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The Guide to Launching Your Remarketing Campaign

Thinking of starting your first remarketing campaign? Here is a step-by-step guide to launching your first remarketing campaign today.

The Guide to Launching Your Remarketing Campaign

Thinking of starting your first remarketing campaign?

Calling that a good idea would be an understatement. Google Display Network is one of the most powerful advertising tools out there, reaching 90% of global internet users.

And remarketing ads are incredibly effective. In fact, website visitors who are retargeted with display ads are 70% more likely to convert on your website.

The best news? You don’t have to reinvent the PPC wheel to get started.

Here is a step-by-step guide to launching your first remarketing campaign today.

Step 1: Install Your Remarketing Code

Before you can target ads to people who’ve visited your website, you’ll need to install the AdWords remarketing tag on your site.

If you already have a Google Analytics tag, you’re good to go. Otherwise follow these instructions:

In AdWords, click “Shared Library:”




Then under “Audiences,” click “View.”



Next, under “Website visitors,” click “Set up remarketing” and follow the instructions.

Then click “Tag details,” “Setup,” and “View AdWords tag for websites.”

Here you should find a copy of the remarketing tag code that you can copy and paste into the footer of your website. If you work with a web developer, email it to them.

Once the code is set up on your website, go back to the Audiences tab in AdWords. Here you can confirm that the tag is working properly.

Step 2: Create Your Audience

Now you can identify which audience to target for your first remarketing campaign.

In the Audiences tab, click “+Remarketing List.” Now you can start to create a list based on specific criteria.




In this step, you could make just one list targeting all your website visitors, but I don’t recommend that approach. If you create lists based on the specific pages of your website people visited, you can target those visitors with the most relevant ads.

For example, you could target people who visited a page about your upcoming seminar but didn’t sign up for the event. Your remarketing ads can then be specifically about promoting the seminar.

You can target:

  • Visitors of a page
  • Visitors of a page who didn’t visit another page
  • Visitors of a page who also visited another page
  • Visitors of a page during specific dates
  • Visitors of a page with a specific tag
  • A custom combination

Before you start creating your lists, keep in mind that there’s a web traffic minimum to qualify for a remarketing campaign. Your list must include at least 100 site visitors within the last 30 days.

Make sure your target audience isn’t too small by taking a look at your web traffic in Google Analytics.

Select the kinds of visitors to add to your list, and then enter the corresponding URLs of the pages they visited and the page they didn’t visit.

Step 3: Set Your Cookie Period

Next, you’ll decide how long visitors will stay in your remarketing campaign (how long they’ll see your ads) by selecting your cookie period.

The default is 30 days, but you can extend it up to 540 days for the Display Network.



How long you should keep people in your remarketing campaign will vary based on the goals of your advertisement and on what kind of good or services you provide.

For example, you wouldn’t want to continue remarketing to people who visited your seminar page after the seminar is over.

Other than relevancy considerations, another factor influencing the length of the campaign is how long your conversion funnel is. If you sell high-value goods, I recommend selecting a high number of days, as these purchase decisions take time.


If you’re working with a shorter conversion funnel (e.g. a clothing retailer), a shorter cookie period could be all you need.

Step 4: Set Up an AdWords Remarketing Campaign

Now you’re ready to start your first campaign.

From “All Campaigns” in AdWords, click “+Campaign” and select “Display Network only.”



Next, you can name your campaign. Then select “No marketing objective,” and “all features.”

Now, just like your regular AdWords PPC campaigns, you can select a daily budget, ad schedules, and ad locations.

I recommend expanding the “Ad Delivery” option in advanced settings to set a frequency cap. Set a limit to the number of impressions per day for your ad groups so you don’t overdo it.

Apply your desired settings, then click Save. On the next screen, you’ll be prompted to create an Ad Group.


Step 5: Choose or Create Ads

If you want, you can select ads from your existing AdWords campaigns to use for remarketing. But if I were you, I would take advantage of your audience’s familiarity with your business to create remarketing ads that are even more relevant.

If you’re creating your own ads, pay attention to the image requirements while you make them. Then simply upload your ads to Adwords.

If you need some help creating ads, take advantage of Google’s Display Ad Builder.


Ad Builder will scan a page on your website and generate ads for you. You can also edit these suggestions by adding your images, adding text, and changing the colors.

Step 6: Start Testing

Once your remarketing campaign is launched, it’s time to start optimizing to get the most return on investment.


Here are some areas to pay attention to:

Your Ads

Test your remarketing ads the same way you test any other display or search ad. Start experimenting with different calls to action, images, and other ad elements.

Also keep your audience in mind. These people already know a bit about your brand. How can you leverage that to improve your ad targeting?

Custom Combinations

When creating your remarketing list, you have the option to create custom combinations of interest categories with site behavior.

Some combinations are more relevant and effective than others. Experiment with different combinations to see which is the most effective for your campaigns.

Landing Page

If someone clicks your remarketing ad, is it taking them to a relevant landing page?

These people have already visited your website before, so your landing page needs to be optimized for this specific audience.




If your messaging is redundant or irrelevant, it can seriously harm your campaign success.

Test and make changes with this content to better connect with previous visitors.

Cookie Lengths

Maybe you’re not remarketing long enough to drive conversions with your campaign. Or maybe you’re wasting resources remarketing to prospects longer than you should.

The only way to find out is by testing your cookie length.


One of the biggest fears of AdWords remarketers is creeping people out by essentially following them around the internet with ads.

It is true that some people might notice you’re remarketing to them on different platforms, and they might not like it. This is most likely to happen when you have no frequency cap, a small audience, and 100% impression share.

On the other hand, limiting your ad exposure too much could bring negative results.

Pay attention to your impressions and adjust your frequency cap to optimize your bids.

Use your insights from testing to create more effective remarketing campaigns for other target audiences.


What Next?

Launching your remarketing campaign is only the beginning. Here are a few advanced tips and tricks to get the most out of AdWords remarketing.

Create More Lists

Start thinking of more ways you can segment your website visitors to develop more remarketing lists, such as:

Then you can experiment with different messaging and offers relevant to these groups.

Narrow Your Demographic Target

Especially if you’re budget-conscious, it’s a good idea to narrow your target audience to the demographics that are most likely to convert.

Incorporate demographic targeting, such as age and gender, into your remarketing. Head over to the Display Network tab and click “+targeting” to set this up.

Schedule Your Ads

You can control what hours of the day or even days of the week your ads display. Optimize your ad scheduling for when your target audience is awake and online.


Narrow Your Site and Device Impressions

As you monitor your campaign, you’ll probably find certain categories of sites don’t convert well for you. Improve your targeting and conversions by reducing your bid or eliminating these from your campaigns.

Head over to Conversion Tracking to see your ad performance.

The same goes for devices: if your target audience mostly converts on mobile, you can reduce your bid on desktop to improve ROI.

Just go to the campaign tab in AdWords, then click “All conversions.”



Here you can see conversions across devices.

Grow Your Web Traffic

As mentioned earlier, there’s a web traffic minimum for every remarketing list you make. So the more website visitors you have, the more targeted lists you can make.

Adopt a long-term strategy to increase your web traffic, and create more relevant and effective remarketing campaigns as a result.


With this step-by-step guide, getting started on your first remarketing campaign is only a few clicks away. Why wait?

Know any tips or tricks to improve remarketing campaigns? Comment below.

Image Credits

Featured Image: geralt/
Screenshots by Aaron Agius. Taken June 2016.

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Aaron Agius

Managing Director at Louder Online

Aaron Agius is an experienced search, content and social marketer. He has worked with some of the world’s largest and ... [Read full bio]

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