Remarketing lists for search ads: best practice checklist for retailers

Posted: Wednesday 23rd April 2014 in Paid Media, Thought Leadership.

Our best practice tips for RLSAs will enable you to get the most from this powerful retargeting tool

Since their launch in July 2012, Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs) have grown in popularity and recent developments have greatly enhanced the functionality of this type of targeting.

RLSAs are a powerful retargeting tool that allows you to target users who have visited your site recently. This ability to change bids based on the consumer’s likelihood to convert enables you to spend money when and where you can see the potential of a conversion taking place. Here is our quick and easy best practice guide to getting the most from Google RLSAs.

1. Set up lists well in advance

Set up your audience lists in advance as you need at least 1,000 visitors on each list and scale up is often very slow (up to 90 days). Doing so will enable you to evaluate what lists will help you to achieve your objectives.

2. Do not have more than 10 lists

Too many remarketing lists can mean that you lose transparency on what lists actually help to improve conversion rate. We would, however, also suggest that too few lists would prevent you from taking full advantage of Google’s RLSAs. We therefore advise 3-10 lists as best practice, starting with the ‘All visitors’ list.


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3. Don’t be afraid of testing bid adjustments

We have identified that setting your initial bid adjustment to 0% on launch enables you to understand how the lists can perform; however we encourage you to try different adjustments along the way. We have found a bid adjustment of +40% enables us to drive a significant increase in traffic for our ‘All visitors’ list and conversion rates have seen very positive uplifts using this adjustment.


Some additional Summit best practice rules for RLSA: 


  • Trial different audience lengths such as 7 and 30 days depending on the product category and product value
  • Trial different tags/landing pages (basket page, all visitors, conversion)
  • If you have a large search volume your next step could be to look at cross selling
  • If you want to be able to see sales and revenue you must duplicate your current campaigns (add ||RLSA at the end in order to differentiate) to allow them to be tracked. This is also the case if you want to target additional keywords or have RLSA specific creatives
  • If you have duplicated your search campaign for RLSA make sure you add any audience lists from your RLSA duplicate campaign as a negative audience list on your original search campaign

For more details on RLSAs you can check out Google’s support page or email your questions to Head of Direct Response at Summit, Dave Trolle.