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Advanced strategies for tagging and creating remarketing lists

AdWords remarketing lets you use custom parameters to include any non-personally identifiable and non-sensitive information directly in the tag. With this implementation, you'll able to create more advanced remarketing lists based on information you send through the remarketing tag.

What are custom parameters

Custom parameters are key-value pairs that you can implement in the remarketing tag in order to categorize your site visitors in more sophisticated ways to further tailor your bids and ads. The parameters and values that you implement in custom parameters are sent through the tag to your AdWords account and become available when you create remarketing lists.

An online store, for example, can send the product price and the page type (which indicates how close to purchasing a customer is) in the tag to create a list for people who bought any product above a certain price. In this case, the custom parameters that the online store would include in the remarketing tag would be value (price of the product) and pagetype (in this case, the purchase page).

Here's how the remarketing standard implementation and custom implementation compare:

Standard implementation
Create lists based on webpage URLs
Custom implementation
Create lists based on custom parameters
Pros:
  • Easier and faster to implement
  • Create as many lists as you want based on the URL visited
Pros:
  • More advanced categorization of visitors by using custom parameters
  • Create as many lists as you want based on the URL visited
Cons: List definition limited by your site’s URL structure. You can only define lists based on your URLs. Cons: Requires more technical expertise and IT resources

How you can use custom parameters

You can use custom parameters to build more advanced lists:

  • If you're an online retailer, you might want to review our dynamic remarketing implementation guide.
  • If you're an online travel site, you could consider creating lists around travel origins and destinations, check in and check out dates, or different travel packages.

It's up to you to determine what non-personally-identifiable information about your site visitors would be valuable in targeting your ads. Here are a few examples of custom parameters, definitions, and examples:

Parameter Definition Examples
section Site content category Arts, Entertainment, Life & Style, News
subsection Site content subcategory Movies, Music, Games, Theatre
membertype Member type Non, Free Member, Premium Member
pagetype Page type Home, Product, Cart, Purchase
conversiontype Conversion type Log in, Sign Up, Store Locator, Contact Us

Additionally you can include any other parameter you like, such as age or gender, using "a=" or "g=," but you can't include information – such as name or email – which would identify visitors. In addition, you can’t include sensitive information. For more information please check out the policy for advertising based on interests and location.

How to add custom parameters to your remarketing tag

To implement custom parameters, you first need to create a remarketing tag and add the remarketing tag to your site. If you already have a tag on your site, you can add the custom parameters to your tag.

Once your tag is created, you need to add another piece of code that should be placed on your site anywhere before the remarketing tag you’ve just created.

This piece of code must contain the yellow highlighted code lines as described below. The custom parameters should be included after the variable google_tag_params.

Custom parameters tag

<script type="text/javascript">
var google_tag_params = {

parameter1: '', // Include your custom parameter here
parameter2: '', // Include your custom parameter here
parameter3: '' // Include your custom parameter here
};
</script>

Your webmaster will need to dynamically populate the custom parameters with the relevant information. The custom parameters should be coded with the JSON format: JavaScript Object Notation, a format for transmitting structured data over a network connection.

Once the two pieces of code are placed together, the remarketing tag should look like the one below. This is an example of a tag before implementation. Make sure you don't copy and paste this code sample:

<script type="text/javascript">
var google_tag_params = {

section: ' ',
pagetype: ' ',
membertype: ' '
};
</script>

<!-- Google Code for Main List -->
<!-- Remarketing tags may not be associated with personally identifiable information or placed on pages related to sensitive categories. For instructions on adding this tag and more information on the above requirements, read the setup guide: google.com/ads/remarketingsetup -->
<script type="text/javascript">
/* <![CDATA[ */
var google_conversion_id = 1010101010;
var google_custom_params = window.google_tag_params;
var google_remarketing_only = true;
/* ]]> */
</script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="//www.googleadservices.com/pagead/conversion.js">
</script>
<noscript>
<div style="display:inline;">
<img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1010101010/?value=0&amp;label=eiULCI6v9wIQitem-gM&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0"/>
</div>
</noscript>

Find out what to do if you have older tags in your site.

Tip

When implementing the AdWords remarketing tag, especially with custom parameters, you can use Google Tag Assistant to check that you're implementing the tag correctly. This tool is a Chrome extension that automatically verifies Google code snippets on any page and can help you solve errors it detects. Download and install Tag Assistant via the Google Chrome Store.

How to build lists for custom parameters

The custom parameters that you send in your tag become available when you create lists in AdWords. Follow these steps to create lists using custom parameters:

  1. In the Audiences section of the Shared library, click + Remarketing list.
  2. Select Website visitors.
  3. Click + Rule under "People who visited a page with any of the following."
  4. Click the URL drop-down menu, and you'll see your custom parameters listed there.
  5. Select your custom parameter from the first menu, and an operator (equals, contains, greater than, etc.) from the second menu.
  6. Type in a value for your custom parameter.

For example, you could select the "membertype" parameter, then select "equals," and enter "premium" to add premium site members to your list.

To create an advanced list with custom parameters, you can add new conditions in an "OR" relationship (the page needs to meet any of the conditions) or in an "AND" relationship (the page needs to meet all the conditions):

  • To add new conditions in an "OR" relationship, click the Show advanced options link, and then the + New condition button.
  • To add new conditions in an "AND" relationship click + Rule and add your conditions, or click the Show advanced options link, and then the + New set button.

If, for example, you'd like to edit the rule of your list so that it includes members who used the Contact Us form, you'd add "AND conversiontype > equals > contactus."

Here are a few common lists that you might consider to get started: non-members who have viewed specific page categories, free members who have never used the Contact Us form, or premium members who view multiple types of content on your site.

To create a list that includes non-members who have viewed specific categories, you can use the "membertype" custom parameter to identify visitors who haven't yet registered and have viewed the "Games" section of your site. You'd set the first condition to "membertype" > "equals" > "non," and the second condition to "subsection" > "equals" > "games."

Say that you want to reach visitors who have signed up but have never contacted the company. To create that list, you'd use the "membertype" custom parameter to represent visitors, and the "conversiontype" custom parameter to represent "Contact Us" form submissions. You'd set the first condition to "membertype" > "equals" > "free," and the second condition to "conversiontype" > "does not equal" > "contact us."

Finally, suppose that you want to reach premium members who visit very specific sections on your site. You'd use the "membertype" parameter to denote premium members. And then you would use the "section," and "subsection" custom parameters to specify or rule out sections of the site. As an example, you could use the following conditions:

  • First condition: "membertype" > equals > "premium"
  • Second condition: "section" > equals > "entertainment"
  • Third condition: "subsection" > equals > "movies"
  • Fourth condition: "subsection" > does not equal > "games"
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