Reach past visitors with display remarketing

Set display remarketing bids and ad formats for success

Discover display remarketing setup best practices. You'll learn how to organize your display remarketing bids and ad formats for success.

Pair remarketing with Target CPA

Any advertiser who’s ever manually optimized their bids can understand what an exhaustive and painful process it can be. There are endless optimization possibilities so it can be difficult for advertisers to take into account all the various variables that will have an effect on performance in real time.

Whether you’re a small business with a tight budget or a large company with a lot of marketing dollars, our automated bidding tools solves your toughest challenges when it comes to maximizing performance and increasing productivity. Target cost per action (CPA) offers a smarter, faster, and more efficient way to buy display by using a sophisticated, real-time bid optimization technology to generate bids that will place your ads in the places where they convert the most. Target CPA’s machine learning improves over time as it continuously analyzes each impression, click, and conversion from the ad auction to learn what works and doesn’t work.

Programmatic remarketing advertisers typically achieve the best performance when using Target CPA: it can save you time and drive 20% more conversions at the same or lower CPA.2 Target CPA maximizes results by prioritizing the most recent visitors (who tend to drive higher conversion rates and lower CPAs with more aggressive bids.


Target return on ad spend (ROAS) is the most powerful automated bidding solution, which optimizes the total value of your conversions at your desired level of return on ad spend. Since Target ROAS requires advertisers to pass along conversion values to Google Ads, which can take more time to set up, many advertisers start with the next best thing: Target CPA. Don’t worry: We’ll talk more about Target ROAS in an upcoming section.

Here are some tips for using Target CPA:

  • Start your Target CPA at a level that matches your historical results. Targets that are too aggressive can affect your volume and create big swings in weekly spend.
  • Let Target CPA run on its own for 2-3 weeks. The algorithm needs time to adjust to your targets and stabilize performance. Don’t make major changes to your campaign settings, targeting, or bidding during this time, since that can reset the algorithm.
  • Once you have enough data, monitor performance and adjust your CPA targets as needed. Let’s say you sell shoes for $100 and have profit margins that allow you to spend up to $10 per acquisition. You should steadily increase that Target CPA of $10 to gain more volume and drive more conversions. As a rule of thumb, allow one week between adjusting your CPA targets.

Use all display ad sizes and formats, including text, mobile, image, and HTML5

Programmatic remarketing works to find people in the moments that matter. Ads work best for this effort when they’re tailored to the customer you’re trying to reach. Use all types of ad sizes and formats and you can appear in more places at the right time. Any limitations or restrictions, such as not having certain ad formats, may mean missing an opportunity to catch a person’s attention when it matters most.

The timeliness of your ads are also critical for programmatic remarketing. Our robust algorithm leverages many signals to determine those crucial moments when shoppers are most likely to purchase and will bid accordingly. Let’s say you’re a shoe retailer and a potential customer’s just abandoned her shopping cart. Our internal data has shown that when shopping cart abandonment occurs, the likelihood of a conversion is significantly higher just moments after the abandonment (while she’s still in a shopping frame of mind).

You can increase your chances of appearing in those first few moments after someone’s abandoned her cart if you use as many ad sizes and formats (text and image) as possible. HTML5 ads are also highly recommended since these ads can run seamlessly across devices and screens and lead to a stronger user experience.

Below, you can find the top ten recommended ad sizes across desktop and mobile. Some ad sizes, like 300x250 and 336x280, are shown across both desktop and mobile devices. Smaller ad sizes, like 320x50, are shown mostly on mobile.

Ad size Appears on...
300x250 Both Desktop and Mobile
336x280 Both Desktop and Mobile
728x90 Both Desktop and Mobile
160x600 Both Desktop and Mobile
320x50 Mostly Mobile
320x100 Mostly Mobile
468x60 Both Desktop and Mobile
120x600 Mostly Desktop
300x600 Both Desktop and Mobile
970x90 Mostly Desktop

Use dynamic remarketing to leverage what you know about your customers

Supercharge your remarketing investment with dynamic remarketing. It takes your standard programmatic remarketing to the next level by automatically generating custom ads that feature products most relevant to the user. Shoppers who see ads with the actual product they looked at recently, or similar products, are more likely to return to your site to complete a purchase. These ads save you from having to create tens of thousands of ad groups featuring all the inventory from your website. If your business has a wide variety of products or services, dynamic remarketing is a must-have for your programmatic remarketing campaigns.

Dynamic remarketing is available across all verticals including retail, travel, hotels, education, real estate, jobs, classifieds, and finance.


If you implement Dynamic Remarketing during your Remarketing campaign setup, the recommended list segments will be added to your account automatically. For a comprehensive set-up guide, see our Help Center.

Take the next step: move from Target CPA to target return on ad spend

In a world where you have few products and all conversions hold the same value to your business, Target CPA is an easy starter bid automation tool. In reality, a business could offer a wide selection of products that range in price, or product value. In reality, not all conversions are created equal. Let’s say you’re a furniture store. Your value per conversion can range from $10 for a clock to $500 for a sofa. Setting a single CPA target would mean that you’d be bidding too high for your lower value products (e.g., clocks) and too low for your higher value keywords (e.g., sofas).

Take your automated bidding to the next level with Target ROAS. It solves precisely the challenge mentioned above by taking into considering product value (as one of many signals) when setting a bid. When target ROAS is paired with dynamic remarketing campaigns, advertisers typically see 40% better return on ad spend with the same conversion volume.3 Target ROAS functions seamlessly with programmatic remarketing to achieve the best performance for each impression by leveraging signals such as recency and frequency of site visits, location, time of day, user interests and demographics.

Target ROAS is the most sophisticated bidding solution since it builds upon the Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC) and Target CPA models. Our best-in-class technology aims to get you more sales, which will result in higher cart sizes or valuable leads. Target ROAS can adjust your bids in real time based on the prices of the products the user viewed on your site. For instance, a person who viewed a $5000 flat screen TV will be considered more valuable than someone who viewed a $50 remote control. This real time bidding algorithm is exclusive to Google Ads as it is the only bidding system that can make predictions and bid changes on the auction level.

Intrigued? Learn more about Target ROAS and how to set up conversion values.

Automated bidding solutions image
Automated bidding solutions


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2 Source: Google Internal data, 2013
3 Source: Google Internal data, 2014

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