by Jennifer


Internet Marketing

Success with Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)

Remarketing with Google AdWords just keeps on getting better! First in 2010, came standard remarketing, which lets advertisers re-engage with users that have previously visited their website as they browse other websites across the Google Display Network. Then in June 2013, came Dynamic Remarketing, which makes it possible to show ads to users that feature products that they have previously seen on an advertiser’s website, adding a further level of personalisation to the product. This was followed very shortly after by the roll-out from beta of Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA), which certainly got the PPC team at ConversionWorks talking.

With this latest addition to the AdWords Remarketing suite, it is now possible to retarget users who have previously visited your site on the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP). This provides advertisers with the option to improve ROI by tailoring their search strategy for different types of users according to previous site behaviour.

Here’s an example of how RLSA can be used effectively. The website ‘’, which sells a variety of cleaning products for pets, has previously been unable to bid on generic keywords such as ‘pet shampoo’ due to high competition and CPCs. A bottle of pet shampoo typically lasts 3 months. With this in mind, are able to reactivate the keyword ‘pet shampoo’, by running a RLSA campaign that targets only users who purchased a bottle of pet shampoo from their website 3 months ago. In this way, users are effectively pre-qualified for their propensity to purchase, resulting with far less click wastage and an improved overall quality of traffic.

Here at Conversion Works, we have been running a few tests of our own, with some great initial results observed:

These examples show the percentage change observed across a range of metrics, comparing performance of a given generic adgroup before, and after, a RLSA target was applied. In both instances, RLSA was configured so that only users who had previously visited the websites, but not converted, saw the generic ad.

Both tests generated significant increases in conversion rate and subsequent improvements in ROAS/CPA. Hardly surprising, due to the ability that RLSA offers to prevent ads from appearing in front of less well-qualified users. Wonderful!


RLSA is a fantastic way of filtering out the good from the bad traffic in order to supplement your existing, well-optimised activity and give your campaigns a healthy boost. There are many ways that it can be used to this effect, including tailoring bid strategies, adcopy messaging and time of day targeting. As with all things AdWords, the key is in the testing, so we advise you to get started today – the opportunities for improvements are plentiful.


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