't already, link your YouTube and AdWords accounts.
  2. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  3. Click Shared library in the left navigation pane, and then click Audiences.
  4. Under "YouTube users," click Create list.
  5. Select a list type and a YouTube channel.
  6. Fill out the rest of the form.
  7. Click Create list.

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 video campaign.

Add a remarketing list to an existing ad group / video campaign
  1. On the "All campaigns" drop-down menu, choose an existing video campaign.
  2. Click the Video targeting tab, and then click the Remarketing sub-tab.
  3. Select an ad group from the "Select ad group" drop-down menu.
  4. Add the remarketing lists you want, and then click Save.
Add a remarketing list to a new video campaign
  1. Click the Campaigns tab, and then click + CAMPAIGN.
  2. Choose the Video campaign type.
  3. Follow the instructions to create a new video campaign.
  4. Under “Targeting,” select Remarketing from the "Narrow your targeting (optional)" drop-down menu.
  5. Search for a remarketing list.
  6. Click the double arrows to select the remarketing lists you want.
  7. Click Done.


  • You can create a remarketing list from only one channel or from videos within a single channel. Once you’re done, you can combine remarketing lists to reach 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.
  • You can create as many video remarketing lists as you want. You can even create copies of the default lists we created for you.
  • You can also use video remarketing lists for standard AdWords text ads or display ads.


  • 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.

Targeting a video remarketing list in a standard AdWords campaign

You can add this remarketing list to an ad group with standard text ads. These are ads using cost-per-click (CPC) pricing. To do this, use the "Display Network" tab in your standard AdWords campaign view to target the remarketing lists you just created.

Best practices

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

  • Refined targeting: Remarket to your potential customers by using specific categories, such as topics, interests, keywords, demographics, etc.
  • Various ad 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: Easily create, manage, and target your remarketing lists.
  • Custom audiences: Customize your targeting by combining your remarketing lists. For example, you can reach audiences who viewed your movie trailer but haven’t yet viewed your ad promoting the DVD release.

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