About the retention goal (beta)

The retention goal in Google Ads is designed to drive customer loyalty and high lifetime value (LTV) within your business. This goal will offer multiple modes within Performance Max campaigns, allowing you to target specific segments of existing customers.

The first mode we’ll launch is the win-back mode designed to help you win back inactive or lapsed customers and reactivate their interest in your business.


  • Reduced churn rates: By winning back lapsed customers, you can minimize customer churn and improve customer LTV.
  • Increased customer loyalty: Successful retention campaigns can reignite customer interest, leading to increased brand loyalty.
  • Complements acquisition efforts: The retention goal works effectively alongside the New Customer Acquisition (NCA) goal to create a well-rounded customer lifecycle strategy.

Before you begin

To use the retention goal (win-back mode) beta, make sure the following are in place:

Only campaigns that meet the criteria above are eligible for win-back mode during the beta phase. This is because campaigns that meet these criteria will benefit the most from using win-back mode. In the future, we’ll make this feature available to a broader range of use cases.

How to use the retention goal

Note: The retention goal will offer multiple modes in the future. Currently only win-back mode (beta) is available.

Activate the retention goal (win-back mode)

  1. Create or select an existing Performance Max campaign that meets all of the following criteria:
  2. Upload at least one Customer Match list containing lapsed customer data using the following instructions on using Customer Match. You can upload multiple lists for refined targeting.
  3. In your Google Ads account, click the Campaigns icon Campaigns Icon.
  4. Click the Campaigns drop down in the section menu.
  5. On the “Campaigns” page, select the Performance Max campaign that meets the criteria in step 1.
  6. Click the Settings tab.
  7. Select Customer retention.
  8. Enable the customer retention goal.
  9. Click Set up.
  10. Set the value of a lapsed customer. This value reflects the worth of a lapsed customer to your business.
    • Note: This value should usually sit between your typical new customer value and existing customer value.
  11. Select the relevant customer match lists for lapsed customers and existing customers, if applicable.
  12. Click Save.

Monitor your performance

Review the win-back ratio (lapsed customers re-engaged / total number of customers driven from the retention campaign) in your analytics platform to assess the effectiveness of your retention campaign.

Adjust your strategy, budgets, and lapsed customer value as needed to optimize results.

Note: Win-back ratio can be calculated in your own analytics platform or by using the “re-engaged customer” column, which will be available after the goal is enabled.

Best practices

  • Define your lapsed customer: Determine the timeframe that aligns with your customer lifecycle (for example, no purchases within 6 months), ensuring your Customer Match list reflects these criteria.
  • Provide accurate values: Assign realistic values to new, existing, and lapsed customers to help Google Ads optimize bidding strategies.
  • Allocate sufficient budget: Increase your budget by at least 20% initially to accommodate the retention goal's focus on previously inactive customers.
  • Iteratively refine: Continuously monitor performance and adjust your strategy as needed for optimal results.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should I use the retention goal with my New Customer Acquisition (NCA) goal?

Yes, it’s highly recommended. The retention goal complements the NCA goal by allowing you to target all stages of the customer lifecycle within a single Performance Max campaign. Both the NCA and retention goal will enable you to steer AI towards your most valuable customer segments.

How do I know if my retention campaign is successful?

Measure your win-back ratio (lapsed customers re-engaged / total customers from the campaign) on your analytics platform along with other relevant metrics to track the effectiveness of your efforts.

My business doesn't track purchases with Google Ads conversion tracking. Can I still use the retention goal?

Yes, but you must manually upload and designate a Customer Match list as your lapsed customer list.

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