PPC Remarketing ads, or sometimes referred to as retargeting ads, are a powerful way of bringing customers who have engaged with your website back to your site. Once they’re back on your site, you have another chance to make them complete your desired conversion action.

Since Remarketing looks at bringing people who have already engaged with your site back to your site, it tends to have a much higher conversion rate than other marketing channels.

Google Remarketing works by placing a cookie on the user’s device when they visit your site. You, as an advertiser, can then follow the user around various Google Ads approved websites on the internet, showing them adverts related to your product or service.

There is often a tendency to create a Remarketing campaign and then leave it to do its thing. However, there a lot of ways to optimize a Remarketing campaign and improve performance. I’ve compiled a list of ten optimization tips that will help you to get more from your Google Remarketing campaign below:

Optimization Tip 1: Review Placements Report

Review the placement report in Google Ads and exclude poor quality placements. The Placements report shows you where on the Internet your remarketing ads have shown. To view your placements report, click on Placements when in your Google Remarketing campaign.

There are several factors that you can look at when deciding on what placements to block out, and in a lot of cases, it will depend on your particular niche. However, here are some general suggestions on placements to exclude in your Google Remarketing campaign.

  • Mobile apps – Generally speaking, mobile apps perform poorly which is why a lot of advertisers will block them out
  • Children’s Youtube channels – There are a lot of children’s Youtube channels out there which probably are not relevant to your business unless you’re selling children’s products. The danger here is that a customer could get added into your remarketing list because they viewed one of your products, but then they give their phone to their child so that they can watch some Youtube videos aimed at children. This will result in your ad being shown to the wrong person.
  • Websites that appear to be malicious – There are many websites out there that use bots and malicious click fraud methods to automatically click your ads. By doing this, the webmaster gets paid but they have no intention of purchasing your product. Spotting malicious websites takes some practice, but in general, you should be looking at sites that you think nobody will be reading and then excluding them from your Remarketing campaign.
  • Placements that have a different intent – Consider what the user might be thinking when they’re on a particular website, and block out placements where the user will have something else on their mind. For example, if you sell clothes, then your customer is probably not going to click on your ad and make a purchase when they’re researching treatments for an illness.

Optimization Tip 2: Exclude Previous Converters

Unless you’re trying to cross-sell to your previous customers, try not to show advertisements to people who have already completed your conversion action.

For example, If you’re trying to get people to purchase a particular product, then you don’t need to continue showing adverts to people who have already purchased that product. This is going to needlessly eat into your Remarketing budget.

To stop past converters from seeing your Remarketing ads, you can create a list of people who have completed your particular conversion action and then add this list as a negative audience list.

Optimization Tip 3: Remove Irrelevant Users from Remarketing List

To improve the relevancy of your remarketing list, have a think about the types of users that may visit your site who wouldn’t be likely to complete your conversion action via a Remarketing campaign.

For example, anyone who visited your careers page probably isn’t going to complete a conversion action. If you get a lot of traffic via a blog, then you need to look at the quality of that traffic and how likely they are to complete your conversions action. If your blog readers are not very likely to complete a conversion action, then you should consider removing them from your Remarketing list.

Optimization Tip 4: Frequency Capping

You don’t want to be annoying your customers by showing them the same ad multiple times in a day. This can have an adverse effect on the performance of your campaigns by putting off customers to a point where it starts to hurt your conversions. Make sure to add a frequency cap that will prevent the user from seeing your Remarketing ads more than a set number of times.

When deciding on the frequency cap to set, consider the customers in your niche and decide on how many repetitive ads may end up annoying them. As a very general rule, I prefer not to show ads to users more than twice per day.

Remarketing Optimization Frequency Capping

Optimization Tip 5: Test Target Expansion

Target expansion allows Google to show your ads to people who are similar to the people in your remarketing list and who Google thinks would be interested in your product or service. When running a Remarketing campaign for the first time, I would always switch off Target expansion as it generally tends to perform poorly.

If your Remarketing campaigns prove to be very successful and you want to explore opportunities to increase traffic from your Remarketing campaign, then you can try testing targeting expansion.

When you switch this on this option, you’re likely to see a noticeable increase in impressions and clicks. Keep an eye on your success metrics to see what is happening with your ROI, or cost per conversion. Keep on expanding the targeting options until the ROI or cost per conversion is no longer at a point where it is profitable for you.

Optimization Tip 6: Utilize Dynamic Remarketing

If you have a product category, then the chances are you’re eligible to insert a product feed into Google Ads. With a product feed, you can create a Google Dynamic Remarketing campaign. Google’s Dynamic Remarketing campaign will use your product feed to serve ads that are tailored to the user.

For example, if you sell clothing and a user visited a particular pair of jeans but didn’t purchase them, then Google’s Dynamic Remarketing campaign will show the user images of the particular pair of jeans that they viewed. This creates a much more tailored experience which is likely to improve the conversion rate of your campaigns.

To create a product feed, you will need to create a Google Merchant Center account and then upload your feed into Google Merchant Center. Once this is done, you will need to link up your Google Merchant Centre account with your Google Ads account.

Optimization Tip 7: Review Your Content Exclusions

Google gives you some flexibility to be able to decide on the kind of websites that you don’t want your ads to show on. There may be some types of website that you don’t want your ads to show on.

For example, if you sell children’s products, then it could be quite embarrassing for your brand if your ads show alongside sexually suggestive content. Review the content exclusion settings in your campaign settings and block out any content that you feel does not fit your brand.

Optimization Tip 8: Block Out Irrelevant IP Addresses

If you visit your site quite often, (which you probably do), then you’ll most likely be getting your own Remarketing ads served to you. This situation is not suitable for the optimum running of your Remarketing campaign. If you accidentally click on your ad, then you’ll be charged for a click.

If you don’t click on your ad, then this will work towards lowering your click-through rate. In fact, a lower click-through rate on Display advertising results in higher click prices. It’s not likely to make much of a difference, but every little helps when it comes to putting your PPC budget to best use.

It is, therefore, worthwhile blocking out IP addresses of people who would be likely to see your ad but who wouldn’t be interested in completing a conversion action.

An excellent place to start is to block out your office IP address, home IP address and your colleagues’ home IP addresses if they’re happy to share this information. If you have a competitor’s IP address, then it is a good idea to block out their IP address as well. This is because a competitor is not going to want to complete a conversion action on your site.

To block out an IP address from your campaign, in the campaign settings, select ‘IP exclusions’. Here you can add in all of the IP addresses that you want to exclude.

Optimization Tip 9: Split Test Image Variations

Just like with ad copy testing on Search, it is a good idea to split test ad copy messaging on your Google Remarketing campaign to find out what message and ad design resonates the best with your customers.

Think about testing different call to actions, background colors, designs, and imagery in your ads. Once you have enough data on your various images, you can pause the poorer performing images and create another ad variation to split test.

This will gradually result in your Remarketing images performing better as you start to learn what type of ad better resonates with your audience and what type of ad doesn’t.

Optimization Tip 10: Up-Sell and Cross Sell to Previous Converters

Don’t just leave your converters. Think about what more you could get from them. Your past converts are people who were convinced by your offering, and therefore it is likely that they would be interested in your other products or services.

For example, if a customer downloaded a free version of your software, then you could try serving them with Remarketing ads talking about the benefits of the paid version. If the customer purchased some running trainers from you, then they may also be interested in your other running clothing and products.

Wrapping Up

While Remarketing campaigns generally perform very well, there are several optimizations that can be made that can improve the performance. Don’t just create a Google Remarketing campaign and then leave it. Review the performance regularly and think of ways to get more from your Remarketing campaign.

About the Author

Rashed Khan is a PPC Director with over 8 years in digital marketing and over 5 years of experience in PPC advertising. He currently works as a PPC Director for a PPC agency in Leeds called Pepper PPC Agency.