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3 Surefire Strategies for Driving Success with Remarketing Lists for Search Ads

Kye Mou
|
March 17, 2014

Despite increasing complexity and competition, paid search advertising budgets are expected to work harder and drive more revenue than ever before. Unfortunately, marketers continue to struggle with driving relevancy and increasing engagement. For the most part, the challenge is that keywords, creative, and bid strategy remain the same for every search and every searcher. Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) address this challenge by enabling advertisers to optimize campaigns based on user demographics and behavioral attributes. Though the list of use cases for RLSAs is likely endless, here are three strategies used by Marin customers today that underscore the power and flexibility that RLSAs bring to any paid search program.

I Know Where You Clicked Last Session

A user who’s been to your website is more likely to convert in a subsequent visit. With RLSAs, you can increase ad visibility and continue driving customers down the purchase funnel by adjusting ad creative and bids for users who previously visited your website.

By adding visitors who navigated to deeper parts of your website, such as category and product pages, to remarketing lists, you can build highly targeted campaigns that rely on more relevant ads. Creative that include buying signals like “act now” or “buy today,” along with promotional offers, engage repeat visitors. Coupled with optimal bid adjustments, these strategies drive downstream conversions and revenue from visitors who are closer to the bottom of the purchase funnel.

Navigational Searches Cost $$$

Though there are benefits to bidding on brand terms—controlling brand messaging, combating aggressive competitors, increasing SERP real estate, and providing deep links via sitelinks—these tactics tend to address engagement with new customers, as opposed to existing ones.

Marin Software RLSAs


Marin Software RLSAs targeting


With RLSAs, you can effectively eliminate navigational searches by building lists for existing customers who are logged into their profile or account. These users are already paying customers or have converted into active profiles yet continue to click on paid ads to navigate to your website. This behavior ultimately results in wasted ad spend. By integrating first-party, customer-oriented data into RLSAs, you can reallocate budget away from navigational searches in favor of targeting and engaging new users. This strategy is highly effective for subscription-based products and services.

Driving Repeat Customers

Soft goods and services are often repurchased and renewed. For instance, pet food might be purchased every month or an insurance policy renewed every six months. Understanding when customers are likely to become repeat customers enables you to leverage RLSAs to increase the lifetime value of your customers.

Marin Software RLSAs



For example, take a financial services company that requires customers to renew their subscription every quarter. With visibility into their first-party data, which includes subscription start and ends dates, this advertiser could generate two remarketing lists, one for recent subscriptions and another for upcoming renewals. Generating an RLSA for customers with recent subscriptions, the advertiser can decrease bids on expensive, generic keywords for these new customers. On the other hand, creating an RLSA for customers who are coming up for renewal, allows the advertiser to increase bids on those same keywords to increase ad visibility and drive renewals. This strategy enables advertisers to pay more for clicks that are more likely to convert and eliminate those that are less likely to convert.

A Few Things to Remember

As you start to think about how these strategies will benefit your paid search program, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • The maximum membership duration, or how long a visitor’s cookie stays on a list, for RLSAs is 180 days. Consequently, advertisers can’t remarket to a customer from last year, eliminating the ability to drive renewals for customers with annual subscriptions.
  • Don’t get too cute and clever with RLSAs. Since lists must have a minimum of 1,000 cookies (users) before they can be used, highly targeted strategies can fall flat in terms of effectiveness if the audience isn’t large enough.
  • Remarketing lists don’t include users who are signed-in to Google. *Sigh*


Are there other RLSA strategies that you’ve executed on with impressive results?

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