Reach past visitors with display remarketing

Set up display remarketing for success

Learn how to setup display remarketing to drive the best possible performance. You'll learn how to use and setup remarketing tags across your desktop and mobile sites.


When people buy flights or research real estate online, they don’t just go to one website and make a decision. People go to multiple websites and apps to read reviews, comparison shop or look at photos. It's no surprise, then, that consumers visit websites at least 6 times, on average, in the purchase process1. And for those who abandon a shopping cart, 75% say they intend on returning to a retailer’s site to make a purchase.2

How do you bring those potential customers back? Say hello to remarketing. While standard remarketing puts your ads in front of previous website and app visitors, dynamic remarketing takes it one step further by tailoring the ad creative to include products or services users viewed on your site. This helps you deliver more relevant ads and improved performance. Best of all, dynamic remarketing works across all verticals from real estate to travel to education.

In the first part this guide, we’ll go over remarketing best practices to help you win those crucial moments when people are ready to buy. This will be your building blocks for creating winning standard and dynamic remarketing campaigns.

In the second part of this guide, we’ll go over dynamic remarketing best practices. We’ll focus specifically on how to create and optimize business data feeds. If you’re a retail advertiser, you should use the Google Merchant Center feed. For all other verticals, you should use the business data feed.

Tag your entire desktop and mobile site

A common pitfall advertisers face is tagging their site partially, which means they may be missing some of their site visitors from their remarketing lists. To make the most of Programmatic Remarketing on Google Display, add the same remarketing tag across your entire desktop and mobile sites.


If you have a mobile app, you can also tag your entire app with a remarketing tag. Learn more about setting up remarketing for mobile apps and driving mobile app engagement.

Tags are tiny bits of code that help you learn more about visitors and what they want. The more you know, the more effective your remarketing will be. As visitors come to your site, tags will work with cookies to generate a notice of their visit.

Adding and changing tags on every page of your site can be time-consuming for your web developer, so we also suggest you implement a container tag. It’s a master tag your web developer adds across your entire site just one time. From then on, you can easily add new site tags and change existing tags such as the remarketing tag and other tags you may need for your online marketing efforts. Google Tag Manager allows you to manage tags in this way through an easy to use visual interface and doesn’t require you to change code on your site.

To get started, create the container tag and place its snippet of code in the global header or footer of your website.

There are two types of remarketing tags you can use to opt into Programmatic Remarketing on Google Display: the global site tag (formerly known in the old version of Google Ads as the "Google Ads remarketing tag") and the Google Analytics (GA) tag. Either works well, so the choice really depends on what tag you already use on your site.


If using the GA tag, make sure you select the "Use GA tracking code" instead of the "Google Ads remarketing tag” option in your Google Ads account. You’ll find this option in Google Ads under Shared Library > Audiences > View Tag Details.

Let's dive in a little deeper:

Tag Key Benefits
  • If you're placing a completely new tag on your website, GTM is recommended. It's a single site-wide tag that uses rules to fire Google and third party tags.
  • Place the container tag on every page of your site. You'll be able to quickly add and update tags(such as the Google Ads or Google Analytics tag) from an easy, user-friendly interface.
  • If you want to use detailed site analytics data for remarketing, the GA tag is recommended. GA also provides full-featured website analytics capabilities to analyze and optimize performance.
  • If you’re already running GA, you can enable remarketing easily from the UI without any tag updates. Under your advanced settings, set Enable Advertiser Features to ON.
  • Create remarketing lists based on web page URLs, custom parameters, or your customers’ website behavior, such as time on site or number of pages visited.
Google Ads TAG
  • If you’re looking to enable remarketing only, the Google Ads tag is recommended.
  • If you’re already running Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA), just continue to use the same tag.
  • Create remarketing lists based on web page URLs or custom parameters.
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1 Source: Google/Nielsen Study: Mobile Path to Purchase: Five Key Findings, November 2013.
2 Source: BI Intelligence Study: Shopping Cart Abandonment Report, March 2015.

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