The Wonders of Remarketing Lists for Search Ads

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with yet another great question set titled “The Wonders of RLSA.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: Do you tend to create stand alone RLSA campaigns or add the audiences to your existing campaigns? Why?

  • Segment into separate campaigns for better performance tracking and budget allocation. – Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
  • Add audiences as bid-only to current campaigns and segment target & bid audiences into separate RLSA campaign. Even if you don’t have $’s for RLSA campaigns, def add them as bid-only audiences to get data about repeat searches, etc. – Andy Groller (@AndyGroller)
  • I create separate. Gives me the ability to tailor the message versus just adding on retargeting. – Brooke Townsend (@btownsend13)
  • I create stand alone. Better control and understanding; allows me to use automated bidding more effectively. – Josh Kelson (@JoshKelson)
  • I like to create them separately so that I can bid on broader terms & leverage other campaign settings. Exceptions are made in cases where I don’t have enough budget for it to make sense to separate out the campaign. – Amy Bishop (@Hoffman8)
  • Both, but usually separate. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • I tend to create stand alone and focus on my top keywords. – Matt Umbro
  • New RLSA campaign if targeting other terms like looser high-volume head terms. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • Separate if possible. It’s that whole control freak thing again. – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
  • RLSA, essentially, IS retargeting. Retargeting denotes different tactical methodology, so separate RLSA camps are ideal. – Matt Vaillancourt (@SEM_PPC_MattV)
  • If you don’t want to change your ads and lps, only add the audience with a bid modifier using ‘bid only’. – Claudia Brunner (@_ClaudiaBrunner)
  • I tend to break RLSA out into it’s own campaign. Different audience, message, budget – also at times can make reporting easier. – Maddie Cary (@MaddieMarketer)
  • Stand-alone. – Coy Robison (@IamCoy)

Q2: In stand alone RLSA campaigns, how liberal are you with your match types? Why?

  • I go broad, as Susan Wenograd has said, your list is your targeting filter. – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • I don’t usually start with broad (unless modified) but occasionally add it in depending on performance. – Amy Bishop
  • To paraphrase Randy Moss – “Straight broad match homey”. – Matt Umbro
  • I usually go with broad match modified. – Brooke Townsend
    • I find regular broad match to work fine – CTR is generally good and volume isn’t ridiciously high. – Matt Umbro
    • I like to monitor CPA with modified broad and go from there. Ease in, so to speak. Also depends on volume. – Amy Bishop
      • If you are targeting all visitors you may consider MBM, but specific audiences tend to be fine with broad. – Matt Umbro
  • Don’t typically use “looser” match types for this, but looser keywords like Dentist as compared to Cosmetic Dentist. – James Svoboda
  • Broad or BMM. That’s the whole benefit of RLSA right? – Margot da Cunha (@ChappyMargot)
  • Use target and bid for very generic terms, that are too expensive otherwise. Also add them as broad and phrase! – Claudia Brunner
  • Much less broad match paranoia because RLSA is already strict in qualifying traffic. – Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
  • Generally broad, depending on nature of campaign. Already a relevant audience. – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
  • Play around with more generalized, modified broad match kw’s. If I’m feeling lucky I’ll go unmodified. – Andy Groller
  • More likely to use broad, but I’m still cautious because… it’s still google. – Hannah Alexander (@HanXela)
  • For me, not so much about match type, but KPI volume. If EM of my brand is #1 revenue driver, I’ll throw that into Brand RLSA. – Maddie Cary
  • Have gone as liberal as Broad Mod. Too chicken to go to Full Broad! Still mix in Phrase & Exact….never found a reason not to. – Matt Vaillancourt
    • I would try broad match with a smaller audience – see what happens. – Matt Umbro
  • As liberal as I can be (ROI). When someone is on RL, they’re usually well qualified – even if their subsequent search is broad. – Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
  • Since you’re working with a targeted audience, you can go broad. Good chance their intent is narrow. – Rohan Ayyar (@searchrook)
  • If its a niche market then go broad, more generic terms in a wide market then exact. – Mark Roll (@MarkRoll32)
  • Yes, if you are too worried about adding a term as broad with T&B, only do it for very specific audiences like purchasers. – Claudia Brunner
  • I’m much more liberal with match types in RLSA but a little more attention to neg. keyword lists. – Coy Robison

Q3: When remarketing offers aren’t available, how do you use RLSA to win visitors back?

  • Even if messaging cannot change, I use RLSA to bid and budget more aggressively for visitors with previous signs of intent. – Chris Haleua
  • I always create a specific offer for RLSA campaigns. And retargeting in general. Then again, I have the flexibility that most don’t since I work in-house. – Brooke Townsend
  • Just because someone didn’t buy first time they visited doesn’t mean they don’t intend to buy. – Steve Gibson
  • Creative adcopy, so they know I’m targetting them. – Mark Roll
  • We use content that’s further down the buyer journey, e.g. consideration content for those who already saw awareness content. – Melissa Mackey
  • Switch up the content / LPs they see based on the knowledge of where they are in the funnel. Don’t serve them the same thing. – Andy Groller
  • At a minimum you can be much more direct with your CTA. – Robert Brady
  • I might emphasize a different conversion action – maybe sign up for the newsletter. – Matt Umbro
  • I still turn it on & keep visitors separate since remarketed-to people tend to convert better anyways. Helps keep data separate. – Kirk Williams
  • Use RLSA to remind those that might have forgot about you that you’re still here for them. Right when they’re still looking. – James Svoboda
  • Try to call out a promo or offer when we can. If can’t, continue to bid on & messsage to RLSA audience differently. We also built out a specific RLSA LP where we offer free shipping (not all clients can do this, but cool when can test!) – Maddie Cary
  • W/no new promo – Target groups on interest & try to seal the deal. IE Did they make it to the cart & back out? Tailor your msg. – Maria Corcoran (@mariacorcoran)
  • Might be a little off-base for this question, but use RLSA for accessory purchases or add-ons for ecomm clients. – Andy Groller
  • My pet peeve is the pereption that all remarketing ads NEED to have a special promo or incentive to come back. – Matt Umbro
    • Agree 100%. If previous visit was click on ppc ad, then they liked the ad! Seeing again means likely click. – Steve Gibson
  • Focus less on why they should buy the product and more on why they should buy *from us*. – Amy Bishop
  • RLSA is tougher for lead gen where we don’t have stuff like free shipping & price discounts. – Melissa Mackey
    • Usually have success w/ targeting top level content converters / awareness and pushing bottom of funnel demo/trial via RLSA. – Andy Groller
  • If message can’t change, RLSA keeps me in front a visitor whos shown interest. I’ll test other pages though (i.e. cart, etc). – Coy Robison
  • PSA – RLSA is still a channel based on search intent. Don’t stray too far from core keyword intent just to push something else. – James Svoboda
  • Serve a different message & LP based on where/what they abandoned. Pretty straightforward. Good results, mostly. – Matt Vaillancourt
  • Remarketing offers can be 2-edged sword. Can cause people to devalue brand with constant “please come back 10% discount” ads. – Kirk Williams
  • Sometimes, just reminding someone of your brand and prices can be sufficient. – Ben Malkin (@stokeymad)

Q4: Do you layer your RLSA audiences with your DSA campaign? If so, how have the results been?

  • Definitely! Combine the best of both ad types. Reach from DSA with qualified traffic from RLSA. One of my favorites. – Chris Haleua
  • Can’t say that I have. But now I’m curious to test. – Brooke Townsend
  • Yep! DSA is already great for keyword research but RDSA is even better. – Amy Bishop
  • Only time I ever use DSA is with RLSA. – Mark Roll
  • Add Facebook retargeting onto this and you’ve just created a PPC Inception. – James Svoboda
  • RLSA with DSA and also with RDSA.. helps in recapturing all my lost audience for our normal text campaigns. – Sameer Hakim (@hakim_sameer)

Q5: Talk about a unique way that you are using RLSA in your accounts?

  • Excluding visitors logged into a SaaS product from seeing ads. – Timothy Jensen
    • I had an easy win doing that for an accounting software company. Always worth doing for membersip sites. – Steve Gibson
  • May not be unique, but newer. I started using RLSA on Google Shopping campaigns. – Brooke Townsend
  • I don’t know if it’s unique but we leverage previous buyers when we have sales b/c we know there’s some likelihood of interest. – Amy Bishop
  • Used RLSA to exclude current customers from branded campaigns. – Kelly Sullivan (@kellylsullivan)
    • I’m really hesitant about this strategy especially depending on competitor ad copy if they advertise on your terms. – Hannah Alexander
  • Not that creative, but starting to focus on increasing lifetime customer value based on business segment & behavior. – Hannah Alexander
  • Suggested by Google rep: RLSA on competitor brands (controversial I know), cheaper than normal search terms. – Kirk Williams
  • Target users based on session number and day of visit.. this was before GA RM for text. Now I mostly use it to target users based on value of product viewed.- Sameer Hakim
  • Use RLSA to increase NC rates! – Claudia Brunner
  • I love using RLSAs for competitor terms. You know you’re hitting a targeted audience. – Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)

Q6: Do you add RLSA audiences as negatives in non-RLSA campaigns? Why or why not?

  • I have if direct correlation between terms/campaigns, I have not yet done it account wide. – Kirk Williams
  • I also used RLSA with bid only to control home page visitors and put bid adj – this is for regular search campaigns. – Sameer Hakim
  • Negative RLSA is super valuable. – Timothy Jensen
  • Yes. If I’ve got a campaign for the RLSA traffic, that’s where I want that traffic to go. – Steve Gibson
  • Sometimes I will – I’m still wary of potentially excluding converting traffic, just like using campaign KWs as negatives in DSA. – Matt Umbro
    • Depends what you’re selling. For a product where you know 100% that logged-in ppl are customers, exclude away. – Timothy Jensen
  • If I have client with high ASP then yes.. if not then put them on bid only and reduce bids for such audience. – Sameer Hakim
  • We’ve looked into creating lists of people who’s behavior is highly unlikely to convert to add as neg lists. These lists are very granular and were overly cautious about adding as neg. – Hannah Alexander

Q7: What are potential RLSA pitfalls that would limit your use of the feature or stop altogether? Why?

  • Extremely limited reach for smaller clients. Need to both fit the list and be searching. – Timothy Jensen
  • If I noticed that we were paying more but weren’t getting better CVR/CPAs, it might be time to reevaluate. – Amy Bishop
  • Rate of Cannibalization & Sales Lift vs Cost. – Hannah Alexander
  • The super high list size is completely unnecessary IMO, kills my SMBs. – Kirk Williams
  • Except “over-stalking” risk I don’t think there are any major pitfalls. Don’t see any reason to fully stop. – Roxana Hassel
  • If your incremental sales are not worth the incremental costs. – Claudia Brunner
  • Budget limitations; regular search first. Not really a pitfall, but IS a practicality. – Matt Vaillancourt
  • Biggest down side is when you’re limited in what you can advertise. Need some type of diff offer/content. Also the time to manage all the campaigns is a consideration. – Melissa Mackey
  • Cases where product ASP is low.. purchase cycle is short.. waste of money to bid higher. – Sameer Hakim
  • RLSA is still a balance – conversion rate tends to do better, but costs can be more expensive. – Matt Umbro
  • At least you can bulk upload RPLA via API. – Claudia Brunner

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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)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Amy Bishop (@Hoffman8)
• Andy Groller (@AndyGroller)
• Ben Malkin (@stokeymad)
• Brooke Townsend (@btownsend13)
• Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
• Claudia Brunner (@_ClaudiaBrunner)
• Coy Robison (@IamCoy)
• Hannah Alexander (@HanXela)
• Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
• Josh Kelson (@JoshKelson)
• Kelly Sullivan (@kellylsullivan)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Maddie Cary (@MaddieMarketer)
• Margot da Cunha (@ChappyMargot)
• Maria Corcoran (@mariacorcoran)
• Mark Roll (@MarkRoll32)
• Matt Vaillancourt (@SEM_PPC_MattV)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
• Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
• Rohan Ayyar (@searchrook)
• Sameer Hakim (@hakim_sameer)
• Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
• Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)

The Wonders of 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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