A Primer On AdWords Remarketing Using Google Analytics

Remarketing has been around for quite a while as part of the Google AdWords suite of tools. Remarketing works by creating a “list” or “audience” within Google AdWords. The pages that are pertinent to that audience are tagged with special code that allows Google to place a cookie in the browser of anyone who visits that page.

It’s a great way for you to get your brand out there in front of your website visitors, even when they’re not thinking about shopping and buying from your site. There are tons of ways for you to segment your website to serve remarketing ads; you can even get as granular as per-product remarketing.

Think of the power of being able to show someone the exact used car they viewed on your website – on many sites they visit after they’ve left you, for up to 30 days. New sites, social media sites, email accounts, etc. All can remind your shopper of that great car they looked at. If they bought it, your brand and their choice can be confirmed in their mind, this could help alleviate buyer’s remorse.

Previously, we created lists based on sections or products within our site, there was some guesswork and some analytics involved in creating these marketing lists. Now we can use Remarketing with Google Analytics to create a marketing list for those that spend a specified amount of time on your site, or place items in the shopping cart.

Available to Analytics users who are administrators with at least one linked AdWords account, as of July 27th this feature was in beta and being rolled out by the end of the summer.

You can find the remarketing information by clicking on the “Admin” tab in the upper right corner of Analytics, and then find the tab that says “Remarketing Lists”:

With Remarketing with Analytics you can now create one tag, but serve different ads based on the specified parameters, be it time, shopping cart interaction, number of pages viewed, etc.

Google Analytics will help you create lists to use as audiences in your Google Remarketing campaigns, and send them to your AdWords account with the click of a button.

You can use the setup to create a marketing list for those that spend a specific amount of time on your site, or visit a specific section or complete a goal. You can have a remarketing campaign for shoppers who view pink sequin sneakers and add them to your shopping cart, but don’t buy them. You can also have a remarketing list for the “shoes” section of your website. The possibilities are endless.

True – one of the options is not “Spends X minutes on my site” – but you can pretty much create any kind of remarketing list by using a conversion goal.

Setting conversion goals is easy – and once they’re set, you can choose which configured goal after you choose the “All visitors who completed a conversion goal” radial button above.

Now we have a great way to target our audience, we need to be sure the ad copy stands up to the segmentation. This is not a “set it and forget it” proposition. You need to create and test your ad copy. You need to test ad sizes and if text ads work better than graphic ads.

There are a lot of choices on the display network. Try them all, see what works best. Because your analytics are hooked into your AdWords account, you’re going to see amazing data that will help you fine tune your campaigns.

Check out your placements every few weeks and ask Google to not show your ads on sites. Sometimes your ads will be shown on sites that you don’t like, or that aren’t the best match for your brand. You can tell Google to stop showing your ads. 

By creating these marketing lists, and setting up graphics to entice users back to your website, you can gain advertising placements in places that you would never be able to afford through traditional display media. I’ve seen my clients’ ads on sites like FoxNews.com, AOL.com, CNN.com – placements small clients could never afford are now available for fractions of the cost.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Beginner | Channel: Analytics | Google: AdWords | Google: Analytics | How To | How To: Analytics | Intermediate | Search & Analytics


About The Author: is the co-founder of Ignitor Digital, along with long-time colleague Mary Bowling. At Ignitor, Carrie tackles tough technical SEO roadblocks many small business owners don't even know they have. Her experience with analytics and troubleshooting helps her get to the root of issues. When not working, Carrie loves to cook for friends and family, hang out with her pretty awesome kids, and read books that have little-to-no educational value! You can also follow Carrie on twitter, @carriehill.

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  • Lance

    I’m a little confused. How is this different from setting up remarketing within Google Adwords?

  • http://www.facebook.com/carrie.hill1 Carrie Hill

    Hi Lance,
    Well – it’s different in a few ways – now you can use a conversion goal to create an audience, where if you set up strictly in AdWords, that’s a little difficult – by going through analytics, you can create one or multiple conversion goals in analytics and use completion of that goal to drop the remarketing cookie.

    You can also use analytics to adjust just one line of your tracking code and then run as many different lists as you want. Previously you had to place a different piece of code for each “audience” you set up. I’m pretty sure if you just use AdWords to set up your audiences, you have to use different pieces of remarketing code for each audience, and it’s not necessarily attached to your tracking script.

  • Pat Grady

    Reader’s digest = Tag content with code, cookie visitors, target cookied machines.

  • Pat Grady

    Next level = combine tags (has visited X, hasn’t visited Y).

  • Pat Grady

    Next level = realize your naked (not using other targeting) efforts are embarrassing, stalky and not relevant to sites they are on… combine Remarketing with Contextual. Pay $0.20 for visitor to Page Z, pay $0.30 for visitor to Page Z, who has visited X, but hasn’t visited Y. Naked Remarketing is like funnel abandonment recoup – Combo Remarketing is like super charged Display reach!

  • Isaac Wendt

    Love the post. Was looking into how to set a remarketing campaign and this gave me a great amount of insight into ways to set it up.

  • Tony

    Do you need to have an active Adword account spending on Adwords to run remarketing?
    Or can you just run remarketing from Adwords and not spend anything on Adwords?

  • http://twitter.com/LeadsDubai LeadsDubai

    confusing as it my sound but i see big potential in this from conversaion perspective. thanks for sharing this i will learn more about it

  • http://www.facebook.com/carrie.hill1 Carrie Hill

    Hi Tony – You can just use Remarketing without setting up a regular AdWords ads. this is a really good step-by-step tutorial. Things might look a tad different as Google changes things all the time, but the premise is the same. If you’re using Analytics to create your “audience” you’re going to want to substitute those steps.

    Hope this helps!


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