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RLSA Now Available for All AdWords Users

Jessica Ryan | Search Marketing Leader

With Google’s new Enhanced format this month, Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA), will now be available to all advertisers. RLSA is an AdWords feature similar to Display remarketing which allows marketers to retarget Search users. Previously, RLSA has been limited for testing to allow data collection and feature development for nearly a year.

Defining RLSA

The concept behind RLSA is extremely simple: users who are familiar with your site are likely to perform differently than those who are not. Typically, they are more likely to convert than other users.

Here at iProspect, we’ve seen this work with one of our retail clients. By segmenting visitors who have been to the website in the past 30 days against those who have not, the client’s conversion rate of a product is 72% higher for return visitors than first-time visitors to the site.

The ability to separately manage groups with different conversion rates allows digital marketers to do several things:

  • Increase CPC  for high-value visits
  • Reduce CPC for lower-value visits
  • Choose to display particular keywords for specific audiences
  • Modify messaging for different audiences

Remarketing audiences does include organic, paid, direct, and other referral traffic, which means brands can remarket to higher-value people whose previous visits weren’t paid for.

Getting Started

You must install an Adwords remarketing pixel on your site for basic remarketing implementation. Google Analytics tagging allows for more advanced user segmentation.

Whether you use an Adwords pixel or Analytics tagging, you will have a list of return visitors to your site. Further segmentation by section of the site visited and actions performed will help you create groups of users you may choose to treat differently within your Search campaigns (by CPC or ad copy, for example).

To note, remarketing lists can be applied to both desktop/tablet and mobile users. Cross-device tracking is not available.

A Few Things to Consider

The existence of remarketing group depends upon the existence of the first-time visitor group. If paid search is a major contributor to your site traffic and you reduce first-time visitor traffic by lowering CPC, you may impact the quantity of higher-CVR “return” traffic.

The behavior of all keywords is not equivalent across audiences. Very specific, end-of-funnel keywords will naturally have different conversion rates between first-time visitors and return visitors, as compared to broad, general keywords. It may not be of as much value to bid these keywords differently.

The impact of conversion rate decay is different for different keywords. Bidding a general broad match keyword to a higher position will significantly increase your impression share and quantity of less-relevant queries you appear for. Bidding a more specific, phrase match keyword to a higher position will likely increase impression share, but maintain a similarly high level of query relevance. In this case, bidding the broad match keyword up for the return audience could decrease CVR for that term significantly.

In summary, RLSA is a great option for all search marketers who take the time to monitor performance by different segments. Due to the varied performance by audiences, keyword match type and specificity, you need to ensure your initial assumptions about the impact of bid multiplication hold true for each keyword.


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