Set up your remarketing lists for search ads campaign

Remarketing lists for search ads allow you to customize your Search Network campaigns to people who have previously visited your website. This article explains how to use these lists in your search campaigns.

Before you begin

Remarketing lists for Search ads are only available for the following campaign types:

  • "Search Network only - All features"
  • "Search Network only - Dynamic Search Ads”

The list membership limit for these lists is capped at 540 days.

How it works

You can apply remarketing lists for bidding and targeting to ad groups or campaigns -- but not to both levels at the same time for a given campaign. 

Let's say you add remarketing lists to a set of ad groups, and you want to use remarketing lists for the entire campaign.  You will first need to remove the remarketing lists from the ad groups within the campaign before applying them at the campaign level. 

The same principle applies if you want to use the remarketing lists for a campaign as targeting for some ad groups within the campaign. You'll need to add the lists again to each ad group in that campaign. There isn't a limit on switching the levels, you just need to follow the correct order.


After you've tagged your site for remarketing, visit the "Audiences" section of the Shared library. You'll find the "All visitors" list that was automatically created when you added your tag. Once you add this list to your campaigns, it will also appear on the Audiences tab, under the main Campaigns tab. Follow these steps to start using remarketing lists in your campaign:

  1. Create a new "Search Network only" campaign, or select an existing search campaign or ad group.
  2. Click the Audiences tab, next to the Keywords tab. Audiences tab

    If you don't see this tab, you'll need to enable it by clicking the drop-down menu at the end of the tab bar, and selecting Audiences.

  3. Click + Targeting.
  4. Under "Add to" select Campaign or Ad group, depending on which level you want to add your targeting.
  5. Click the Add campaign targeting or Add ad group targeting drop-down menu and select Interests & remarketing.
  6. Click the Select categories drop-down menu and select Remarketing lists. You'll find the "All visitors" list and any other eligible lists you've created for your different groups of site visitors.
  7. Click the double arrows » next to each remarketing list you want to add. Your audiences will appear in the "Selected audiences" column.

Confirm your targeting settings

There are two targeting settings available:

"Bid only" (Most common for Search campaigns)

  • Your ads will continue to show to people on your remarketing list and people not on your remarketing list.
  • You'll be able to set different bids for members of the remarketing lists.

“Target and bid”

  • You'll only show ads to members of the remarketing lists.
  • Your ads won't show to people outside of the remarketing lists, even if they match your other targeting.
  • You can still set different bids for members of the remarketing lists.


Keywords are required for RLSA campaigns except dynamic search ads campaigns, regardless of the targeting settings selected

Tips for setting up remarketing lists for search ads
  • You place a single tag once throughout your site, and create as many lists as you want based on sections of your site that people visit.
  • Categorizing your visitors by creating more refined lists allows you to better tailor your ads and your bid to optimize performance.
  • You can place one tag in the footer of your site that will work on all pages. You can also paste the tag using a content management system.

These are the list types available for Google Search:

  • Visitors of a page (if based on rules about the URLs visited)
  • Visitors of a page with a specific tag
  • Custom combination (if based on the same list types as shown above)

Optional next steps

  1. Create additional remarketing lists.
  2. Add the remarketing tag across your entire site.

Add remarketing lists using copy and paste

Once you've set up a remarketing list or lists for one campaign or ad group, you can copy and paste it, including bids, to other campaigns or ad groups.

To copy your remarketing lists:

  1. From the Audiences tab, check the boxes next to the remarketing lists you want to copy.
  2. Click the Edit drop-down menu and select Copy.

To paste your copied remarketing lists:

  1. Click the Campaigns tab and filter for all Search campaigns.
  2. To paste lists at campaign level, remain on the "Campaigns" tab. To paste lists to ad groups, click the Ad groups tab.
  3. Check the boxes next to the campaigns or ad groups where you want to paste your remarketing lists.
  4. Click the Edit drop-down menu and select Paste.
  5. Confirm options and click Paste.
    1. "Include bids": Leaving this checked will include the remarketing list bid modifiers when pasting. If an ad group is already targeting a remarketing list, the pasted bid value will over ride the existing ad group bid modifier.
    2. "Campaign targeting settings" or "Ad group targeting settings": This setting will determine the destination campaigns' or ad groups' targeting settings for remarketing lists. The “Default” option keeps current ad group targeting settings for your audiences. If an ad group doesn’t have any active audiences, the default setting will be selected:
      • “Bid only” for Search Network and Shopping campaigns
      • “Target and bid” for video and Display Network campaigns.
      You can also choose to manually override the settings to “Bid only” or “Target and bid”.
Setting bids, tailoring ads, and copying campaigns
  • If you want to change the bids on existing keywords for people on your remarketing lists, you can use the bid adjustments feature. You can set bid adjustments for remarketing lists in your ad groups.
  • If you're planning to bid on keywords that you don't normally bid on so you can show your ads to people on your remarketing lists, then you can create a new campaign with these keywords.
  • If you want to show different ads to people on your remarketing list, you can copy your existing campaign or create a new campaign before using remarketing lists for search ads. If you create a copy of an existing campaign for remarketing, you'll have two different campaigns in your account, and you can change the bids for the keywords.

    When you copy a campaign for using remarketing lists for search ads, and create new ads for your site visitors, ads from the campaign with the remarketing list are shown to people on the remarketing list. Ads from the original campaign are shown to people who aren't on the remarketing list.


Once you've set up your campaign with a remarketing list, update the bids and budgets and create customized ads keeping in mind that people on your list have already shown an interest in your product or service.

Different list sizes for different networks

In the Shared library, you'll see four remarketing list sizes:

  • Google Search
  • YouTube
  • Display Network
  • Display (Gmail only)

These sizes can be significantly different because there are different types of cookies used to create these lists. In addition, some remarketing lists are available for both Google Search and the Display Network, while others are available for the Display Network only. The "Search" list size is based on people in your list who have searched on Google in the previous 30 days.

Was this article helpful?
How can we improve it?