What remarketing is and how to set it up in Google Ads and Google Analytics

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In this article, you’ll learn what remarketing is and why you should use it to increase your sales. We’ll show you what types of remarketing there are and how to set up remarketing in Google Ads and Google Analytics.

Table of contents

What is remarketing?

Most users won't make a purchase the first time they visit your site. You’ll find confirmation of this in the Funnel Length report in Google Analytics, which you can find under Conversions –> Multichannel Funnels –> Path Length.

The percentage of visitors who complete a transaction in their first session depends on the sector, but does not exceed 30% on average. What to do with the remaining 70% of visitors? How to return them to the site and convert them into buyers? That’s what remarketing is for.

Remarketing is displaying online advertising to users who visit a site at a certain time and/or perform a targeted action. You’ve probably come across remarketing – when you look at goods in an online store and then the ads for this store follow you to other sites, search engines, and social networks.

What are the benefits and uses of remarketing?

  1. Return users. Just because a visitor has left the site doesn’t mean they’re forever lost to you. Perhaps they need time to think, compare offers, or wait for their paycheck. The right ad shown at the right time will remind them of your company and motivate them to complete the order. This is especially true for high-priced and deferred goods.
  2. Sales and conversion growth. With remarketing, you’re interacting with an audience that once showed interest in your business, which means they’re likely to make a purchase if you make a good offer – for example, a 10% discount for all registered visitors during the week.
  3. More targeted advertising. Unlike regular contextual advertising, remarketing offers more options for audience segmentation. You can create remarketing lists based on almost any user actions and characteristics: which page users have visited, bought, or not bought from, how much money they’ve spent on your site, from which source they came, etc.
  4. Economic efficiency. Since remarketing campaigns are launched only for the target audience, usually their ROI is higher and the cost per click is lower than for contextual advertising.
  5. Brand recognition. The more often a user catches your banner ads, the sooner they’ll remember the name of your company. The main thing here is not to overdo it and cause irritation.

How to measure remarketing performance

To understand the value of remarketing, you need to compare its effectiveness with other ad campaigns you run. This can be done in Google Analytics. If you have many advertising channels, you can set up automatic importing of cost data into Google Analytics using OWOX BI to save time and not bother with manually uploading CSV files.

CUSTOMIZE COST IMPORT

Such an analysis of campaigns is better than nothing, but it doesn’t show the full picture. If your remarketing campaigns were not the last in the chain before the order, Google Analytics will not assign them a value by default, which means you risk disabling effective advertising that encourages the user through the sales funnel. You can read more about this problem in our detailed review and comparison of attribution models.

What should you do in this case? We recommend setting up end-to-end analytics by combining data from your site, advertising services, and CRM in Google BigQuery. Using this data, you can configure an attribution model in OWOX BI that takes into account online data and ROPO orders and shows detailed information for each transaction: which session, source/medium, and user actions in the funnel led to it. Thanks to this, you can find an effective channel and say exactly where it’s effective.

Value of sources and channels by funnel steps in OWOX BI Attribution

How remarketing works

The settings and options for remarketing depend on which system you run it on: Google Ads, Yandex.Direct, Facebook, Criteo, myTarget, etc.

But the general algorithm looks like this:

  1. You install a code fragment on all pages of your site that tracks visits and user actions. This can be a standard Google Analytics code or a special Google Ads remarketing tag.
  2. When a user visits your site, User ID is placed in their browser cookies. The tracking code then passes this user ID along with session data to Google Analytics or Google Ads.
  3. You create remarketing lists in Google Analytics or Google Ads, segmenting users according to the conditions you want. For example, you can choose those who visited the basket but didn’t make a purchase and launch an advertising campaign targeting them.
  4. When these people get to a Google Display Network site (such as google.com), they’ll see your ad that suggests returning to your site and completing the purchase.

Types of remarketing

Depending on where your ad will appear, you can choose from the following types of remarketing:

  • Remarketing on the Display Network (aka standard remarketing) – Ads appear on partner sites of Google or Yandex.
  • Dynamic remarketing (similar to standard) – Users are shown banners with specific products they were interested in, not general offers.
  • Search remarketing – Users see your ads in search results for specific queries.
  • Video remarketing – YouTube commercials
  • Remarketing by email – You create user lists using emails that site visitors leave you. Ads are shown in Gmail.
  • Social remarketing – Advertising on social networks: Facebook, Instagram, VKontakte, etc.

How to set up remarketing

There are two ways to build a remarketing database:

  1. Using the Google Ads remarketing tag
  2. Using the standard Google Analytics tracking code

We recommend that you use both methods so you’ll have more opportunities for targeting and you’ll be able to create audiences in both systems. For example, Google Analytics allows you to use all the data it has to determine the audience:

In addition, there are ready-made audience templates in Google Analytics among which you can choose.
We’ll examine both configuration methods in more detail.

Method 1. Using only Google Ads

To perform remarketing with Google Ads, the first thing to do is install a remarketing tag on your website. To do this, go to Google Ads, then navigate to Tools –> Shared Library –> Audience Manager –> Audience Lists and click the Configure Audience Source button:

Select Google Ads Tag and click Customize Tag:

In our example, we’ll set up regular remarketing (rather than dynamic), so select the Collect only general data... option, then click Save and continue:

setting up regular remarketing

The system will offer three ways to install the code on your site: manually (by yourself), using Google Tag Manager, or by sending instructions to your developer

three ways to install the code

Select to install the code yourself. In the window that opens, you’ll get a code fragment. Copy and paste it into your website between the tags, as described in the instructions:

Done. The system will automatically create the first audience for you – all visitors. To create your own list of users for remarketing campaigns, go to the Tools –> Shared Library –> Audience Manager –> Audience Lists section and click on the + icon.

For example, we can create a list of people who visited the webinar page. To do so, select Site Visitors:

Then select from the drop-down list the conditions by which the list of users will be formed.

creating your own list of users

Here, you can combine several conditions at once. For example, say we want to get a list of users who visited the events page only in the .com domain. We can indicate this in the settings.

In the List initial size block, you can see if your audience complies with Google Ads rules – at least 100 active users in the last 30 days.

And don’t forget to indicate the term of participation – that is, the time during which users who fall into the audience will see your advertisement. By default, the system offers 30 days, but the maximum is 540 days.

the term of participation

Once you’ve created an audience, you can start setting up and launching a remarketing campaign. It’s configured almost the same way as a regular campaign. We’ll discuss this in more detail in the next section.

Method 2: Set up remarketing in Google Ads using Google Analytics

In Google Analytics, the first thing you need to do is activate data collection for remarketing. To do this, go to the admin panel and in the resource settings select Tracking –> Data Collection, then switch the slider to turn on Remarketing and click Save.

remarketing via Google Analytics

If your Google Analytics tracking code is installed through Google Tag Manager, you don’t need to do anything else. If it’s installed manually on each page of the site, then it must be replaced by copying the new code in the tracking code section:

Then you need to link your accounts in Google Analytics and Google Ads. To do this, in the Google Analytics resource settings, select the Connect with Google Ads item and click + Group of linked accounts:

google ads linking

Select the desired Google Ads account (if you have several) and click Next:

Enter a name for the group of linked accounts and Google Analytics submissions you’ll work with and click Save.

After that, you need to create an audience for remarketing. Go to the resource settings and select Audience Settings –> Audiences. The system will offer you to create the first audience, All Users. Save it.

creating audience for remarketing

Then click + Audience to add your own list.

Here you can choose from the suggested options according to the criteria by which the list will be created, or you can import any segments already configured in Google Analytics. For example, we’ll create an audience of users who have completed a transaction on the site:

By clicking on the pencil icon, you can change the criteria for audience formation:

changing the criteria for audience

For example, you can change the number of transactions, demographic data, user device, and traffic source.

Create a name for your audience and click Next. Then select the Google Ads account in which you want to use the audience and click Publish:

Now you need to set up a remarketing campaign in Google Ads. To do this, open the Campaigns section in Google Ads and click on the + icon to add a new one.

remarketing campaign in Google Ads

Then configure all the standard settings for the display campaign. Select the Sales target, type - Display Network - Standard Display Campaign. Then specify the location and languages and set the bids and budget. Finally, indicate the timing of the ad.

Select Switch to manual targeting, and in the Users section, using the search bar, find the audience you imported from Google Analytics.

Done! All that remains is to create an ad and run your campaign.

Brief conclusions

Most users who first visit a site leave without buying anything. Remarketing helps you keep in touch with them, get them to return to the site, and motivate them to complete the purchase.

With remarketing, you can increase your sales, conversion rate, and return on ad investment. Remarketing also helps you more effectively target advertising campaigns and increase brand awareness.

If you haven’t set up remarketing yet, be sure to try it and compare its performance with regular display campaigns. We’re sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised :)

Useful links

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