Reach Higher Value Audiences with Remarketing Lists For Search Ads (RLSA) 2019

In standard search campaigns, advertisers’ bids, ads, and keywords are the same for all search traffic. But if they knew which search traffic represented higher value prospects, they might want to bid higher, customize keywords, or present different ads to these customers to improve results. Hmmmm.

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to tell whether a user has been to an advertiser's site before?

That way the advertiser could bid higher or provide more targeted messaging based on which site pages they have visited in the past.

 

Google Ads remarketing lists for search ads help search advertisers improve their performance by adjusting their keywords, bids, and creatives based on a user’s past action on the advertiser’s website.

 

For example, imagine an advertiser is an online shoe retailer, and there are three users searching with the same keyword. Without RLSA, all of these customers offer the same value to the advertiser.

 

 

Make better decisions with RLSA

Now with RLSA implemented, each of these three identical searches are different. Your client can target each customer based on their history.

 

Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) help your client change their search bids, messaging, and keywords based on the visitors that are most valuable to them, making them more likely to reach the right person with the right message, at exactly the right moment.

he new customer can be offered a special, the customer who already placed an item in their shopping cart can be targeted with an ad about that product, and the existing customer can be informed of an upcoming product.

RLSA begins with placing a Google Ads (or Google Analytics) tag on the advertiser's site.

 

 Define “audiences”

Advertisers define “audience” lists of types of users who visit their site.

 Search campaigns

RLSA allows advertisers to utilize these audiences within their Google Ads search and shopping campaigns.

Scale and optimize RLSA performance

By launching RLSA, advertisers can optimize their search campaigns by targeting audiences searching for their products. RLSA allows them to tailor their search bids, keywords, and ads based on which pages of their site users have previously visited, as well as in what time frame. 

 

1.Target all website visitors

Before your clients begin taking advantage of RLSA, and if they don’t have remarketing lists available yet, they must tag their entire desktop and mobile site through Google Ads Remarketing Tag or Google Analytics, and then create the audience lists that will be implemented in their campaigns.

 

Make sure the remarketing tag is on every page of your client’s site (including mobile!) to build a comprehensive master list. This “all site visitors” list will have the largest possible reach, which, for most advertisers, tends to convert nearly as well as deeper, more fine-grained lists. Your client might also consider creating a few more lists based on the type of site page or depth in the conversion funnel.

 

The most common pitfall with RLSA is testing at too small of a scale. RLSA works because it combines the intent of the search query with the history of your client’s site’s previous visitors. But this overlap only applies to a portion of your client’s Google Ads traffic (typically 10%-40%), so it’s crucial to test at scale.

 

Share the master list across every Google Ads account for your client’s website. The master list should also be applied to all search campaigns.

 

You can easily add RLSA lists to all campaigns in the bid-only mode

 

Bid effectively for top positions

 

After keyword/search query, remarketing list membership is usually the strongest conversion signal in the search process. This means that significant bid adjustments can be warranted and implemented profitably.


Don't be scared of applying big bid adjustments if the conversion data suggests to do so. Getting into top positions for these high-converting users can greatly increase click-through rates and overall conversion uplift.

 

If your campaigns are using smart bidding, there's no need to add manual bid adjustments unless you value audience lists differently.

 

For example, by using RLSA, Clarks saw an impressive conversion rate of 4.5% for RLSA lists, compared to 0.7% for new visitors, and Etihad Airways dropped its CPA by 60%.

 

 

A bid modifier of 200% is crazy!

 

“Well, actually you won’t be paying a bid modifier of 200%. For example, if your keyword has a $0.30 bid, having a bid modifier of 200% only brings your bid to $0.90, and you will not pay that — you will only pay $0.01 more than the advertiser below you.”

 

What about Returning customers will purchase anyway!

 

 

"RLSA allows you to increase bids on keywords in your account for users who have previously been to your site. If you were certain that customers will purchase with you anyway, then why are they even searching again? 


RLSA allows you to leverage a user’s previous experience with your site to gain the top position on Search to ensure you have the best chance of securing a conversion from these users. 


For example, since you sell a wide range of products, RLSA allows you to bid aggressively to target previous purchasers who may not even be aware of the other products you sell."


Returning visitors perform the worst!

“RLSA simply provides hints for strategic budget allocation among visitors and non-visitors. If visitors perform worse, you just may prioritize non-visitors and allocate more budget to them as efficiently performing audiences, resulting in an increase in revenue.”



RLSA campaign management is difficult!


“RLSA can be implemented for an entire account via the Google Ads web interface, API, or Google Ads Editor in a couple of minutes. We recommend applying five to 10 lists. 


Additionally, you can analyze list performance at the campaign or account level and apply a single bid adjustment value for the list across all ad groups, which can save analysis time and ensure that large sample sizes are being used to determine value.”


I've implemented RLSA and have seen no benefit!

“Let’s look at the average position of your ad groups. We have seen previously that if an ad group’s position goes from 6 to 4 after a bid increase, it may be more expensive but with a negligible difference in performance. 


A key focus of RLSA is getting to position No. 1, as this is when we start to see a real impact on performance."


RLSA is not profitable for when I aim for the top position.

“RLSA presents an opportunity to target the top position on search efficiently by only adjusting bids for users with the best prospect of converting. Accordingly, you can take full advantage of the enhanced CTR that is derived from the top position to maximize the chances of gaining conversions from users who show the greatest degree of purchase intent.”


I don't know what incremental return RLSA will give me.


"You could set up an A/B test with the halves of a list to determine the incremental return of a campaign. Use a campaign with RLSA bid adjustments vs. a campaign not using bid adjustments. List splitting can be executed via conditional firing of the pixel on your website or by functionality in the Google Analytics custom segments.


You can also compare two different time periods of RLSA audience data, one with a 0% bid modifier and one with a higher modifier. Just make sure the two time periods compared are similar in terms of seasonality, bids, budgets, and so on.”

Returning visitors perform the worst!

“RLSA simply provides hints for strategic budget allocation among visitors and non-visitors. If visitors perform worse, you just may prioritize non-visitors and allocate more budget to them as efficiently performing audiences, resulting in an increase in revenue.”

 

RLSA campaign management is difficult!

“RLSA can be implemented for an entire account via the Google Ads web interface, API, or Google Ads Editor in a couple of minutes. We recommend applying five to 10 lists. 

 

Additionally, you can analyze list performance at the campaign or account level and apply a single bid adjustment value for the list across all ad groups, which can save analysis time and ensure that large sample sizes are being used to determine value.”


I've implemented RLSA and have seen no benefit!

“Let’s look at the average position of your ad groups. We have seen previously that if an ad group’s position goes from 6 to 4 after a bid increase, it may be more expensive but with a negligible difference in performance. 

 

A key focus of RLSA is getting to position No. 1, as this is when we start to see a real impact on performance."

RLSA is not profitable for when I aim for the top position.

“RLSA presents an opportunity to target the top position on search efficiently by only adjusting bids for users with the best prospect of converting. Accordingly, you can take full advantage of the enhanced CTR that is derived from the top position to maximize the chances of gaining conversions from users who show the greatest degree of purchase intent.”


I don't know what incremental return RLSA will give me.

"You could set up an A/B test with the halves of a list to determine the incremental return of a campaign. Use a campaign with RLSA bid adjustments vs. a campaign not using bid adjustments. List splitting can be executed via conditional firing of the pixel on your website or by functionality in the Google Analytics custom segments.


You can also compare two different time periods of RLSA audience data, one with a 0% bid modifier and one with a higher modifier. Just make sure the two time periods compared are similar in terms of seasonality, bids, budgets, and so on.”

RLSA is not profitable for when I aim for the top position.


“RLSA presents an opportunity to target the top position on search efficiently by only adjusting bids for users with the best prospect of converting. Accordingly, you can take full advantage of the enhanced CTR that is derived from the top position to maximize the chances of gaining conversions from users who show the greatest degree of purchase intent.”


I don't know what incremental return RLSA will give me.

"You could set up an A/B test with the halves of a list to determine the incremental return of a campaign. Use a campaign with RLSA bid adjustments vs. a campaign not using bid adjustments. List splitting can be executed via conditional firing of the pixel on your website or by functionality in the Google Analytics custom segments.


You can also compare two different time periods of RLSA audience data, one with a 0% bid modifier and one with a higher modifier. Just make sure the two time periods compared are similar in terms of seasonality, bids, budgets, and so on.”


Keep it simple. We recommend a limited amount of lists that reflect the website structure or the purchase funnel. That way it’s easy to adapt bids based on how likely users on a list are to convert. This is a structure that works for most of my customers: 

 

  1.  All visitors
  2. Homepage visitors
  3. Category visitors
  4. Product page visitors
  5. Abandoned shopping basket
  6. Converted




RLSA drives efficiency even if you are budget constrained. You will get more qualified visits coming from returning visitors, improving CPA and ultimately unlocking additional budgets.

 

Great! So you probably won’t have to pay more for a click. However, having a bid modifier reflecting the value of users in their list will allow the system to bid higher and capture all opportunities. 

Remember that a competitor might be present in a certain auction, making you miss the first slot if you don’t have bid modifiers that allow you to bid more in that valuable auction.

 

With Target and Bid, advertisers can test out new keywords or ad copies that serve only to specific audience members.

 

This is the absolute last step in RLSA optimization and should only be approached when advertisers have lists applied to all ad groups in bid-only, with bid adjustments reflecting audience value.



 

 

 

 

 

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