[UA] About remarketing audiences in Analytics

Re-engage audiences that are likely to convert.
This article is about remarketing audiences in Universal Analytics. For information about remarketing in Google Analytics 4, go to [GA4] Enable remarketing with Google Analytics data.

A remarketing audience is a list of cookies or mobile-advertising IDs that represents a group of users you want to re-engage because of their likelihood to convert. You create remarketing audiences based on user behavior on your site or app, and then use those audiences as the basis for remarketing campaigns in your ad accounts like Google Ads and Display & Video 360.

Note: The Remarketing feature was deprecated for all the traffic inside the EEA (European Economic Area) in March 2024. Learn more about Deprecated Universal Analytics features and corresponding Google Analytics 4 features
In this article:

Identifying behavior

You can use broad behavioral criteria like having simply initiated a session on your site or opened your app, or you can use more narrow criteria like interacting with specific products.

For example, you might create each of the following remarketing audiences and engage the users in them with the following kinds of ads.

Audience criteria Ad type
Users who viewed product-detail pages, but didn’t add those items to their carts Ads for the items they didn't add to their carts
Users who added items to their carts, but didn’t complete their purchases Ads with a discount code for the items in their carts
Users who purchased items X and Y Ads for related item Z

When a user’s behavior meets the criteria you’ve specified, the associated cookie or Device Advertising ID is included in the audience. When any of the users with those cookies or IDs later visit sites on the Google Display Network or use Google Search, they are eligible to see one of your remarketing ads if you win the ad auction.

As you get comfortable with remarketing, you can tailor your creatives and apply remarketing best practices.


Overview of creating and using remarketing audiences

You can use remarketing audiences in Google Ads and Display & Video 360. The Google Ads integration is available to all Analytics accounts. The Display & Video 360 integration is available only to Google Analytics 360 accounts.

To create a remarketing audience, you specify the audience criteria, and identify the advertising accounts in which you want to use the audience.

To specify the audience criteria, you can:

  • Choose from preconfigured audience definitions
  • Create a new audience definition
  • Import a segment

When you save an audience, it becomes available in the advertising accounts you indicated, and you can use it in the remarketing campaigns you manage there.

To use an audience in Google Ads, you need to add it to a least one of your ad groups.

You can publish an audience to up to 10 advertising accounts singly or at once (e.g., Google Ads Manager Accounts, Google Ads Serving Accounts, Display & Video 360). A Google Ads Manager Account counts as 1 of 10, but the audience is available to all child accounts of that Manager Account.

You can publish an audience to an unlimited number of non-advertising accounts like Optimize or Analytics.

You can publish a maximum of 50 audiences to a single Analytics account.

Google Ads integration

The integration with Google Ads offers some additional options that augment standard Google Ads Remarketing:

  • Create remarketing lists based on Analytics data. Build your audiences from Analytics metrics and dimensions (for example, Session Duration, City, and Goal Completions), and engage users who perform a specific sequence of actions on your site (for example, users who visited product page A and then clicked the “add to cart” button).
  • Enable Remarketing with a simple Admin setting in Analytics. You don’t need to make any additional code changes or add any additional remarketing tags to your site.

A remarketing audience must include a minimum of 100 unique cookies in order for the Google Display Network to serve ads to the audience. Remarketing lists for search ads must include a minimum of 1000 unique cookies. These minimum-cookie requirements are the same for the Google Ads and Analytics tracking pixels.

Google Ads remarketing tags vs. Analytics tracking code and Data Import

The Google Ads remarketing tag and the Analytics tracking code require different implementation efforts, and they each collect different data. Analytics also offers Data Import, which lets you import a wide variety of additional data beyond what you collect with the tracking code.

In Google Ads, you build remarketing lists from the data collected by the remarketing tag. In Analytics, you build remarketing audiences from any of the data you have in Analytics. You can combine the two in a Google Ads account linked to an Analytics account.

Google Ads Analytics
Websites: You generate an additional remarketing tag for websites, and then add the additional tag to your web pages.

Apps: You generate a remarketing ID for apps, and then add the ID to your app.

Learn more
Websites: You use the existing Analytics tracking code, and enable remarketing from your Analytics property settings.

Apps: You modify the tracking code that you have included in your app.

Learn more
You can create remarketing lists based on the following rules:

  • Visitors of a page
  • Visitors of a page who did not visit another page
  • Visitors of a page who also visited another page
  • Visitors of a page during specific dates
  • Visitors of a page with a specific tag
  • All users of an app
  • People who did/didn’t use an app recently
  • People using specific versions of an app
  • People who took specific actions within an app
You can create remarketing audiences based on any of your Analytics data, including:
  • All default Analytics data
  • Data imported from linked Google Ads accounts
  • Data imported from linked Google Marketing Platform accounts
  • Data imported via Data Import (e.g., CRM data, product meta data, custom data)
Remarketing lists are native to Google Ads. Remarketing audiences are native to Analytics, and are shared with the linked Google Ads accounts identified in audience settings.
Google Ads tags set the advertising cookies.
For example, a user without an advertising cookie comes to a site that has the Google Ads remarketing tag, the advertising cookie is set, and the user is added to the remarketing list.
Analytics tracking code tags read the advertising cookies.
For example, a user without an advertising cookie comes to a site that has the Analytics remarketing-enabled tracking code, the advertising cookie is not set, and the user is not added to list.
You can use remarketing lists in Display and Search. You can use remarketing audiences in Display and Search.


Next steps

  1. Enable Advertising Features in Analytics.
  2. Learn how to create Remarketing Audiences.

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