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Casting A Wide Net in a Small Ocean: How to Boost Conversions by Layering Dynamic Search Ads with RLSA

Remarketing is among the most essential and utilized campaign types in the SEM world. Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) is similar to traditional remarketing, but iinstead of showing ads to past visitors browsing on the Google Display Network (GDN), it shows ads on Google Search, Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP), and YouTube platforms. It also weaves together intent, context, and audience.

RLSA allows for advertisers to tailor their search campaigns, ads, and bids based on which landing websites, pages, or products were visited by your targeted audience. You can then customize your ads to be shown to a past visitor as they are performing follow-up searches on Google or first time searches if they came to your site direct originally or through other channels.

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There are multiple ways to utilize remarketing lists for search ads.  If you layer audiences to existing search campaigns, in this case you would use the setting “bid only,” you can monitor the audience performance against everyone that doesn’t fall under the audience lists you’ve added. If you see that one audience list is performing better than another or against the users that don’t fall into one of your audiences, you can bid them up. The only disadvantage to this setting is that you won’t be able to differentiate your messages.  

Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) campaigns allow Google to match queries to relevant content within your site. Without utilizing RLSA, advertisers complain that the query match is too broad. With RLSA layering you can lure your audience back in, at scale, when they are searching for anything relevant to what you’re offering.  You can also segment product groupings and eliminate the need for constant search query monitoring like your typical dynamic search ad campaign.  When utilizing this technique be sure your audience setting is set to target and bid and not bid only.  Target and bid will only target the audiences you set and segmented product groupings.  Be careful here as this is a common mistake.

You can start by casting a wide net, using just one ad group to target all site content. Layer an audience for all site visitors to get the broadest reach, and the most amount of data for optimizations. By doing this first, you’ll create a “discovery engine” for search queries that returning users use while navigating the path to conversion. Once you have a basic understanding of how to optimize, you can layer your RLSA more concisely to different landing pages, people who’ve spent more time on an important page on your site, abandoned shopping carts, etc.  The possibilities are endless.

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So now that you have solid, concise lists you need to make sure your ads have the best chance at getting seen. Google best practices tells you to “Start by adding a bid modifier of +100%, then adjust up or down to compete for the top ad slots and optimize from there.” But with this ideology, you’re putting all of your eggs in one basket. You’re assuming that just because someone has been to your site, they’re more likely to convert. RLSA works just as good for bidding lower on people that are less likely convert as it does bidding higher on visitors that are more likely to convert.  Don't assume that just because they have been to your website that they're more likely to convert.  That’s why we suggest that you start with no bid modifiers. Layer your audiences and assess the data. This way your decisions are not assumptions, they’re concisely thrown nets. Making this enormous ocean much smaller, and giving you the highest ROI.

For more information and step by step instructions see the Google Adwords help center article here