Dynamic remarketing FAQs

What is dynamic remarketing with dynamic creatives?

Dynamic remarketing is an advertising strategy that connects a user's actions on a client's site back to the creative. You can remarket in this way using Floodlight, a Campaign Manager feature that captures custom variables and passes them back to a dynamic creative to customize the ad. For example, if a user searches Airline.com for a flight from SFO to JFK, the ad shows that user an offer for SFO-JFK flights.

How do advertisers use custom variables to pass through data?

Advertisers use smart technology to pass data collected on page view through their Floodlight tags. There are 20 u variables in Floodlight tags that allow advertisers to customize the data that's collected in these slots (for example, a product SKU when a user browses a specific product page). Information from the tagged pages can be passed through the custom variables and used to target content in dynamic creatives.

Here’s an example of a Floodlight tag for a travel advertiser:

http://fls.doubleclick.net/activityi;src=383639;type=airline977;cat=airline721;
u2=SFO;u3=JFK;ord=69527374?

The user searched for a flight from San Francisco to New York City on the advertiser’s site. The advertiser passed the origin information (SFO) through the u2 variable and the destination (JFK) through the u3 variable.

Here’s an example of a Floodlight tag for a retail advertiser:

http://fls.doubleclick.net/activityi;src=123456;type=defshop11;cat=dephop03;u2=d1b0b221da00a1c9bd0343231d7bd3c0;u3=AN651A00T-802;u10=Taschen+%26+Koffer;
u11=AnaFeld;u13=regular;u15=Accessories;u17=FEMALE;u18=77;ord=613427846467125678

The advertiser is collecting data about which products and categories a user searched for on the site. In the u3 variable, they're passing through the product SKU (AN651A00T-802); in u11, they're passing the brand name (AnaFeld); in u15 the subcategory (Accessories), etc.

How do dynamic creatives stack up to competitors?
  • Access. You build and access dynamic creatives through Studio, which makes it easier for clients to change their creative assets before launch and over time.
  • Data ownership. When you use Studio, you own the data. In contrast, when you work with competitors who don't give you ownership of the data, you risk that data is shared across your competitive set.
  • Flexibility. Dynamic creatives built in Studio give you full advantage of the creative canvas and all available rich media features.
  • Transparency and control. Dynamic remarketing competitors who don't give you ownership of the data don't let you know where media is being purchased and for what price. They have an arbitrage business model that resells inventory at a premium. Since Studio has an integrated and transparent workflow, advertisers who use Studio regain control over information about their users as well as their bottom line.
  • Integration. Dynamic creative diminishes the margin for error and miscommunication. Unified cookie space eliminates data loss.
What kind of advertiser benefits from dynamic remarketing?
  • Travel advertisers can use remarketing to pass origin and destination information.
  • Auto advertisers can use remarketing to get granular about vehicle model, type, and feature targeting.
  • Consumer products advertisers
  • Retail advertisers without competitive experience.
  • Any advertiser already using u variables with information relevant to targeting content (for example, what pages users visited on a site).
What must the advertiser provide?
  • A compatible Floodlight setup
  • Confirmation on the targeted u variables
  • All possible values that could be passed through the targeted u variable
  • A completed feed with content targeted for the values from the u variable, in compatible format
  • Default content for scenarios where values aren't recognized or available
  • All standard assets needed for a Rich Media dynamic creative campaign
  • Confirmation of Campaign Manager advertiser for trafficking (must be tied to the advertiser with the Campaign Manager Floodlight tags)
How does a Floodlight setup work?
  • Values for retargeting must be passed through the u variables.
  • Ideally, you should set up Floodlights individually per advertiser in Campaign Manager.
  • The cookie pool for targeting does not start to build until after Google confirms Floodlight compatibility and sets up the dynamic remarketing functionality for your campaign.
Can I target dynamic content to more than one custom variable?

Yes, you can target dynamic content to as many custom variables as you want to use. For each custom variable, create a unique remarketing attribute and include matching content in the feed.

Are the remarketing values passed in the custom variable case sensitive?

No. For example, if u1=Hello (upper case H) fires in the Floodlight tag and you have hello (lower case h) in the remarketing column of your feed, you will still have a match, and the row with hello will serve.

Are there any special characters allowed in remarketing values?

Don't use the following special characters in custom variables. These characters won't get matched in the feed:
; ! / ?

The pipe character | is used to separate multiple values passed to a single custom variable. Learn more
How is the pipe character | used in custom variables?

The pipe character| is used to separate multiple values in a single custom variable. For example, a custom variable can be u5=product but it can also be u5=product1|product2|product5. The pipe character is used to separate the three products in the second example.

In the feed (in the Studio Dynamic profile), each custom variable of the Floodlight tag should have its own column and each value of that variable should be in its own row of that column. The column associated with that custom variable should be imported as "Field Type = Remarketing value" in the dynamic profile.

A common mistake is to try using the pipe character when you don't really want to separate multiple values. In the previous example, if you insert another pipe accidentally: u5=prod|uct1|product2|product5, these values will now be passed as 4 products ("prod", "uct1", "product2" and "product5").

Misuse of the pipe character can cause problems with the feed setup in the Studio profile, even when using the escaped value for pipe (%7C in ASCII). If the value for the custom variable in the Floodlight tag contains the pipe (either | or %7C), Studio will separate it into two different values and will search for those values in separate rows in the feed.

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