Dynamic creative remarketing

Set up Floodlight tags for remarketing

Before you can begin to build your dynamic creative, you first need to add Floodlight tags to the webpages where you want to track user activity. The Floodlight tags must be created in the same Campaign Manager account where you'll push your dynamic creatives. Each Floodlight tag should include custom variables that you'll use to pass remarketing data to your creatives.

After tags are set up, test and confirm that your Floodlight tags are firing correctly using Google Tag Assistant.

Decide which Floodlight values to use with your creative

Once the Floodlight tags are added to the appropriate product pages on your website, you'll need to answer some important questions before launching a dynamic creative.

Which custom variables do you want to use for remarketing?

A Floodlight tag can have up to 100 custom variables (also referred to as u-variables). However, we recommend only using 1 or 2 custom variables in your dynamic strategy. For example, retailers often use their product SKU. Auto advertisers might use car model and color.

If you want to target users who have added more than one product to their shopping cart, you can also pass multiple products to a single variable. To do so, separate individual values using the pipe character: |. For example, u1=product1|product2|product4.

How many values will you capture in each cookie?

You can capture 1–10 values per cookie. After the maximum number of values is reached, values will be deleted to make room for newer values.

Make a complete list of all the expected values to pass through the Floodlight tag to make sure you match dynamic content to each of these values. For example, a viewer may browse three different pairs of shoes. Will you retain all three of those product SKUs in that viewer's cookie? Or do you only care about the most recent product SKU?

How long will captured values be available for use in dynamic remarketing?

The lifespan of a remarketing attribute value can be anywhere from 1-30 days. For example, if the lifespan of a certain remarketing attribute is three days and a viewer browses fruit juice, the custom variable value representing fruit juice is stored in the viewer's cookie for three days. After that time, the cookie associated with fruit juice is deleted.

Should there be a default in the campaign?

If you are not planning to target dynamic content to each value that can be passed through the Floodlight tag, then it's important that you set up default dynamic content. For example, if the focus of your campaign is special offers for certain flight routes and a user searches for a route with no special offer, then you'll want to show them a more generic, default version of the ad.

Supported characters in custom variable values

Avoid using any special characters in custom variables when possible, because values with special characters may not be passed correctly from feed to creative. Most feed values should only use these characters:

  • Uppercase and lowercase letters (A-Z, a-z)
  • Numbers (0-9)
  • Underscore (_)
  • Hyphen (-)

However, there are some cases where you'll need to use special characters.

Custom variable values in the feed are not case-sensitive. For example, the Floodlight tag value u1=Hello (upper case H) will match both "Hello" and "hello" in the feed's remarketing column.

Using spaces in values is not recommended, however remarketing values such as "model SUV" or "San Francisco" will work when fired in the Floodlight tag and matched in the feed.

Character limits

Each remarketing value or custom variable value has a maximum length of 120 characters.

Special characters allowed with multiple values or echo remarketing

Use the pipe character only as a separator when passing multiple values to a single custom variable.

  • Pipe |

Some characters are acceptable to use in date values passed with echo remarketing. Using these characters for any other purpose is not recommended.

  • Unicode letters
  • Percent signs: %
  • Limited punctuation marks: : . , ! ? /

Don't use percent-encoding

Do not percent-encode characters in feed or Floodlight values. For example, never attempt to store values like "ProductSKU_product_20enc_char_20%20aaaa%20bbbb%20cccc"; this won't work. 

Forbidden characters

Never use the following characters in custom variables, either directly or percent-encoded.

  • Hashtag (#)
  • Comma (,)
  • Single quote (')
  • Double quote (")
  • Percent (%)
  • Backslash (\)
  • Semicolon (;)
  • Ampersand (&)

Passing more than one product to a single custom variable

Usually a shopping cart contains more than one unique type of information (for example, several product IDs, or brands, or categories). To remarket using more than one product in a person's cart, pass each of the IDs to a single Floodlight variable, separating each value with the pipe character: |. For example, u1=product1|product2|product4.

Avoid passing any other special characters as part of the values, which will prevent them from matching with your feed.

Retail example with multiple values

Imagine you have three product slots in your creative and you'd like to retarget the three most recent products the user put into their shopping cart. The user first adds a shirt, then jeans, and then a coat to their cart. The order in the custom variable would look like this:
u1=shirt|jeans|coat

The values in the custom variable are listed in the order they were added to the cart. However, since multiple values do not have unique timestamps when the Floodlight tag is fired at the same time, the user isn't retargeted with the most recent product first. Instead, they'll be targeted with the order the products were added to their cart: shirt, jeans, and coat. To target the product that was added most recently (the coat), you must edit the dynamic content code in the creative to account for this order.

Dynamic creatives take the first product from the custom variable first, and the last product last. If the user puts four products into his shopping basket, the user would only see the first three products in this example. The fourth product is not saved in Studio, and is not displayed in the ad.

Understanding reports with multiple values in one custom variable

Each of the values passed to a one custom variable is reported as an individual dynamic element in the campaign's dynamic report. In the retail example above, you would see one row for each product triggered. However, in the Floodlight report, multiple values in one custom variable are reported as one string. For example, one row in the report would contain 123456|789023|3458994 for all three products, instead of reporting each product in a separate row (for example, 123456 and 789023 and 3458994).

You can learn more about report types in the Campaign Manager Help Center:

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