When Should You Use Remarketing Lists for Search Ads?

The paid search industry is changing. Days are gone when only keywords were used for targeting. There are now more sophisticated methods that combine keywords and other targeted elements. One of these is remarketing lists for search ads (RLSAs), which were first introduced in July 2013. Although they have been around for a couple of years now, they are still incredibly underused.

One of the most effective ways to implement a search ad campaign is through an RLSA, which allows you to customize the ads that you're able to deliver to your target audience. It allows you to target your ads at people who have previously interacted with your site. Through a search ad network, you can now improve your search campaigns by setting up customized ad text and keyword bids for your ideal customers. These people have previously viewed your website and are searching for your products or services.

What are remarketing lists for search ads?

The RLSA feature of Google Ads allows you to target ads at your audience based on their previous visits to your site. It works seamlessly across the various platforms of the Google Display Network. It allows advertisers to target their ads based on the specific pages that users have viewed or visited in the past.

Through RLSAs, advertisers can adjust the bid for their ad groups for users who are searching for specific keywords on Google. These ad groups only work if the user is part of your retargeting list and is actively searching for the specific words that you are bidding on.

The RLSA audience creation process involves adding a snippet of HTML code to your website, which will automatically add your target audiences to certain lists based on the actions taken on the site. You can then place bids on these segments for your marketing campaigns.

When should remarketing lists for search ads be used?

When running a standard search campaign, your bid, keywords, and ads are the same for everyone who searches. If you know which searchers are most likely to be value-oriented, you might want to set higher bids, show more ads to these individuals, or present other alternatives to improve your results, using a remarketing list. This feature lets you reach out to your past site visitors and get more conversions.

The remarketing lists are used to reach people who have already engaged with your website in the past.

Best practices for remarketing lists for search ads

RLSAs are useful tools for improving your search marketing efforts by identifying and targeting the users who are most likely to be interested in your website. They can also help you manage your ad spending more efficiently.

Optimize bids

A tire reseller created a couple of remarketing lists for users who came back to their homepage and those who searched for a particular model. The ads and keywords stayed the same, and the bids for the previous visitors were raised a little. The total sales went up by 22%, and conversions also improved by 163%.

Know your audience before beginning

Before you start creating your RLSA list and running your ads, it’s important that you understand your audience. This step can be done by creating a couple of personas and mapping out your customers' journeys. Another step is to analyze your audience's demographics. By signing in to Google, you can easily segment and adjust your lists based on the information that your users provide.

Make the most of a very small ad spend

Large businesses can afford to spend a lot of money on AdWords, but if you have a small budget, you may not be able to get the most out of your efforts. RLSAs can help you achieve the return you're looking for without the need for optimization. This method will allow you to reach a more qualified audience and keep your budget intact for longer. In addition, seeing your ads on a site that already has a lot of users could help you build a stronger brand.

Match messaging to user action

The messages in your RLSA ads should match the actions that the users took to get placed on your list. For instance, if a visitor came from a pricing page, you can use an ad to share a link that will alert them to an upcoming discount. In order to do this, you can create tags within Google Ads that will allow you to track the actions of your users.

Test your brand campaign

There are so many advantages to bidding on a brand name, that I can't squeeze all of them into this post. RLSAs are a great way to create a brand campaign that targets only those who have not visited your site before. This strategy can be ideal if you want to drive new users to your website, as it can be separated from the rest of the campaign.

However, it's important to note that many users will search for your brand when they return to your site, so you might not see as many conversions as if you run a campaign without these. If your client doesn't want to use advertising to bring back users, then this method might be a good alternative.

Bid for broad terms

While it’s crucial to bid for terms related to your company, you should also consider broadening the scope of your search query to include terms that your audience may be looking for. For instance, if you sell software as a service (SaaS), your customers may be searching for the brand names of your competitors before making a decision. By doing this, you won’t have to spend a lot of money on keywords that are not relevant to your business.

Upsell to converted users

Sometimes, you may not want to advertise certain products or services on your website. For instance, if the products or services are low-profit, have a high return rate, or are naturally poor converters, then RLSAs may be able to help you justify your ad campaign.


Performance advertisers can maximize the return on their search campaigns by using a variety of effective marketing techniques, such as retargeting. Creating and managing customer journey maps can help you identify the key points of conversion and improve the effectiveness of your RLSA campaigns. This post aims to give you some ideas on how to use RLSAs to boost your search engine marketing efforts. With the increasing number of features that can be added to them, the possibilities for your campaigns are sure to be endless.

Updated on: 07-Apr-2023


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