Nick Rennard
By Nick Rennard | SEM, SEO, Web Dev | October 7, 2015

Display Network Remarketing Tips

Hello Fellow Advertisers! Remarketing via Google AdWords is an effective, versatile, and popular way of advertising among PPC professionals. It’s a display network marketing technique that allows advertisers to target users who have already shown interest in their site. Today’s blog is going to focus on giving you some new ideas for strategies to improve your remarketing campaigns on the display network.

Tip #1: Implementing (the correct) Tracking Code

The first step for setting up a remarketing campaign is implementing the code to track users who come to your site. This is done in one of two ways: 1.) AdWords: Under your Shared Library in AdWords, click Audiences –> Tag Details –>  Setup –> View AdWords tag for websites dropdown box. Here you will see the remarketing code that you’ll need to attach right before the </body> tag on all of your web pages. Simply copy and paste the code and send it to your web developer, and they’ll be able to implement it for you. 2.) Analytics: Remarketing can also be done through Analytics. Assuming you already have Analytics set up for your site you can go ahead and start creating remarketing lists and import them to AdWords from Analytics (assuming your accounts are synced up properly). Simply log into your Analytics account and click the Admin tab at the top. Under the Property column, click Remarketing –> Audiences. If you haven’t already linked your AdWords and Analytics, then it will prompt you to go through the necessary steps to get this set up.


Analytics and AdWords both require a snippet of code to be inserted on every page of your website so that you can track your users. Reach out to your web developer, and they can help you implement the code for you so that you can run your remarketing campaigns on the display network.

Choosing the Correct Tracking Code:

I much prefer to use Analytics tracking over AdWords tracking for two big reasons: 1.) Analytics is more comprehensive than AdWords. Google Analytics allows you to be significantly more granular in your targeting methods. They have more parameters to choose from when deciding who you want to remarket to. Again, the default is to simply advertise to everyone who has already visited your site, but I will talk more about why it’s important to know when to narrow down on the people you are targeting with your ads. 2.) It’s easier to diagnose when your remarketing list ‘breaks’ with Analytics. Analytics remarketing lists will only stop working if your Analytics code gets stripped from the site. If/when your Analytics code gets stripped from the site (which is extremely rare), it will be noticed by more than just your PPC team. SEO and other departments also use Google Analytics, so when the code gets stripped, there are more people to potentially notice that something is wrong so that it can be fixed ASAP. AdWords remarketing codes, on the other hand, are completely separate from everything else. This means that if/when your remarketing code gets stripped from the site through AdWords, it will take longer for you to notice that the list is slowly starting to decay over time. Long story short: make sure you set up your remarketing lists through Google Analytics instead of through the AdWords platform.


Tip #2: Getting Granular

Most people use the default remarketing list that is created called “All Visitors.” This simply advertises to everyone who visited any page of your site. It’s not necessarily wrong to be using this remarketing list, but it’s good to know when it’s viable to switch strategies to a more granular remarketing list. Question: How do you know when you should be using a more granular list? Answer: Impression Share.


Impression share is a percentage that tells you how frequently your remarketing ads are showing up on the display network. You can enable this column and view the impression share for your campaigns within the AdWords browser interface. Let’s talk about how to analyze this number:

Case #1: Low Impression Share (0% – 30%)

Low impression share means that your ads aren’t showing up nearly as much as they could be. If you want to spend more, then you can always increase bids to show up more frequently. However, many people are already under relatively strict budgets, so this isn’t always an option. If your impression share is extremely low and you can’t spend more, then my #1 recommendation would be to narrow your audience targeting. If your current campaign is advertising to everyone who visits the site, then you should set up new remarketing lists to target users who have shown more interest in the site (i.e. visited the shopping cart, didn’t bounce from the site, visited X amount of pages on the site, spend Y amount of time browsing the site, etc). You can set up all of these custom parameters within Analytics and import your remarketing lists over to AdWords. If you’re using AdWords remarketing codes, then you may be limited to only certain functions for audience targeting.

Case #2: Medium Impression Share (30% – 60%)

Medium impression share means that you can go in either direction. Generally speaking you want to stabilize your impression share around 50-60%. From my past experience, this is the sweet spot for most people where if they try to spend more, then they’ll likely end up paying too much per click, and if they want to spend less, then they should just narrow their targeting to more specific users.

Case #3: High Impression Share (60% > 100%)

If your impression share is high, then you should do the inverse of what I recommended in case #1. Instead of increasing bids to show more frequently, you should decrease bids and show less frequently. As impression share increases, so do your diminishing returns on your ad spend. Decreasing bids will allow you to get the same clicks at a cheaper rate. This will allow you to funnel more funds from your remarketing campaigns towards other forms of advertisement for your business. Also, if you’re already using a granular list, then you can feel free to open up the list to more users (i.e. use a less granular list than the one you’re currently using). This will set your impression share back, but you will also be targeting a wider array of users that have shown interest in your site.

Tip #3: Diversify

Once you have your campaigns set up on the display network you should think about using remarketing lists on the search network as well. These types of campaign are known as RLSAs or Remarketing Lists for Search Ads. An RLSA campaign targets the exact same keywords that your normal search campaigns do, but it bids significantly more aggressively and only targets people who have already visited your site. Users re-Googling the keywords that you are targeting is a tell-tale sign that the user is still shopping around for the products/services they’re interested in. These types of users have proven to have significantly higher conversion rates. Let’s use an example: Let’s pretend that you are Saul Goodman, the criminal defense lawyer from Breaking Bad.


Walter White gets into some legal trouble, and he needs a criminal lawyer, so he types “local criminal lawyers” into his Google search bar. You’re bidding on the keyword +criminal +lawyer, so your ad comes up with three or four other local lawyers in the area. Walter clicks around through your site and various other sites, but decides to procrastinate and not call anyone quite yet.


Two days later, the police come knocking on Walter’s door, and he decides that he needs to call someone NOW. He goes back to his computer and types “I need a criminal lawyer now” into his Google search bar. This is exactly where an RLSA kicks in. RLSAs target the users who have already been shopping around for your products/services before. Statistics have proven that users who come back Googling the same queries in their browser are significantly more likely to convert. I’ve set up RLSAs for many clients in the past, and I’ve seen ROIs as high as 60:1 coming from RLSA campaigns simply because the conversion rates are so insanely high from these users. Feel free to read up on part 1 and part 2 of my blog about setting up Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs).

Other Resources:

For setting up more granular targeting, you can feel free to reference this blog about setting up custom lists for remarketing campaigns on the display network. Since I’ve already written several blogs about the different moving parts in setting up remarketing, I don’t want to delve to deep into the nitty gritty of creating a remarketing campaign within AdWords. If you’d like to read more on setting up your campaigns from scratch in the AdWords editor, then feel free to reference this blog to help you set up your remarketing campaign(s). Happy Advertising!

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