by Bal


Internet Marketing

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA): A Refresher

What is RLSA?

Since RLSA was announced back in 2012, we have been using it successfully across our client base but feel it is still underutilised in accounts we inherit so we thought it would be a good time for a refresher.

You may be familiar with the concept of remarketing in general whereby you aim to re-engage previous visitors to your website by displaying banner adverts across, for example, the Google Display Network. Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) allows you to remarket to previous visitors within the Google search engine results page.

How can RLSA be used?

  1. Optimise new activity: bid on terms that would otherwise be unprofitable.For example, you could target more generic or broader keywords for users that you have on a remarketing audience list. For one of our clients, to create awareness of their Black Friday offering we bid on “Black Friday” as a phrase match keyword for users that had previously been on the site with the aim to catch people looking for “{popular retailer} Black Friday”. Bidding on this term normally would be out of the question due to the generic and competitive nature of this term. This worked well to showcase their sale offering to users who we know have an interest in the brand already but may not have specifically searched for the brands deals on the day.
  2. Enhance existing campaigns: adjust bids for campaigns and/or show different ad copyFor example, you can increase bids by X% for users on remarketing lists. A basic strategy likely to work is increasing bids for users who are shopping cart abandoners. This is because you can be confident that these users are already interested in your products since they got so far down the conversion path thus will have a higher propensity to convert than new visitors. As well as the option to adjust bids, you could also show people on your remarketing lists a different set of ad copy than new visitors e.g. filled with another set of USPs. Combining both these tactics together works incredibly well and helps set you apart from competitor marketing activity.

Is RLSA worth adding?

Yes! We can’t stress this enough. For a client who is one of the leaders in outdoor living products space we are simply bidding between 100%-250% up for returning users and have managed to obtain the following results when comparing the RLSA data vs standard search campaigns:

CTR: +117%

Conversion Rate: +59%

CPA: -18%

How easy is it to get started?

If you already have remarketing lists set up, you are good to go. If not, the first thing is to get the remarketing tag implemented on your site and then create remarketing lists.

Now you have two options based on which strategy you are deploying, either you can create a new standalone RLSA campaign or add an audience list to an existing campaign.

In either case, you can apply lists to search campaigns by following these steps:

  1. Click on Audience tab and the ‘+Targeting’ button
  2. Select a campaign or ad group
  3. Apply a remarketing list
  4. Select either ‘Target and Bid’ or ‘Bid Only’ – please see notes below
  5. Back in the Audience view you are now able to make bid adjustments based on your requirements

It is important to get this setting right: select ‘Target and Bid’ if you wish to only show ads to users on the lists you have added. On the other hand, ‘Bid only’ adds lists so you can bid differently on them but show ads when your other targeting methods match too.

Key Takeaway

RLSA is a simple yet effective tool to boost PPC performance hence we implement RLSA strategies for each and every client. If you have any questions on any of the above or need a hand in setting up a RLSA campaign, please get in touch.


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