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5 Ways to Use Remarketing for Search to Profit from Underutilized Areas in AdWords

Google is moving to marketing genres that rely more heavily on demographic data. Find out how to use remarketing to increase your ROI from AdWords.

5 Ways to Use Remarketing for Search to Profit from Underutilized Areas in AdWords

Remarketing for Search (i.e. Audience Targeting for Search) is one of the biggest additions to Search Marketing since Product Listing Ads first saw the light of day. The ability to go beyond just looking at keywords and thereby targeting your audience based on past actions is a powerful targeting method that should not be ignored.

As the ever-present Larry Kim says in a blog post on

“Seriously, use remarketing. It’s so amazing that of the million dollars I’m spending on search marketing each year, more than half of it is being used to remarket to people who read my content.”

Make sure you read this correctly. Over half of WordStream’s significant PPC budget goes to remarketing in one shape or another.

This is one of the most experienced people in the PPC industry telling you he personally spends half of his AdWords budget on remarketing.

You can’t get avoid using Remarketing for Search any longer and if you try, you will see yourself baffled by how XYZ company can afford to be number one on all those searches while you’re barely breaking even.

Two Ways To Building Remarketing for Search Campaigns

Without going too much into details about the setup (Tyler did a good job here), then there are two ways you can create remarketing for search campaigns. In the early days, the only way to do remarketing for search was to create a new campaign.

This was time-consuming, inefficient, and left much to be desired. Smaller advertisers would waste valuable time maintaining more campaigns with little added ROI.

Big advertisers with already complicated campaign setups would see their accounts become obscenely large and spend countless hours weeding through the campaigns.

However, Google listened and they listened well. They gave the opportunity to put a layer of targeting on top of your existing campaigns. Basically, the two targeting methods are broken down like this:

  • New Campaign (Target and Bid Targeting)
  • Existing Campaign (Bid Only Targeting)

If you want to create a brand new campaign that enables you to bid for new keywords or write new ads, you choose the Target and Bid option:

choose the Target and Bid option to bid for new keywords

This will enable your campaign to only be shown to people in the remarketing list you’ve chosen to target.

The “new” addition is that you can choose to just implement a remarketing list as a bid adjustment in a campaign. You do this by choosing Bid Only instead of Target and bid. Bid Only works the same way as mobile or location bid adjustments.

With that little bit of house cleaning, here are five ways you can use Remarketing Lists for Search Ads to squeeze more profits out of your existing AdWords advertising.

1) Anyone Can Be Beautiful With Makeup: Even Broad Match Keywords!

Since the birth of exact match, AdWords experts have preached you shouldn’t use broad match for much. You appear for irrelevant search terms, and broad match keywords can suck more money out of your campaign than you can put in it.

However, you gain an edge with the option to only show your ads to people who have been to your website before. You no longer really care if the search terms your ad appears for are somewhat irrelevant, because the user has already expressed that he is interested in what you have to offer by visiting your site.

Additionally, broad match keywords can’t spend as much money (because they’re limited by the size of your remarketing list), and you actually have a pretty good opportunity to expand your AdWords campaigns.

Start With Your Existing Keywords

My advice is to start out with small, controlled test campaigns in which you run broad match keywords with the Target and Bid remarketing list.

Start out small and once you have proof that it is actually working, then you can expand. Not all industries will experience the same results, as broad match can be unforgiving.

2) Use Dynamic Search Ads & Remarketing for Search to Broaden Your Reach

Early in 2013, I shared some of my thoughts on Dynamic Search Ads here on SEJ, which were rather negative. I hadn’t had much success with them in the past, but when my Google Rep called me to let me in on a new trick (normally these are outdated), I listened carefully.

You can use Dynamic Search Ads to widen the net across all of your website ensuring you have every single product covered, and you can do it only for visitors who have been to your site before.

From day one this looked like a winner. I quickly implemented and have had several successful campaigns increase 10-15% in overall revenue with healthy ROI using this tactic.

Below is an example of the results I’ve seen in one account over a two-week period:

Reg. Dynamic Search Ads Campaign

  • Clicks: 3,922
  • Revenue: $3,869
  • ROAS: 438%

Remarketing Dynamic Search Ads Campaign

  • Clicks: 494
  • Revenue: $2,499
  • ROAS: 1,850%

Even though we still had a decent ROAS with the regular campaign, the DSA campaign with the remarketing targeting beat the results by a factor of three.

How to Create Dynamic Search Ads with Remarketing

It’s important to mention it’s not that simple to create Dynamic Search Ads with a remarketing audience. The tab is simply not accessible:

How to Create Dynamic Search Ads with Remarketing

You therefore have to either use AdWords Editor or create the DSA campaign as a normal campaign, and then add the audience by accessing All Campaigns first.

3) “Repurpose” Keywords with Low ROI

One of my favorite hobbies with Remarketing for Search is to repurpose keywords. I often create campaigns where some of the keywords never produce a good ROI, but have plenty of clicks. I always hate pausing these keywords because, seeing so many searches for the keyword, it’s obvious there is a lot of money to be made if I could get that keyword to be profitable.

With RLSA (remarketing), I can restart these keywords and add a remarketing audience (Target and Bid), so we only target the people who have previously been to our site. Keywords previously too expensive or providing a poor ROI all of a sudden become money makers.

4) Use Generic Keywords + Searcher History to Target Your Primary Audience

If you are working with a specific kind of products within an industry and using AdWords for a number of years, you will already know that it’s almost impossible to get decent ROI out of generic keywords.

Selling wooden children’s room furniture and advertising on a keyword like children’s furniture will rarely yield positive ROI in the long run.

With the addition of remarketing for search, you’re able to hone in on the users beyond just the keyword. Where the keyword children’s furniture will be too broad by itself, then using this keyword only for searchers who have been to your site before can be incredibly profitable.

5) Differentiate Your Bidding To Match What You Know of The User

This tends to be the most common usage. You add the remarketing lists as Bid only to your existing search campaigns and increase bidding for this audience by 25-50% depending on your results.

This is a great way to keep your keywords in play, even if you lower the core bid to below top 3 position. With the remarketing audience, you can stay in the top 3 position for the users who are truly relevant.

AdWords is Moving Beyond Keyword Targeting

If there is one thing we can take away from working with AdWords in the last year, it’s that we’re moving away from only having keyword targeting.

The days of me preaching to a class of PPC students that the only way to decipher intent is to choose the right keywords and write the right ads are over.

Google is slowly adding an extra layer to search marketing that goes beyond the traditional search marketing and they are slowly moving into marketing genres that rely more heavily on demographic data. If you are you still clinging on to your keywords as the sole mean for targeting clients, you will be quickly left behind.


Image Credits:

Image 1: 5 Ways to Use Remarketing for Search to Profit From Underutilized Areas in AdWords, White Shark Media illustration, 04/23/2014.
Image 2: Target and Bid option screenshot, White Shark Media, 04/23/2014.
Image 3:  Dynamic Search Ads with a remarketing audience screenshot, White Shark Media, 04/23/2014.

Category Paid Search

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Andrew Lolk

Lead PPC Manager, Founder at SavvyRevenue

Andrew is a paid search/social marketer, blogger, and entrepreneur. He's the founder of SavvyRevenue: Helping savvy eCommerce stores profit with ... [Read full bio]

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