Nick Rennard
By Nick Rennard | SEM | July 18, 2014

Remarketing Campaign Set-up

Pay-per-click, as a concept, is simple. You pay Google to bid on keywords that are relevant to your products or services. Then your ads are displayed when people enter those keywords into their Google search bar. People then click on your ads, leading them to your website where they can convert (recall that a “conversion” is when your customer executes a goal on your website; this comes in the form of e-commerce sales, phone calls, filling out a form, requesting a quote, or whatever parameters we define within the conversion).

Easy, right?


Our generation is certainly better optimized

But what about the people who clicked on your ad and didn’t convert?

The truth: not all sales are as linear and straightforward as we’d like them to be. Few people follow the steps of Googling your keywords, clicking your ad, and immediately converting. Customers will often revisit your website several times through different means (either clicking on your PPC ad, entering your website URL directly, or finding you organically). In the example below, literally every single person who converted during this period went through multiple channels before converting.

multi channel funnels

(this is a Google Analytics screenshot; google/cpc = Google paid search, direct/none = people typing the website directly into their browser, bing/cpc = Bing paid search)

Question: How can we entice these customers (who have already clicked on our ads at least once) to come back and follow through with the conversion?

Answer: Remarketing Ads

remarketing meme

“Woah…” -Keanu Reeves

Remarketing campaigns allow you to reconnect with users who have already visited your website. You can show them custom images and messages that encourage them to return to your website and convert. Often, you will see remarketing images while browsing without even cognitively recognizing it (you can read more information on remarketing ads here).


Example remarketing ads you might see while browsing

Great! Now we’ve discussed remarketing ads and their uses, but how do we set up a new campaign?

3 Steps to Setting up a Remarketing Campaign:

1.) Create Remarketing List

2.) Create Remarketing Images

3.) Create Remarketing Campaign

Let’s get started!

1.) Create a Remarketing List:

Every time someone clicks on your ad they can be added to a remarketing list via cookies. You can also set custom parameters that only add certain people to your remarketing list if they have accomplished some sort of goal (ex. they visited a certain number of pages, didn’t bounce, or they spent a certain amount of time on your website). This allows you to focus your traffic on customers who have shown higher levels of interest.

In order to track the activity of people who visit your website, you will need to add a remarketing tag to your website. You can read more on the steps for this process here.

Your remarketing campaign cannot run until your list has reached a certain quantity of users, so you’ll need to set this up before anything else. Configure your remarketing list so that it starts populating as soon as possible. You can find a very detailed guide from Google Support here that will guide you through setting up your first list. For those of you well-versed in Google Analytics, you can also set up remarketing lists using Analytics; more information on this here.

2.) Create Remarketing Images:

Many people choose to create their own remarketing images, which saves money otherwise spent on a graphic designer. Others choose to outsource the images to a professional. In order to run an effective remarketing campaign, you’ll need a set of images in different sizes that can fit into the standard banner slots on any given website. If your images aren’t the right size or file type, then you won’t be able to upload them into your campaign. You can read more information on Google’s requirements for image file types & sizes here.

If you’re interested in creating your own images, you can find a lot of graphic design advice here. As I mentioned before, creating the images yourself will save you money, but it can be time-consuming if you’ve never done it before. Once the images are created, you can run your remarketing campaign much like a PPC search campaign, allocating however much money you want towards your remarketing campaign’s daily budget.

3.) Create Remarketing Campaign:

Now you’ve got your remarketing list populated (or populating, at least) and your images created. Let’s get it set up! Within AdWords, click the big red button that says +Campaign and select Display Network Only.

new campaigns
On the next screen you’ll be prompted to fill in a few blanks:

new campaigns 2

1.) Name your campaign

2.) Select Remarketing as your type

3.) Make sure you’re manually bidding on your remarketing campaign (unless you’re planning on letting Google optimize things for you)

4.) Enable Enhanced CPC will be checked by default. I don’t like using enhanced CPC because it will stretch your bids based on conversion data. I like manually setting my bids so that I know what I’m bidding. Often times leaving this checked will only result in you paying more per click overall.

5.) Set your budget

6.) Onto the next screen!

new campaign 3
Here you will give your ad group a name and default bid (you can always adjust your bid later based on conversion data, impression share, etc). Select the remarketing list that you’ve already set up in your campaign. Keep in mind that you can use the list even if it isn’t fully populated yet. Once there are enough people in your list, then the campaign will automatically turn itself on.

new campaign 4
On the next screen you can upload your images by clicking the Image Ad tab and selecting Upload an ad. Give your ad a name (this doesn’t really matter; I usually just name them by their image size so they’re easier to keep track of). Insert the display URL and destination URL, and once you have your images all uploaded you can click Save Ads and you’re done!

I recommend checking on your campaign the next day to make sure that it’s generating impressions and clicks. If it’s not, then your list may not be fully populated or you may have gone wrong somewhere in the set-up process. It’s also possible that your ads were rejected, although you will be notified by Google if this happens. You can always contact Google’s support team at 1-866-2-GOOGLE and they can diagnose why your campaign isn’t running and help you through the necessary steps to get it up and running.

Happy bidding!

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In the time it takes to read this sentence, you could be on your way to a well-oiled demand generation machine. Ready for your blueprint?

yes, i want my Digital blueprint

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