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Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA): What You Need to Know

Steven Sonnes July 22, 2015 Category Paid Search (PPC)

A few weeks ago Google Analytics added the option to create remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA).

What is remarketing?

When someone visits your site, their session is recorded in Google Analytics (pages they clicked on, goals completed, purchases made). Remarketing is a way of using that data to target people who have been to your site before with advertising messaging, and typically the ROI of retargeting is high because if someone found their way onto your site, it stands to reason they were looking for a product or service you offer.

What are RLS ads?

For the last few years remarketing has worked on the display network, meaning if you visit macys.com, you’ll see banner ads for Macy’s on websites you visit (non-Google websites, there aren’t banner ads on Google properties like search, Gmail, maps, etc). RLSA let you retarget to people who have visited macys.com using keyword based advertising on Google search result pages.

For example, Macy’s might avoid bidding on the term watches because it’s too vague and could be someone looking for anything related to watches (watch information, smart watches, watches is a very broad term). With RLSAs they could use their GA data to automatically make a list containing users who have already visited a page on macys.com/mens-watches/, so that it only triggers ads when a user who is searching for watches has looked at Macy’s watches recently.

A hypothetical RLSA opportunity

If the keyword watches costs $5 per click in AdWords, and 1 in 100 users convert on macys.com/mens-watches/ from that keyword, that means the cost associated with getting one purchase is $500

With RLSA, the cost per click would still be $5 in AdWords for watches, however, the ad would only show to people who have looked on macys.com for watches, and 1 in 5 returning users is likely to convert, making the cost associated with getting one purchase $25.

What are the benefits of remarketing lists for search ads?

  • Increase the ROI on current SEO campaigns. If a client is spending money to optimize their site to appear in organic search, RLSA allows them to spend a bit more in a targeted way to get a bigger ROI from their site.
  • Appear for keywords you aren’t ranking for with organic SEO. There are several steps in the decision process when making a purchase or evaluating a service. If a client uses a blog to post content that makes them a thought leader in their space, people may discover the blog when searching for questions in Google about their niche. When they’re ready to make a purchase or choose a service, they may do several searches, and remarketing is a way to ensure they appear repeatedly as a viable option.
  • Clients who may find the cost of paid advertising prohibitive, like if accident lawyer is $35 a click, can bid on accident lawyer knowing that they’ll only appear if someone has visited their site in the past from organic search making them a much more qualified prospect.

What are some uses cases for RLSA?

  • Local lawyers can bid on lawyer (targeted in their location) with confidence it won’t be a wasted ad click
  • Real estate clients can bid on apartments
  • Dentists can bid on dentist
  • A pizza restaurant can bid on pizza

These are all broad keywords that would not make sense to target in AdWords without RLSA.

Interested in taking advantage of the new RLSA’s and driving your search marketing efficiencies? Learn more about our paid search & display management services, or contact us today.

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