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Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA): 4 Effective Strategies


With the Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA), you can use the Google search results to once again reach out to the visitors of your website. Despite the fact that the roll out of the RLSA took place almost a year ago, this option is only used on a small scale. Not convinced yet? In this blog, I provide an overview of four effective RLSA strategies with which to improve your results.

Getting to work with RLSA in 5 steps:

Strategy 1: Advertising on broader (short tail) search words

The first strategy concerns Advertising on broader search words. With broad search terms, I am referring to the short tail search terms that are normally too expensive to purchase. These include the brand names of competitors. Most purchases concern the long tail combinations, such as: shoes combined with brands, colours and ordering etcetera. Whereas you can also use RLSA to advertise on the search word shoes for example, seeing that the text advertisements are only shown to the people who previously visited your website.

 Applying strategy 1:

  • Create a non-branded campaign with short tail search words;
  • Only target the remarketing list (which includes people who have already visited the website).

Using the strategy Advertising on broad search words you will gain more insight into the search behaviour of interesting visitors and, among other things, you will create a good basis with which to expand your search word lists.

Strategy 2: Excluding visitors

The second strategy concerns the strategy Excluding visitors. These are the visitors who, for example, have already registered for the newsletter or who have already converted (if repeat purchases do not apply). Using this second strategy, it is possible to prevent certain advertisements from being shown to a specific public within your RLSA campaign.

Applying strategy 2:

  • Create a remarketing list with the target group that you do not wish to reach;
  • Add this remarketing list to the campaign concerned as a negative target group.

Using the strategy Excluding visitors you only reach the target group that is most interesting to you and this increases the chance of obtaining a conversion.

Strategy 3: Customized advertisement messages

The third strategy is the strategy show customized advertisement messages. With the above, I mean setting up advertisement texts that have been specifically written for a certain target group. Among other things, customized advertisement messages may contain the following: unique discount code, other site links and special landing pages. If a visitor has viewed a certain shoe brand on the website for example, then a customized advertisement can be shown to this visitor by means of RLSA. This advertisement can refer to the previously viewed shoe brand and can offer a special landing page. You target an interesting target group in this way and you can achieve a higher CTR with the customized texts.

Applying strategy 3:

  • Create a new campaign (or duplicate an existing campaign);
  • Only target the remarketing list (which only includes people who have already visited the website).
  • Add customized advertisement messages that are geared to the pages viewed by the target group that is to be re-targeted.


Strategy 4: Optimising bids per target group

The fourth and final strategy concerns optimising bid management per target group. By working with various segmentations, you can use RLSA to optimise the bids and daily budgets per target group. Using a bid multiplier, you can increase the bids for the target group that has already visited your site. Or even make very high bids for visitors who have converted (if a repeat purchase is possible and desirable). The drop-outs in the ordering process in particular are a very interesting target group for many entrepreneurs. By using this bid strategy in which you increase the bids and the daily budgets for this interesting target group, the chance of obtaining a conversion through this target group is increased!

 Applying strategy 4:

  • Create a new campaign (or duplicate an existing non-branded campaign);
  • Only target the remarketing list(s) (which includes people who have already visited the website).
  • Start applying Bid Management by optimising/increasing the bids (bid mulitpliers) and daily budgets for very interesting target groups.


Results and initial experiences with RLSA

You can achieve even better results by using one of the four RLSA strategies or a combination of the four strategies. I have summed up a few initial experiences and results below:

  • Higher CTR; doubling of the click percentage (compared to a normal Search campaign)
  • Lower CPC; decrease can be observed in the average price per click (compared to a normal Search campaign)
  • Higher conversion percentage; doubling of the conversion percentage (compared to a normal Search campaign)

The screenshot below illustrates the differences in terms of results for a ‘normal’ Search campaign and a RLSA campaign. Do you have other experiences or tips for Remarketing Lists for Search Ads? Let us know under comments!


This contribution is from the hand of Peter van Alphen, senior SEA consultant at online marketing bureau Expand Online.