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Create and edit a user list

A user list is a collection of cookies from people who visited your site. If you decide to set up a remarketing campaign, this is the list you target your ads to. Creating the list is the first step in setting up a remarketing campaign.

Differences between a remarketing tag and a user list

A remarketing tag is a piece of JavaScript code that you place on your site. When a user visits a page on your site containing a remarketing tag, Google places a cookie on that user's computer and adds the cookie to your user list.

A user list is a collection of visitor cookies generated from one or more remarketing tags. You can have multiple user lists based off a single remarketing tag.

At first, your list won't have any users associated with it. Once you've added remarketing tags to your pages, as visitors come to your site, they'll start getting added to your list. After you've created your list, you can edit it to make sure you're reaching the right audience for your products or services.

Create a user list

  1. Sign in to your Ad Exchange account at

  2. Click the Bidding tab, followed by User lists from the left navigation menu.
  3. Click Add new user list.
  4. Enter a descriptive user list name and optional further description.
  5. Select the user list options, including membership duration, status, rule type and URL criteria.

    Learn about the available options

    Membership duration in days: The number of days a user's cookie stays on the user list. When you create a list, you specify how long a user's cookie stays on your list, if the user does not visit your site again. By default, the membership duration is 30 days, but we recommend choosing a duration related to the length of time you expect your ad to be relevant for the user. Learn more about membership duration.

    Rule type: Whether the list should collect all users who visit a page or group of pages, or only users who visit during the specific dates you choose.

    URL: The pages where you'd like to collect users. For example, you can collect users for a specific page by selecting Equals, or group of pages using the Contains, Starts with, or Ends with options. You can also choose to collect users across all of your pages, except for a specific page, or group of pages using the Does not equal, Does not contain, Does not start with, Does not end with options.

    Membership status: Indicates whether or not the list is accepting new members. Select Open to allow new users to be added to the list, or Closed if new users should not be added to the list.

    See examples of URL criteria

    You can define user lists using your site's web address or URL. Below are a few examples of how you can create lists based on the site URL.

    Use "Contains" or "Equals" to collect users

    Imagine that you have a site with this URL structure:

    You can create a list called "Category Sports" and define your list by setting the URL to Contains sports to collect users who visited all sports pages. Additional examples can be found below.

    List definition Matches
    URL Contains
    URL Contains sports
    URL Contains basketball

    To reach just your homepage visitors, set the URL option to Equals and type (assuming this is how your homepage URL is structured).

    Websites with descriptive URLs

    If your site has this URL structure:

    To create a list of visitors of your clothing pages and of all sub-URLs without including visitors to pages about accessories, set URL to Contains and type clothing/ in the text box.

    Websites without descriptive URLs

    If your site has this URL structure:

    This type of URL is more difficult to define user lists using the URL. However, there are some non-descriptive URLs that you can use to define lists. If you use IDs to identify a category or product and know what the ID is, you can use the URL to create a list.

    Using the example above, if you know that the "clothing" category of your site corresponds to "category_id=23", you can set the URL to Contains and type category_id=23 in the text box.

    User list rules are not case-sensitive

    When you create user lists, enter terms using upper or lower case, and they'll be matched to the page without regard to casing. For example, if you type CHOCOLATE but your page URL includes the term chocolate, users are still added to the list.

  6. Click Create user list.

Target combinations of user lists

You can create as many user lists as you'd like, and target one or more lists to reach unique groups of users. For instance, you could create a list of users that visited one of your shopping pages and another list of users that completed a purchase. To reach users who shopped, but didn't purchase, set up your targeting to include users from the "shopping" list, and exclude users from the "purchased" list.

Edit a user list

You can make changes to a user list at any time. For example, you can edit the name of the list, the membership duration, or change the membership status. The "Rule type" option cannot be changed.

Some older imported user lists cannot be edited.

  1. Sign in to your Ad Exchange account at

  2. Click the Bidding tab, followed by User lists from the left navigation menu.
  3. Locate the list you'd like to edit and click the name in the Edit column.
  4. Edit any of the available options.
  5. Click Update user list.
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