When reviewing your Google Ads campaign(s), it’s easy to decide what to do if people see your ad but don’t click it. You need to:
- improve your average ad position, typically by bidding a higher amount (so it comes up higher on the page)
- make your ad copy stand out more (as discussed above), and/or
- work to improve your ad's Quality Score (primarily by making the content of the landing page "match" the ad better).
But what if the problem isn't that people aren't clicking your ad? What if the problem is that the people who click the ad and visit your site just aren't buying anything? It’s a lot harder to pinpoint exactly what is making these people not convert. There are dozens of possible reasons that could be making people choose not to make a purchase from you.
If you find yourself having an overly populated group of those who click and visit but don't buy, don’t feel hopeless. The fact of the matter is that this group is a highly lucrative market that could make your conversions increase with a proper marketing strategy: Remarketing.
What is Remarketing?
Remarketing is marketing to people who have already visited your site. So you're re-marketing to them (a 2nd time). Here's how it works in a nutshell ...
Someone has clicked one of your PPC ads and visited your site, but they left without buying anything (for whatever reason). But Google (and the other PPC engines) can keep track of who has visited your site and show only that unique group of people a carefully crafted remarketing ad to entice them to come back and buy the product they were looking at previously.
This is an extremely powerful marketing technique that taps into the power of exposing the person to your store/products multiple times, which is proven to drastically increase the odds that they decide to buy. Not only that, but remarketing ads tend to give people the feeling that you're a "big player" in the market, as they'll see ads for your store come up on sites all over the web (including hugely popular sites that "little guys" wouldn't normally advertise on).
Start by Setting up your Remarketing Tags
If you do not have your remarketing tag set-up, watch this video which will take you step-by-step through the process of setting up remarketing tags to start collecting information for your remarketing campaign.
If you already have your remarketing tags in place, let’s discuss how to go through the process of creating your campaign.
How to Create a Remarketing Campaign in Google Ads
After you have logged into your Google Ads account, click on Shared Library.
Under Shared Library, you will find all of the information and items that are spread over multiple campaigns and Ad Groups. We are looking to set up a Remarketing Audience so we’re going to click on View underneath Audiences.
Here, you will see all of the remarketing audiences you have created and their data.
Here you can see if your Remarketing Tag is set up. If this box:
... does not say:
then you need to set up your remarketing tag using this video.
Before you start creating your new remarketing audience, you’re going to want to make sure that the URL that you’re using for remarketing is being tracked with the tag. You can do this one of two ways.
- Use Google Tag Assistant and visit the page in your browser.
- Click on then click on the small arrow here:
Here, you’ll get a list of the top ten visited URL’s that your tag is on. If you have more than 10 URLs, you can click on the 'Download the top 500' button to get a spreadsheet of the top 500 visited URLs.
Once you have confirmed that your tag is on the URL you want it on, it’s time to make the your Remarketing Audience!
Back in your Audiences page, click on + Remarketing List
This is where you will build the Remarketing Audience. We’ll focus on creating a remarketing audience from a web page as opposed to a mobile app, but Google does offer that option.
When choosing the name of your audience, make sure it is specific and includes the Account name, Remarketing, and the page whose visitors you are remarketing to. We’ll use Emerchant Broker – SignUp Page – Remarketing Audience.
Now, you need to specify the URL you want to collect visitors. This is done via Rules.
As you can see, you can identify the URL by adding keywords in the URL and selecting contains, or selecting equals and pasting the URL exactly as is. You can also exclude people who have visited certain URLs. Whatever Rules you implement depends on who you are targeting.
You can set up multiple Rules to further narrow down your target. So you could make an audience of people who visit your Blog Page, but not your Home Page or Sign-Up Page.
Once you have set up your rules, you can click on to see a representation of how many people will be in your audience.
Another option to specify a page for those whose URLs are too big, or have too many pages on their site where the audience could be drawing from two pages with the rules, is to set up a second tag.
To do this, select under Who to add to your list.
You’ll be prompted with this.
You could select a tag already in place; however, it is wise to create a new tag for the page every time you make a new audience to be certain you are collecting the data from the right page. After you click on You’ll get this:
So, we’ll have to fill out the rest of the information before we set up the new tag.
Membership duration refers to the amount of days visitors will stay in the audience. The maximum number of days for Google Search Networks is 180, and 540 days for Display. The default number is 30. How many days you choose depends on your audience. What is their buying life cycle? How long does it take for them to move through the sales funnel? If you prefer to market to “Hot Leads” you may want to only keep them in your remarketing funnel for 7 days, but if you know it takes your audience a while to commit to purchasing your product or service, you may want to do 30 or 90 days.
A good Description is also smart to have, one that is detailed and includes the URL where the visitors are being collected from.
Give your new audience one last review.
After that hit
If you choose to add a New Tag you’ll be shown this.
Here, you’ll follow the same process as setting up your original remarketing tag of copying the code and pasting it into your target page’s code before the </body> tag. After you’ve done that, you can hit Return to Audiences.
Now you should see your new audience in the audience list.
Google will continue to collect cookies from visitors to your page and you will now be able to directly market to this audience with specifically designed ads, which will give you a great opportunity for improved Clicks and Conversions.
Setting Up Your Remarketing Campaign in Google Ads
Now that you have your remarketing audiences configured, It’s time to set up the actual campaign.
But, before you go back into Google Ads, you have to create a new landing page for your remarketing audience, or modify the ones you currently have. This is because you’re targeting people who already visited your page and did not convert. So if you send them to the same page, chances are, they’re not going to convert.
Improve your chance of conversion by creating a new landing page, and make sure you acknowledge that you’ve improved your services, or made a significant change. Advertise a special offer, give them additional benefits – make sure your landing page is geared towards conversions.
Once your landing page is set up, it’s time to create the remarketing campaign.
In the Account under the All online campaigns, click on
Then select 'Search Network Only'.
This campaign is going to be devoted to Remarketing, so you’re going to want to label it appropriately.
The rest of the campaign settings should be set up like this:
Under you’re going to choose Search Network Only (we’ll walk through how to set up display remarketing later). Your location should be set to what your standard campaign location is set to. Same goes for Languages.
Your Bidding and budget should be set to:
This is to ensure that you are only paying for people who are still interested in your service. You don’t want to pay for the people who misinterpreted your ad or already choose a different service, which is what paying for impressions will do.
Next, your is going to be set to:
You don’t need to make the Delivery Method Accelerated because this campaign is going to be very targeted. So showing your ads evenly is more effective.
Your Ad Rotation should be set to .
This enables you to get data for all your ads and see which ones are performing better and which can be improved.
With your IP Exclusions you’re going to want to do the same as the regular campaigns and exclude your own IP as well as the IP of anyone who is managing the account. Please remember to do this for ALL of your devices (even your phone).
Next, you’ll set up your Ad Groups. Your Ad Groups should be separated according to the pages that you are tracking visitors from. For example, one ad group should be dedicated to people who visited your Sign Up page and did not sign up, another could be set up to people who visited a free trial offer page and did not choose to take it.
Your keywords should follow the same scheme and methodology of your keywords since you are still marketing the same product, company, or service.
Your ad needs to illustrate both the service you are providing and also the improvement to your service. In this example I use an extension of the Free Trial Offer originally offered to this audience.
Note, you do not have to make an actual change to your service or product, you can just simply highlight something else about your company that this audience wasn’t shown.
Once you have created your ads, you can hit and review your campaign. Once the campaign has been reviewed, you can finish and create your campaign.
Now, to make your campaign target your remarketing audience, you need to click on your campaign in the Google Ads client center. Click the tab to add your new Remarketing Audience to your campaign so you can start targeting them.
Within the Audiences tab, add your Remarketing Audience by choosing here:
First, you’re going to pick which Ad Group you want this remarketing audience to be targeted by. Obviously you’re going to select your remarketing ad group you just created.
Under targeting you’re going to choose Interests & remarketing.
You’re then going to search for the remarketing list you created in the search bar. It’s also important to make sure you click on Target and bid, so your ad group only targets people in your remarketing list.
After you have added your list, you can hit and you’re done! You’re remarketing campaign is set up and targeting visitors to pages on your website, and just like regular campaigns, you are going to want to follow best practices and evolve the campaign with ongoing optimization.
Don’t Waste Money Preaching to the Converted!
It’s important to add exclusions to your Ad groups. It might seem strange why you would want to exclude people from seeing your ads, but take into consideration the people who have already converted. Their cookies have been collected by the remarketing tag for the landing page, so they’re in your remarketing audience but there is no reason to market to them since they have already purchased from you.
This is why it’s crucial to have a “Thank You” page with a tag to collect these people. Obviously, you’re going to want to make an audience of these people and exclude them here.
Here, you’re going to add your remarketing list of visitors who converted, just like you did with the targeting. You can also add exclusions at the campaign level so you only have to do this step once; however, if you did want to make ads for people who have converted (e.g. you are advertising a new product), you’d have to create a new campaign or remove the exclusion and add it to the other ad groups.
Setting Up Display Remarketing
Display Network campaigns are extremely useful in remarketing because with display remarketing you know that your ads are reaching people who are already aware and interested in your service or product. It also enables you to announce improvements to your service, or a new offer in a clear and creative way.
Before you set up your Display Remarketing, you’re going to want to make sure that the images you use are capable of grabbing attention. Use strong colors for your background and big text that highlights the selling points of your company, product, or service. A/B testing is crucial here. Create different images with different color and messaging schemes and compare how well they do.
Under the Campaigns tab in your Account, click on and choose Display Network Only.
You’re going to want to name your campaign with the Client – Remarketing naming convention, and of course select the Remarketing radio button.
Under Frequency Capping you are going to want to cap your impressions at 3 per day, per ad group. This will ensure that no user will see the same ad more than 3 times a day. The odds of someone clicking on an ad decreases the more times that they see it. But the chances increase if they are shown a different ad from the same company. The Delivery Method for your Campaign should be set to Standard: Show ads more evenly over time.
After you click on you will create your first Ad Group. Again, your Ad Groups should be separated in terms of the pages that people visited.
Here, you will choose the remarketing list that’s appropriate to the targeting of your Ad Group. Google Ads also gives you the opportunity to let Google find potential new customers outside of your remarketing list. If you want to use this option, you should create an Ad Group labeled “New Customers” with more generic ads, because users might be confused by ads that are describing new features since they last visited when they never visited in the first place.
After you click on you will now create the ads for your ad group.
Your text ads on the Display Network still need to follow the best practices of Search Network text ads. As stated before, your image ads need to be able to grab attention, describe a strong benefit to the service, and have a call to action.
Each ad group should have at least two image ads for testing. You can click on to get information on the guidelines for images on the Display Network.
You can also use Google’s Display ad builder to create your ads. However, it is worth it to have complete control over your ad images and the Ad builder tends to make ads look more generic.
Once you hit your ads and Remarketing Campaign will be created and start targeting their audience.
Creating a Display Network From AdWords Editor
The AdWords Editor is a user friendly tool to make changes to your Google Ads accounts offline (granted that you have to be online to upload changes made from the editor to Google Ads). Here, I’ll discuss how to use AdWords Editor to create a Display Network, upload image ads and add a remarketing audience to the campaign.
In the AdWords Editor, we’re going to click on to create our new Display Remarketing campaign. Then, we’re going to fill out the necessary settings, including defining it as a Display Network Only campaign, giving it a name, and setting the bid.
Next, we’re going to set up our Ad Rotation, Targeting Method, and Location appropriately. Rotation should be set to rotate evenly to make sure that all of your ads are shown evenly and you can accurately judge their performance. Targeting Method can be set to 'People in, searching for, or viewing pages about my targeted location'. We will narrow the audience by adding our remarketing audience later.
If you are excluding a location, then the exclusion method can be left as is. Your Delivery method should be set to 'Accelerated: Show ads as quickly as possible' so that you get the most out of your budget, and the Exact and phrase matching to 'Include plurals, misspellings, and other close variants'.
After you create your campaign, you can create your first Ad group and ad, just like in search network campaigns. You want to set up your ad groups depending on which remarketing audience you’re targeting. If your entire campaign is targeting one audience, you can separate your ad groups depending on where the ads will be shown (i.e. banner ads, right column ads).
Create your image ad by going to the image tab:
and clicking on . Here, you will name your ad and set up the URL for the page.
To upload your image, click on . The editor will now bring up a browse window where you can choose your image file and upload it.
To set up your remarketing audience for your Display Network campaign, click on the 'Targeting' tab.
Then you’re going to click the Audiences tab.
Click on and you will then be prompted to choose the Campaign and Ad group you want this audience to be assigned to.
Next, you will choose the audience to target.
Switch over to User Lists to look at the remarketing lists you’ve created. Once you’ve selected the appropriate list, simply hit OK and your targeting will be set.
If you do not take advantage of Remarketing, you are missing out on a huge reservoir of sales potential, and now with this guide, there’s no excuse not to.
Just like with ordinary Google Ads Campaigns, Remarketing campaigns require diligence and constant upkeep to maximize success, even more so because, although you’re targeting is narrow and more optimal, you really need to make your ad creatives fresh and engaging. Now go and remarket away!