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Remarketing Lists & RLSA Campaigns

RLSA campaigns are a relatively new feature of Google AdWords which most PPC managers have begun to use. Essentially, RLSA campaigns allow us to alter our PPC strategy for people who have already visited our website, or specific pages of our website. The options that this gives us as advertisers are virtually limitless, and here I outline a few of the main strategies which can be used for RLSA campaigns.

1)      Change your CPC bids

Changing your CPC bids is probably the simplest of RLSA strategies. The assumption is that if someone has visited our website previously, and is now searching for a relevant product or service, we are willing to pay more for the click as they are more likely to engage with our site. So by simply increasing the CPC bids for the keywords within our RLSA campaigns, we will attract people who have previously visited our site, as they are deemed to be more valuable to us.

Take note however, that in certain circumstances, we may wish to decrease our CPC bids for RLSA ads. Take for example, a subscription website, where the goal of the PPC campaigns is to create sign ups. We also have a remarketing list which contains only people which have subscribed. If we have someone that has already subscribed to the site, are we still willing to pay more for the click? No. Since the click is less valuable to us, we would rather save our budget for people who are likely to subscribe, in which case, we will decrease the CPC bids for this remarketing list.

The implementation of this strategy is very straight forward – simply copy your campaign in its entirely to a new campaign, set the relevant remarketing list as an audience, and simply increase of decrease the bids of all keywords. As always, we then track the campaign closely until we have enough data to analyse the results.

2)      Change your keywords

An interesting strategy to trial is to use different keywords for your remarketing campaigns. Let’s say for example that we sell bamboo bed linen, and we have a remarketing list which contains all past visitors to the site. When one of these people makes a relevant search, but a search which is not covered by the keywords in our main campaigns, why not show them an ad? Say for example someone on our remarketing list searches for “Bed Linen”. We know that they are interested in bamboo bed linen, so showing them an ad for this when they search a related product is surely worthwhile. So RLSA campaigns give us the option of opening up our keywords so that we are showing ads on less qualified search terms, to people who have previously visited our site.

3)      Change your ad messages

Another RLSA option to explore is the use of tailored ad messages to show to members of our remarketing list. Although there are guidelines around what you are and are not allowed to say in your ads, we can still use our knowledge to our advantage. For example, since we know that the person who is seeing the ad has been on our site before, they should be familiar with our brand, and we could therefore give emphasis to the brand in the ad in order to build familiarity. Emphasising the brand to people who have been on site before is People who have not been on our site before, or even heard of our company.

Another option here would be to focus on a particular product. Say we sell laptops, and we have a remarketing list for people who have viewed our products. Next time they search for “Laptops”, we could show them an ad detailed the best deal we have on currently. We can show them the make, model, some of its specifications and of course the price. This is more likely to engage a visitor than a generic ad.

4)      Change your sitelinks

Similar to the previous point around changing our ad messages for our RLSA campaigns, we can do the same with our sitelinks. For example, say we are a company selling clothing, and we have separate remarketing lists for visitors to the men’s and women’s areas of the site. Now when someone on our women’s remarketing list searches for “Navy Jeans”, we can show them sitelinks which relate only to the women’s clothing that we sell. We can also pick specific products to highlight here, which are more likely to engage than a more generic ad.

5)      Use lists & combinations

This is where it gets a bit more complicated. What if you have people on various remarketing lists? What if, in the above example, someone has been on both the women’s and men’s areas of the site? Which ad do we want to show them? Probably, we don’t want to show them an ad specific to women, or an ad specific to men, as there is a 50% chance that this will alienate our potential customer. This is where we need to use combinations. So do we create a new remarketing campaign for people who have looked at both men’s and women’s clothing? Maybe we should. What if this person has already made a purchase, and is on our remarketing list for people who have already bought something from us? Do we still want to show them an ad? Not sure. Now we are really trying to get inside the mind of our customers. Each of us knows our own customers, and it is up to us to work our which people are most likely to buy, enquire, or sign up. The options within this are endless.

As mentioned at the start, these are just a few possible strategies. The key to the success of our RLSA campaigns is to understand our customers and their behaviour, and adapt our RLSA campaigns accordingly, whether by changing CPC bids, keywords, ads, sitelinks or any other variable, in order to find the best results for us and our clients.

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