A remarketing list is a collection of website visitors or app users gathered by snippets of code added to your site or app. When you create a list, you set rules for when visitors or users should be added to the list. You also specify a membership duration for how long you want your visitors or users to stay on the list. Once you've created remarketing lists, you'll need to add them to your campaigns' ad group targeting so that you can show ads to visitors or users on your lists.
This article contains information to help you understand how remarketing lists work.
Before you begin
If you aren't familiar with remarketing, you should read about remarketing setup first.
About website visitors
Visitors are added to a remarketing list within seconds after visiting a page with either the global site tag or with both the global site tag and a remarketing event snippet. Every time someone visits a page on your site containing an event snippet, the visitor's timestamp is updated so the person remains on the list for the amount of time specified by the membership duration.
If people visit multiple pages on your website that contain remarketing event snippets, they can be added to multiple remarketing lists. When this happens, all the ads included in the remarketing campaigns for those lists are eligible to serve. The ad with the highest ad rank will then compete for placement in the auction.
Visitors or users
When you first create a list, it won't have any visitors or users. As people visit your website or use your mobile app, they'll be added to lists based on the rules you've set. You'll want to make sure you've tagged your website or enabled remarketing on your mobile app so that visitors or users can be added to your lists.
Rules are conditions that must be met in order for a visitor or user to be added to a remarketing list. You can use rules to create remarketing lists beyond the default lists that Google Ads creates for you.
An airline wants to show ads about flight deals to people who visited a product page on their website in the past month. They create a "Flight deals" list with a membership duration of 30 days and a rule to collect all visitors to a webpage that has a URL that ends with "flight-deals.html." When people visit this flight deals page, they're added to the "Flight deals" list which the airline can target with an ad campaign about flight deals.
For detailed instructions about rules, see Use rules for website remarketing lists.
The requirement to serve your remarketing list ads varies based on the target network. The accuracy of the estimated list size will vary depending on your list settings, the length of time since your tag was installed, your campaign settings, and other factors.
- Google Display Network must have a minimum of 100 active visitors or users within the last 30 days.
- Google Search Network must have a minimum of 1,000 active visitors or users within the last 30 days.
- YouTube must have a minimum of 1,000 active visitors or users within the last 30 days.
- Gmail ads must have a minimum of 1,000 active visitors or users within the last 30 days in the Display Network.
- Discovery ads must have a minimum of 1,000 active visitors or users within the last 30 days.
If you have trouble with remarketing lists:
When you create your remarketing list, you'll be able to decide if it should be "Closed" or "Open". You can change this status at any time — they don't affect your event snippet or the list settings. However, if you set a list to "Closed", and the membership duration is too short, the list may become too small to use for targeting.
- Closed: This means that your list won't continue to grow and add more users or visitors. Your targeting will also still work — however, the audience you're targeting won't increase in size.
- Open: This status means that your list is growing. Google Ads will continue to add more visitors or users to your list. Keep in mind, if you don't use the list in your campaign or ad group targeting for 540 days, Google Ads will automatically close it. However, you can reopen lists at any time, and they'll start adding users again.
You can set a membership duration for how long a visitor or user stays on your list. Visitors or users are removed from your list by the time their membership duration expires, unless they use your website or app again (in this case the clock is reset for the duration you've set). You’re responsible for complying with any duration limitations under applicable law.
|Network||Default duration||Max. duration|
|Display Network||30 days||540 days|
|Google search||30 days||540 days|
- If you set a duration longer than the maximum, the visitor or user will be removed from the remarketing list at the maximum duration.
- If you change the list's membership duration, the list size that you see in your Google Ads account may be temporarily inaccurate.
- If you change the membership duration after a list has already accumulated visitors or users, the new duration is applied to all current and future visitors or users on the list. For example, if your duration is 60 days and you shorten it to 30 days, anyone who joined the list 31-60 days ago will be removed. Conversely, if your duration is 30 days and you extend it to 60 days, anyone already on the list will stay on the list for up to 60 days.
- For remarketing on the Display Network, if you change the membership duration, that new duration is applied only to site visitors that are added after this change. The site visitors previously on the list will keep the original duration.
- For remarketing on the Search Network, if you change the membership duration, the new duration is applied to both existing visitors and new visitors
You should choose a duration related to the length of time you expect your ads to be relevant for your visitors. In general, the membership duration should be similar to the length of your sales cycle.
If your remarketing lists haven't been used in your targeting for 540 days, they'll be automatically set to the "Closed" status. These lists won't add more visitors or users, but they'll still be visible in your Audience table. You can reopen lists at any time, and people will be added to the list again.
If you sell movie tickets, you might set a membership duration of a few days. However, if you sell cars, you might choose a duration of a few months since it generally takes longer to make the decision to buy a car.
Similarly, if you sell Valentine's Day gifts, you might choose a membership duration of a year plus a few days so that you can reach the customers on your list when Valentine's Day comes around the next year.