Remarketing Lists for Search Ads: How to use them effectively


To help convert potential customers, Google has released Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA), a way to re-engage consumers that previously clicked on a search or product listing ad. Rakuten Marketing says ’tis the season to use this tool to reach shoppers and sell product.

Yuly Gonzalez, Senior SEM Specialist at Rakuten Marketing (pictured left), explains Remarketing Lists for Search Ads, how the company was an early adopter of RLSA, and that it was given beta access to a new feature, Shopping Remarketing Lists. This feature is an extension of RLSA for Google Shopping campaigns. Here, Gonzalez shares her insights about best practices to ensure maximized performance during this holiday season.

Q: What is RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads)?

A: RLSA closes the conversion loop, making it one of the most effective features of Google AdWords. Advertisers can tailor the approach by customizing bids, messaging and keywords based on visitors’ past site activity and interactions with the brand. Targeting new audiences in another medium provides an opportunity to not only captivate new customers, but capitalize on intent and re-engage consumers who are more likely to purchase.

Q: When should I implement my holiday RLSA campaign?

A: Your holiday strategy should launch as soon as possible, as customers start holiday shopping earlier and earlier. Last year, about half of consumers did the majority of their shopping on or before Cyber Monday (November 30 this year). One quarter of all shoppers started holiday shopping before Halloween. To maximize on the holiday season, marketers should have RLSA plans in place by Thanksgiving or sooner, as you can gain insights and continually refine bids and messaging.

Q: How can a company maximize the effect of its campaign?

A: To maximize performance for your RLSA campaigns, follow these steps to get up and running quickly:

1. Collect the audience—tag your brand’s entire desktop and mobile site.

2. Create target segments—look to the conversion funnel when building this list (think: general visitors, cart abandoners, past converters, etc.). Leverage a cookie window that makes the most sense for your business model.

3. Determine targeting and bid adjustments:

a. Choose the best targeting setting
b. Set bids based on audience segments
c. Identify RLSA bid adjustments based on goals.

4. Tailor messaging—this includes customizing ad copy to connect with the targeted audience segment.

5. Review and make adjustments – revisit segments, bid adjustments and messaging and continue to optimize based on performance.

Q: What does success look like?

A: Successful RLSA campaigns have a strategy that segments the audience properly with custom messages. The campaign budget and bids are set at the right price because marketers know the value of their audience. To learn and grow, never “set it and forget it.” Review results and make adjustments to optimize performance. Be open to testing new audiences, adjustments and messaging. leveraged the beta access to Shopping Remarketing Lists to strategically target consumers who did not convert in previous visits with higher bids. By activating the tips from above and leveraging the expertise from the Rakuten Marketing search team, their campaign resulted in 285 percent higher conversation rate and a 68 percent lower cost-per-action.

Q: How does RLSA fit into the bigger marketing picture?

A: Based on the early success of RLSA and beta testing of Shopping Remarketing Lists, we expect these features to continue to deliver ROI for marketers. Ninety-six percent of remarketing lists members convert at almost twice the rate of regular traffic. With RLSA, there is an opportunity to present personalized messages that converts new visitors and re-engage previous site visitors. This opens up greater prospecting possibilities, allowing marketers to build a robust acquisition strategy, securing RLSA as a key element in the marketing mix. In an era of omnichannel marketing, having an RLSA campaign is one more piece to the holiday strategy puzzle that’s sure to drive results for the early adopting brands onboard.


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