Use cases for Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)

There are many opportunities to remarket using Google Analytics and Google Ads, with many people taking advantage of this on the Display Network which requires only 100 visits to your web site. RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) is for Google search ads and requires at least 1,000 cookies before RLSA is available. Google states their required minimum of 1,000 is to protect the privacy of the people on your list. What makes this great for search is the ability to use a remarketing list combined with your keyword search campaigns. 

The first step is to enable remarketing in Google Analytics. Check your Property Settings, then look for Tracking Info, then Data Collection.  Simply turn it to “on” once you get there.  If you are brand new to Google Analytics, you will want to enable this immediately even if you are not sure when or if you will remarket. Since your RLSA list does need 1,000 cookies, it may take some time to collect this many cookies on your site, depending on your site’s volume of traffic.  

If you have enough cookie data and are ready to start using RLSA, here are some use cases to consider in the context of the goals for your site. 

  • Exclude customers searching for your company name. In this case, they already know about you, but forgot your exact URL. Assuming you are doing okay with your SEO strategy, you should show up on the first page for your brand name and would want people to click on your organic link and not your paid listing.
  • Create ads for website visitors that abandoned their shopping carts.If they start a Google search for what they almost bought from you, here is an opportunity to get in front of them again with an offer that will entice them to complete the conversion process.
  • Target people who have converted but did so a while  ago. Perhaps your product is one people tend to buy quarterly. In that scenario, you would target every quarter (90 days) and remind them it is time to buy again. (If a site has a low volume and few conversions, this is a tough strategy for some advertisers.)
  • Although I bid low when starting a new search campaign for clients, using RLSA is when it is time to increase those bids. This list is of people interested in your products or services so when they continue their research, or search again, on Google.com, you want to remind them of their past interest in you.
  • A recommended keyword strategy for Google search campaigns is to have tightly themed ad groups targeted to appropriate landing pages. However, with RLSA, you may actually want to use broader keywords. This can keep your targeted audience from becoming too narrow.
  • The same remarketing rule of “Don’t Be Creepy” applies to search just as much as display. You don’t want to say “Finish buying our ____.” Not only will that feel like an invasion of privacy, it could result in some uncomfortable conversations in a household with multiple people using the same computer. A better strategy is to make the offer based on assumptions about why the person did not complete a purchase. For example if visitors abandon their carts when shipping costs are displayed, a promo code for half off shipping can get their attention without feeling like an invasion of privacy.
  • Focus on engaged users. You can create ads if they spent a certain amount of time on the site or visited a number of pages.
  • If you have an ecommerce site, you can engage some of your big spenders. Invite them to come back and spend even more based on their purchasing habits and what they have bought from you previously. You may find a better ROI for your ad spend if you go after this group.

There are some limitations to RLSA. Some dimensions, such as age and gender, are not available because of privacy.  You also unfortunately can not use language, location, operating system, device or browser. But the above scenarios make a case for giving RLSA a try.