We’re a big fan of RLSAs (remarketing list for search ads).
If you’re unfamiliar with RLSAs; they allow you to group website users into Audiences and then apply one of the following techniques to the audience:
As users who have been on your website before are *much* more likely to convert, using bid adjustments or keyword expansion for these groups can often lead to a nice increase in conversions.
However, when apply incorrectly, they can be devastating to your account.
This company is very stable in terms of their conversions each week; however, after applying RLSAs, they saw their conversions plummet:
This was due to one minor setting change.
When you apply an audience to an ad group (or to a lot of ad groups via the AdWords Editor), you choose how that audience will be applied with “Target & Bid” or “Bid Only”:
If you use Bid only, then anyone can see your ads, but you can change your bids if a user is in an audience.
If you use Target & Bid, then only users who searched for a keyword in that ad group AND are in your list will see your ad.
This company had only planned to increase bids for returning users; but because they ticked target and bid instead of bid only; their traffic dropped dramatically.
Target & Bid is a good setting under certain conditions. Consider this scenario:
You’re an automotive dealership with a limited budget. Therefore, words like new car and used car are too general for you to buy for everyone who searched for those words. However, consider this user:
That’s where audience targeting is useful; but you need to make sure you get the settings correct.
Here’s a handy chart to use when you’re checking your RLSA settings:
|For each audience:||Bid Only||Target & Bid||Who can see your ad?|
|Use bid adjustments||Yes||Anyone|
|Expand keywords||Yes||Only users in your list|
|Use different ads||Yes||Only users in your list|
RLSAs can be a lot more complex than just using a single audience. Often you’ll want multiple audiences, such as:
RLSAs can be a lot of fun and are useful for small and large sites alike.
Once this site fixed the single setting; they see that users in audiences (previous visitors) convert at double those of all searchers (9.15% conversion rate for audience members and 4.23% for all search):
Just make sure when you wander into the world of audience targeting (RLSA, custom match, remarketing); that you have the correct target & bid or bid only setting checked so you don’t suddenly see a large drop in traffic, but instead, an increase in conversion rates.
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