What To Know About Google Remarketing

Jill Conway


August 27, 2021 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

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Have you ever left an online store without buying something, but suddenly advertisements for that store start popping up everywhere you go? That’s Google remarketing. It’s the act of taking your information, along with certain products you’re interested in, and saying “Hey! I’m still here if you need me!”

Many companies and businesses use Google remarketing to gently push customers into making up their minds and convince them to buy a product or service. Though the tactic might seem a little annoying, the strange thing is, when done well, remarketing can produce remarkable results! In this guide, we’ll tell you more about Google remarketing, how it works, and how you can start using it yourself.

What Is Google Remarketing?

Remarketing is a tool that Google offers to help companies create more effective advertisements for their products and services. The way it works is that Google keeps track of a company’s website and the customers who visit it. If the customer leaves the website without making a purchase, Google remarketing can track them down and display an advertisement saying “I noticed you visited this company, do you want to go back?”

The technology is useful because it helps to gently pull customers back to a company, allowing it to generate business that would have been lost otherwise. People won’t always buy something every time they visit an online store. However, if a company continues to demonstrate a desire for the customer’s business or offer them additional discounts, the customer might change their mind.

Does Google Remarketing Work?

It’s not easy to say how effective Google remarketing is in general. This is because it often depends on how well a company markets itself. You could say there’s not a downside to reminding customers about a business after they leave it, but all types of marketing have the ability to tire customers out through ad fatigue.

Ad fatigue is exactly what it sounds like: people getting annoyed from seeing constant ads for a specific company. Many companies try to avoid it because people can change their browser settings to stop seeing their ads. When this happens, it can greatly reduce a company’s ability to produce effective marketing.

That’s why it’s important to use Google remarketing strategically and keep track of its success. One of the best ways to do that is by examining changes in your company’s click-through rate and conversion rate. If you see increases in both of those numbers, it means your remarketing might be successful. It also hopefully means other numbers will increase, such as your revenue.

A few great ways to avoid ad fatigue and develop strong remarketing tactics include:

  • Consistent monitoring of marketing campaigns.
  • Updating ads to keep them new and fresh for the consumer.
  • Targeting ads so they stay relevant to customers.
  • Testing new call-to-action phrases.

How Do I Run Google Retargeting Ads?

There are several ways to run effective retargeting ads through Google. Each way offers a variety of options, depending on the business and its needs. Some of those options can include:

  • Standard remarketing: This is the most common form of remarketing that Google offers. It targets consumers who recently viewed your company and reminds them that you exist.
  • Dynamic remarketing: Dynamic remarketing is one step above standard remarketing. It provides consumers with ads for products or services they recently viewed but didn’t buy. Sometimes, companies might even offer discounts on those products to help entice them.
  • Search remarketing: Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA), is a form of Google Ads. It displays target advertisements to consumers who use Google’s search engine. For example, when a customer visits a sporting goods website, the company can tag the user. Then, when the customer searches for “sporting goods” in the future, Google can show them advertisements for that same company.
  • Email remarketing: Email remarketing is when companies use a list of email addresses to target their ads. Companies get the addresses from their customers and give them to Google. Then, Google uses the list to show customers ads on their tools like Gmail, Google search, and YouTube. The company also uses the list to send customers promotional offers and discounts.
  • Video remarketing: Video remarketing is just as it sounds: remarketing through video ads. Google uses videos from companies’ YouTube channels to show advertisements to customers. Most often, these ads are shown when customers are using YouTube or other video hosting sites.
  • Remarketing for mobile devices: Google remarketing can also target consumers while they’re using mobile apps. If a customer uses a company’s app, Google can mark them and display the company’s ads on other apps and websites.

Benefits of Google Remarketing

Because it consistently displays ads, remarketing can have a lot of benefits. First, it produces well-timed ads for customers. It also tracks them based on their previous searches or interactions with a company. When combined, both of these help to target customers who are most likely to buy something.

For example, let’s say someone wants to buy a new set of dishes. They might Google “best all-in-one dish set” and find a company that specializes in kitchenware. If the customer decides not to buy right away, it doesn’t mean their desire to buy is gone. Using Google remarketing, the company can remind the customer about its products and make a sale. CopyPress also offers eBooks that help people optimize their online stores to help finalize sales. Sign up for the eBook today!

Another major benefit to Google remarketing is its large-scale reach. The technology has the ability to target consumers on many devices, browsers, and websites. That means, the customer is probably going to see the ad, and it might sway their purchasing decision.

How Does Google Remarketing Work?

Knowing the ins and outs of remarketing can help you perform it better. So, let’s talk about the details of the technology and understand how it functions.

Google’s remarketing service works through Google Ads, their new marketing tool. Through this, businesses receive a tag, which is a piece of code they add to all the pages on their website. That code then collects information from anyone who visits the site. This can include their email address or a product that interests them. Companies and businesses can use this information to develop effective marketing campaigns.

The most common type of marketing campaign, which we’ve discussed a little already, targets customers with ads on other websites. Let’s say a customer puts something in their shopping cart but never buys it. The company could use that information to show them an ad on another website saying, “Click here for free shipping on all items in your cart!”

Companies and businesses can use Google remarketing in other ways too. For example, let’s say a customer searched an online clothing store for “black ripped jeans.” The store could save that data and add the customer to a list of other people who searched for the same thing. If the company learns that a lot of its customers look for “black ripped jeans,” they could develop a new sale or promotion to sell more of them.

The company could also email each of the customers who searched for “black ripped jeans.” The email could inform them of a promotion and reignite their interest in the product. These tactics help engage with customers and give them that last push into making a purchase. The better the remarketing works, the more the company succeeds and grows.

How Much Does Google Remarketing Cost?

Compared to other forms of advertising, Google remarketing can be fairly affordable to many businesses. This is because their pricing uses a pay-per-click system, which means companies don’t pay for the advertisement unless a customer clicks on it. It’s a pretty straightforward system, and remarketing ads often cost the business between $0.25 to $0.60 per click. That’s a big difference when compared to pay-per-click ads on search engine results, which can range from $2 to $3 per click.

However, like any marketing campaign, those prices can add up. If a hundred people click on the remarketing ad at $0.60 per click, that’s a quick total of $60. If a thousand people click, it’s up to $600. That’s why it’s important for companies to monitor their marketing campaigns and make sure they’re providing value to their customers. When customers find value in a company’s ads, they’re more likely to click on them, which can increase the company’s revenue and success.

How To Set Up Remarketing Codes

If you want to start some remarketing campaigns of your own, it’s helpful to understand how to set up remarketing codes and get started.

1. Set Up an Analytics Account

If you don’t already have a Google Analytics account, you first need to create one and a property for each website you want to track. Go to the Google Analytics website and sign in with your Google account.

Then, create an account name and select which data you want to share with Google. You will then be prompted to create a property by entering a property name and selecting a reporting time and currency. Underneath the currency selection, click “Advanced Options” and toggle “Create a Universal Analytics property” to the on position.

Screenshot of Google Analytics account.

Type in your website URL and select one of the two options underneath it:

  • Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Property and a Universal Analytics Property: This option creates a parallel Googly Analytics 4 Property that collects data with your other Universal Property. The two properties are based on different models.The GA4 is often considered more beginner-friendly and can help with data collection.
  • Universal Analytics Property Only: This option forgoes the GA4 Property creation. It just creates a Universal Analytics Property.

Screenshot of Google Analytics account.

Click “Next” at the bottom of the page and then select your industry, company size, and how you hope to use Google Analytics. These selections are not required, but they help Google tailor your Analytics experience.

When you’re all done, click “Create.”

2. Retrieve Your Tracking Code

Once you have a Google Analytics account, you need to retrieve your tracking ID for each of your webpages. If you’ve just created an account and property, a new window should appear that lists your streaming details. However, if you need to find it again, simply click on Admin in the lower-left-hand corner. Then, under the Property column, click on “Data Streams.”

Screenshot of Google Analytics account, Data Streams page.

It should open a panel on the left-hand side of the screen that lists your created data streams. You should see your website’s URL. Click on it.

This will open your Web Stream Details. Scroll down and underneath Tagging Instructions, click on “Global site tag.” The page will drop down to reveal your global site tag: a few lines of code that you’ll use to send information from your website’s pages to your Google Analytics account.

Screenshot of Google's Global Site Tag.

3. Add the Code to Your Webpages

How you add the code to your webpages can vary, depending on how you created your website.

Static website

For static websites, there should be a section in the HTML with the beginning marked as <head> and the ending marked as </head>.

Screenshot and visual example of what a Head Tag looks like.

In this section, copy and paste the global site tag code from your Analytics account directly underneath the <head> tag. Be sure to copy and paste the code into the HTML of each webpage. Google Analytics will only collect information from the webpages that have the tag.

Dynamic website

Unlike static websites, dynamic websites use programming languages, like Python and PHP, to generate their HTML. There are two ways you can tag dynamic websites: You can either add the global site tag to every webpage, or you can create an include file.

There are two ways to add the include file to your website, depending on which programming language you use:

  • Python: Copy and paste the global site tag into its own include file. Underneath the <head> tag on every webpage, create a link to that include file.
  • PHP: Copy the global site tag and paste it into a new file named “analyticstracking.php.” Include the file on each PHP template page. After the <body> tag on every webpage, add <?php include_once(“analyticstracking.php”) ?> into the HTML code.

Website hosting services

If you’re using a website hosting service, such as WordPress or GoDaddy, you can add Google Analytics to your website more easily through a global-site-tag plug-in. Some of the plug-ins also give you the ability to customize the type of data you collect and analyze. If you’re hoping to add Google Analytics to your website with a plug-in, search your hosting services for Google Analytics and follow their instructions for using it.

Google Tag Manager

Google also provides helpful website analysis through their Tag Manager, which allows you to oversee multiple site-tracking tags. Once downloaded, you can add your website or webpages to the Tag Manager software and it will automatically set up tracking for each of them and help you manage the data.

4. Verify That It’s Working

Once you’ve successfully installed your global site tag, it’s important to see if it’s working. While monitoring Google Analytics real-time tracking, open up your website and see if Google records the visit. If your visit was recorded, you’re all done and you can start reaping the rewards of Google remarketing. If your visit was not recorded, try going through the steps once more or check with Google’s support page for more assistance.

How To Create a Remarketing List

A remarketing list is the first step to targeting your consumers and attracting their business back to your company or organization. Here is a quick list of steps to help you generate the list and get started:

1. Select your audience

Before officially creating your remarketing list, it’s important to understand the different audiences you want to target. These audiences are made up of individuals who visit your website and meet certain conditions, including:

  • Certain product or service pages they visit.
  • The amount of time they spend on your site.
  • The number of pages they visit.
  • Various demographic or geographic conditions.
  • Certain webpages they didn’t visit.

When someone meets one of these conditions, their name will be added to the remarketing list that best fits their behavior or interests. From there, you can use that information to send them targeted ads and hopefully encourage them to make a purchase. 

You can have as many remarketing lists and audience types as you wish. It’s just good to make sure that they’re all providing information or data that’s actually helpful. For example, let’s say you run an ecommerce shoe store. If you decide to simply target everyone who visits your homepage, the collected data might not tell you anything useful about your customers. However, if you target customers who visit certain store pages, like boots, running shoes, or dress shoes, then you can better understand what your customers want and how to market to them.

2. Create the list

The next step is to create the actual list, which you can do through Google Ads or Google Analytics.

Google Ads

After you log in to Google Ads, click the tools icon, go to your Shared Library, and click on Audience Manager. Under the Remarketing tab in the Audience Lists section, click on the blue + button, and then click “Website visitors.”

Screenshot of Google Ads and where to find "Website Visitors"

A new window will appear allowing you to add an Audience name and the template for the list members. Then, it will ask you for the list’s conditions. These are what the audience needs to meet in order to be added to the list. The variables of each condition are directly related to the chosen template.

For example, if you want to create a list of every member who visited a certain webpage, you could select the List Members template: “Visitors of a page.” Then in the conditions directly underneath, you could add the URL of the page you want to target.

Screenshot of Google Ads and where to make remarketing lists.

Before finalizing the list, you can also control other information, such as the list size and how long people will stay on the list after being added. Once you finish tweaking the details, click “Create Audience.”

Google Analytics

The first step is to make sure your Google Analytics account and Google Ads account are linked. In Google Ads, click on the Tools icon and then click “Linked Accounts.” Under Google Analytics click “Details.” Then add your Google Analytics account to link them.

Next, go into Google Analytics. Under the Property column you should now see a tab called “Audience Definitions.” Click on it. Then click on “Audiences.” This will open up a window on the right-hand side of the screen. Click on the red button labeled “+ New Audience.”

Screenshot of Google Analytics and where to create a New Audience list.

A new window will appear asking you to fill in the list’s name and their definition, which are the conditions they need to meet again. Analytics also provides you with a list of recommended audiences to make the process easier for you.

Screenshot of Google Analytics and how to create a list.

Create a new definition or choose one from the list. From here, you can also tweak other information, such as their membership duration. Once you’re finished, click on “Next Step.” It will then ask for a destination. Click on the drop-down menu and select both your Google Ads and Google Analytics account. Once you’re finished, click “Publish.”

3. Set up the remarketing campaign

After you’ve created a few lists to target different audiences, it’s time to use them in remarketing campaigns. In Google Ads, sign in, click on “Campaigns,” and click on the + button to create a new campaign. Then choose your campaign’s goal from the provided list. Some of the options include website traffic and sales. Pick the goal that best fits your campaign’s needs, then click “Continue.”

Screenshot of Google Ads. Information on starting a new campaign.

Next, choose your campaign type. For this example, we’ll be using a common remarketing campaign known as “Display.” Then click “Continue.”

Screenshot of Google Ads campaign creation.

On the next page, Google will ask you for some other information. From the top, fill in the name of your campaign, its locations, and languages. Then, it will ask you to determine the bidding strategy. Each bidding strategy is tailored to different types of campaigns. For example, if you’re hoping for people to go from your ad to your site and make a purchase, you might want to focus on conversions. If you just want to increase traffic to your site, you’d probably want to measure clicks. Pick the bidding that’s best suited for your campaign.

Finally, add your budget, which will help Google limit the pay-per-click function if too many people start to click.

A little further down the page, click the arrow next to “Audience Segments,” select the Browse tab, then click on the third option, “Remarketing and similar audiences.” Here, you’ll be able to view all the remarketing lists you’ve created.

Screenshot of Google Ads and a page for Audience Segments.

After you’ve selected which list you want to target, at the very bottom of the page you can use Google Ads tools to create the display advertisement that will be shown to your targeted consumers. They have a lot of automated tools and features to make the process easy for you. Once you’re finished, click “Create Campaign.”

Google Remarketing is a great tool that you can use for many functions, but most importantly, it can help you re-attract customers to your business and increase your profits. Using the information from this guide, you can develop remarketing lists and create campaigns to display all sorts of ads to your consumers and entice them to make a purchase and see everything your company has to offer.

Author Image - Jill Conway
Jill Conway

CopyPress writer

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