Succeeding With Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) hosts PPCChat with another great question set titled “Succeeding With RLSA.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: Do you create separate RLSA campaigns? Why or why not?

  • Almost always yes, to control audience messaging and bid. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • Yes. (1) Too many Bid modifiers are monsters (2) Audiences convert differently (3) Control Budget on limited budget accounts. – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • Usually yes. If your ads and landing pages didn’t work the first time, why give that user the exact same experience? – Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
  • I prefer to use the RLSA bid adjustment, but where budget or performance is very different – ill break them out. – Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89
  • Yes, for me it’s an issue of control. With bidding platform as well, I can optimize independently. – Josh Kelson (@JoshKelson)
  • Yeah Seperate RLSA campaigns targeting branded keywords based on duration of site visitors and cart abandonment. – Eric Louis (@eld3000)
  • I tend to create RLSA specific text ad campaigns – I will use the bid modifier as a layer in Shopping campaigns. – Matt Umbro
    • You should test breaking it out. I’ve seen a Shopping brand convert +300% better in RLSA than non-RLSA. – Kirk Williams
      • I have an account where it’s broken out and does convert well – it’s something I’m dabbling with. – Matt Umbro
  • Yes as different audiences do not convert the same and I can control my bids better. – Steve Seeley (@SteveSeeley)
  • Yes, better control on audience and budget. – Maria Corcoran (@mariacorcoran)
  • I put negative RLSA audiences in all campaigns and create at least one separate campaign to cross sell with different ad copy. – Paul Wicker (@Wickerpedia)
    • I’ll use negative RLSA audiences at times – I’m paranoid that I’m not going to show for a query. – Matt Umbro
  • Not usually…generally apply for bid modifiers. – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
  • Usually not. But, if there’s enough volume from RLSA, then I consider it. – Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
  • No. Separate Ad Groups for high volume segments, bid modifiers for lower volume AGs. Control + Return on Effort. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • But beware. You can easily end up with unmanaged zombie RLSA campaigns if you’re not on point with updating both campaigns. – Paul Wicker
  • In general, I only create RLSA campaigns for audiences that I know will get at least 1K visitors. – Matt Umbro
  • I use negative RLSA to distinguish campaigns that have similar products types that use the same keywords use visits to brand pages. – David Cox (@dcoxdesigns)
  • It depends on a lot of things: audience size, specificity of targeting. I’ve seen mega-granular RLSA & buckshot ones too. – Mary Hartman (@PPCHartman)

Q2: How granular do you segment your RLSA audiences knowing that you need at least 1,000 visitors per audience?

  • This is a fine art. Don’t want to be too big or too small. Also depends on objectives: are you just reaching non converters. – Melissa Mackey
  • I create the remarketing list in GA and let it grow, even if I don’t have 1000 visits I figure I will get there sooner or later. – David Cox
  • With RLSA, I generally begin with broad audiences (ie: viewed category – didn’t convert). – Matt Umbro
  • Happy to target audiences in search with 10,000 or less people – this can get me like 100+ conversions at a very good CPA per month. – Eric Louis
  • Depends on the amount of traffic site gets. If low traffic site, have to be creative to meet list sizes, but still be segmented. – Kirk Williams
  • If volume dictates, I’ll go more granular. You can also always use RDSA, especially in ecomm accounts. – Matt Umbro
  • I approach it from a marketing perspective – then I worry about audience size. – Steve Gibson
  • I go granular for reporting ad spend on specific vendors. it’s an accountability in my case. – David Cox
  • Per Coco Chanel, segment until you’re happy. Then remove the last segment. – Mark Irvine
  • Because we share audience segments w Display ours are normally huge – at times 1MM+ to target certain product pageviews. – Maria Corcoran
  • I look at site visit stats first, then focus on other lists (time on site, events, etc.) later once the audience is big enough. – Joe Martinez
  • Comes down to traffic volume for the site. I also like to look at historical conversion data for pages/products. – Steve Seeley
  • Broad audiences, specific keywords is how I like to test a new RLSA campaign. – Mary Hartman
  • As granular as makes sense. Might not have 1k audience now, but I plan for that happening some day. – James Svoboda
  • So let’s say your website has had 150 cart abandoners in the last year, is that not enough for a remarketing campaign? – Terry Porter (@TPorter2)
    • You need 1000 audience members to be able to use it (same as remarketing.) – Melissa Mackey

Q3: What are your thoughts on RLSA audiences (shortly) being available at the campaign level? Why?

  • It makes sense if you want to structure your RLSA campaigns similar to your search campaigns. Nice to have the option. – Melissa Mackey
  • Makes it easier to apply top level bid modifiers or campaign wide segmentation. Use will greatly vary. – James Svoboda
  • Excited to be able to target on the campaign level. Great opportunity to get more granular. – Jacob Baadsgaard (@jakebaadsgaard)
  • It makes sense where if you’re segmenting campaigns for RLSA or if you’ve got a blanket bid adjustment across the account. – Mark Irvine
  • I like this update – it’s a small update, but helps to make management more efficient. – Matt Umbro
  • Great to initially test broad RLSA audiences before segmenting by ad group. – Joe Martinez
  • Also, RLSA @ Campaign level is like Camp Sitelinks… a good start, but Ad Group level can lead to bigger wins for that segment. – James Svoboda
  • It’s a nice to have. It won’t change how I structure things, but it’ll slightly reduce leg work. – Steve Gibson
  • I like the idea since there are often a couple of lists I want set in each ad group anyway (Cart Abandonment, etc). – Kirk Williams
  • Anytime we get settings at more levels, it’s great because it makes things more flexible but I set modifiers at lowest level. – Frederick Vallaeys (@siliconvallaeys)
  • Shared budgets and shared audiences. Lazy marketer’s (like me) dream. – Paul Wicker

Q4: Do you use different RLSA messaging? If not, why?

  • Almost always yes. Why keep showing the same thing when you can try different approaches / content / offers. – Melissa Mackey
  • Yes based off any discounts or free giveaways for that product or service. Never use the same ads for your normal campaign. – Steve Seeley
  • Yes. Previous visitors are most likely fully aware of what you do. Load that RLSA ad w/ value props & trust elements. Prove why. – Joe Martinez
  • I’d be curious what cookies & audience seg volume other enterprise are doing, feels like most answers geared towards midmarket/SMB. – Maria Corcoran
  • I try to use a different message for RLSA when I can – even if just different wording of same message. – Matt Umbro
  • Return visits are (mostly) diff than new visitors. There’s a reason they’re still interested, figure it out & put that in ad. – Kirk Williams
  • Almost always yes. Why keep showing the same thing when you can try different approaches / content / offers? – Melissa Mackey
  • If splitting RLSA into own Ad Group with same keywords, then test new ads against original ads. They may not have seen orig ads. – James Svoboda
  • But again it comes down to effort vs reward. You aren’t going to spend hours creating new ads for ad groups seeing < 10 impressions. – Matt Umbro
  • Variations on a theme. (After all, the first msg got them to the website.) – Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
  • Yes – less education on your offer, more selling your offer. – Mark Irvine
  • Always when using RLSA as a targeting channel, missing out on opportunity for dif buying cycle needs if you don’t. – Maria Corcoran
  • Heck yeah. Write ads based on KWs & audience. A user searches for cheap-highlight prices. Local audience: highlight you’re local. – Mary Hartman
  • I intend to but this one never gets to the top 3 on the TODO list. – Paul Wicker
  • What’s tough is promos – wouldn’t you want to show the promo the first time the user searches instead of waiting for use in RLSA? – Matt Umbro
  • I’ve created audiences from paid social visitors then write ads in the voice of the social ad to bring additional comfort. – Joe Martinez
  • And I get that you can have an RLSA-only promo, but that isn’t always applicable to clients. – Matt Umbro
  • Yes. Diff messaging & diff LP if possible. You pay for a 2nd click so don’t repeat what didn’t work. – Emma Franks (@akaEmmaLouise)
  • Generic yes, brand no I use the same ad when I am a retail partner selling the brand but am NOT the brand. Its a unique space. – Rachel King (@rachelking237)

Q5: How do you determine what your RLSA bid modifiers will be?

  • Start low (e.g. +10%) and increase if conversion rate justifies it. – Steve Gibson
  • For us, if we qualified for RLSA, which we don’t, it would be to bid down on mobile. Our B2B customer is primarily on desktop. – Terry Porter
  • I’ll generally use a 50 – 75% bid modifier to begin with. – Matt Umbro
  • Agree with Steve. Usually start lower then adjust as data comes in. Except with branded terms. I turn those up. – Joe Martinez
  • I pretty much do the same. Anyone have good mathematical solutions? Would love a formula. – Rachel King
  • +1% min for “All Visitors” RLSA audiences to start getting data on how they perform vs normal searchers.Then varies by segment. – James Svoboda
  • Layering audiences in ad groups w/o adjustment first helps identify behavior of visitors and determine modifiers/bids for RLSA. – Emma Franks

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More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• David Cox (@dcoxdesigns)
• Emma Franks (@akaEmmaLouise)
• Eric Louis (@eld3000)
• Frederick Vallaeys (@siliconvallaeys)
• Jacob Baadsgaard (@jakebaadsgaard)
• Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
• Josh Kelson (@JoshKelson)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Maria Corcoran (@mariacorcoran)
• Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
• Mary Hartman (@PPCHartman)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Paul Wicker (@Wickerpedia)
• Rachel King (@rachelking237)
• Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
• Steve Seeley (@SteveSeeley)
• Terry Porter (@TPorter2)
• Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
• Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)

Succeeding with Streamcaps

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; works at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Connect with Paul @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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