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Fix website remarketing lists, tags, and ads

If you find that your remarketing campaign isn't performing as expected, it may be due to specific problems with your remarketing lists, tag snippets, or ads. For more information, you can review our list of common issues and find out how to fix them.

Before you begin

The Overview page will surface important account status information to help you understand and resolve issues with your remarketing campaigns, ad groups, and audience sources. You’ll find 3 types of alerts: 

  1. Critical health and/or performance issues that require a resolution for your ads to continue serving.
  2. Issues that require attention to reach the full potential of your ads and maintain a healthy campaign.
  3. A health status informing you that your remarketing campaigns, ad groups, and audience sources are working as expected.

No visitors on the list

You may not have added the remarketing tag correctly.

  • You edited the tag snippet in some way when you copied and pasted from AdWords to your site. For examples, if you paste the code into an email before implementing a copy of it on your site, the spacing of the code often changes.
  • You didn't paste the tag snippet above the "</head>" tag of your site code.
You can check your code using Tag Assistant, a Chrome extension that automatically verifies Google code snippets on any page. Download and install Tag Assistant via the Google Chrome Store.

The rule you created is incorrect or doesn't match your site URL. For example, you create a remarketing list using "URL contains television" but the URL of the televisions section of your site includes the term "televisions" (in plural). So the list doesn't match your URL.

Also, read About remarketing lists for details on list size requirements.

A list isn't growing in size

A remarketing list may not be growing because of a tag snippet modification. If you've exchanged tag snippets by email, for example, keep in mind that email programs modify the formatting of tag snippets. We suggest sending tag snippets as file attachments and using a program that doesn't change the formatting, like a plain text editor (for example, Notepad for PC or TextEdit for Mac).

It's also possible that you didn't add the tag snippet correctly on your website. If that's the case, you can find more information on how to add the remarketing tag snippet to your site.

If your list remains steady, with very few cookies, here are some recommendations:

  • Check that the traffic for the pages with remarketing tag snippets is high enough. If the traffic is low, maybe your lists are too specific. Consider removing targeting restrictions (for example, country and language) or tagging site pages that have higher traffic volume.
  • Make sure the membership duration of the remarketing list is long enough. If you set a short duration, the list might not accumulate enough cookies. You can edit the membership duration of the list at any time.

Ad isn't showing

Here are some possible reasons that your ad isn't showing and some troubleshooting tips:

  • AdWords only shows ads to remarketing lists that have more than 100 users.
    • In the previous AdWords experience, you can check your list size by clicking the Shared library link in the left navigation bar, and then the Audiences link.
    • In the new AdWords experience, you can check your list size by clicking the main tool icon  , selecting Audience manager, then clicking Audience lists from the page menu along the left.
  • For newly created lists and custom combinations, it may take up to 24 hours for a campaign to report impressions.
  • If it's been longer than 24 hours:
    • Check that your budget is still active.
    • Check your ad status. Make sure your ads aren't classified as Non-family safe or Adult.
For advertisers who have the previous version of the remarketing tag - Can't view the remarketing tag

In the past, when you created your remarketing tag, you could view and copy the tag by clicking the link in the "Tags / Rules" column in the Audiences table, in the Shared library. In the new version, you'll see this link only for your older lists and the "Main list" AdWords created for you.

In the new version of remarketing, you'll see different types of lists. Here are some of them:

  • Website visitors
  • Combined audience

The tag for your Main List and any other remarketing lists you had created in the former version of remarketing will be labeled as "Tag-based."

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