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The concept of remarketing is a familiar one to marketers, and even to many consumers. Often the first thing that comes to mind are those “creepy” display ads that follow you around the web after you visit a particular website. 

They remind you which website you visited, and often the specific product you were looking at. The goal of these ads is to stay in front of consumers, since the sad fact remains that 95-98% of them will not convert on their first visit to your site.

Display ads certainly have their value. However, their inherent problem is the lack of control that advertisers have over where and when their ads are shown. A principle of successful advertising is getting your brand or product in front of consumers, ideally at a time when they are receptive to your message or showing signs of purchase intent. Too often, these ads are shown beside a news article you’re reading, above the 10-day forecast you’re checking, or below the viral video your friend sent you. In these instances, the consumer is likely locked into the content they have specifically sought out, and not receptive to an advertisement. Many of us have even trained ourselves to tune out banner ads altogether.

So how can we make remarketing ads more impactful, and show them at a time when our users are more likely to take action?

One way is through Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA). It’s not a new offering from Google, but it is an underused and perhaps under appreciated tactic. The gist of RLSA is that you compile automated lists of users that visit your site through the use of cookies and Google Analytics. This list can simply be all site visitors, or more specific lists of users that visit certain pages or sections of your site. As these users return to Google and perform relevant searches in the next 30, 60 or 90 days (the time frame is up to you), you can show them text ads that remind them of your business and nudge them to return to your site and convert.

These ads have the same look and feel as traditional pay-per-click ads, but they elicit significantly higher click-through and conversion rates because the audience is so well optimized – it consists of only people that have visited your site. This ensures some level of awareness for your brand, and you’re also catching them at the precise moment when they are showing interest in your products or services by performing a Google search.

Using RLSA, we’ve seen click-through rates hit 25-30%, and conversion rates near 10%.

These levels are well above what’s attainable with display remarketing and even traditional search campaigns. As an added bonus, RLSA allows you to go after a much broader set of keywords that would likely never be profitable when targeting the general public at large.

Research strongly suggests that consumers in 2016 perform multiple searches on their path to making an online purchase. No matter how someone first finds your site, utilizing RLSA to stay in front of them with highly relevant ads at the moment they are showing purchase intent is a great way to get the best bang for your buck in the increasingly competitive pay-per-click landscape.


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