It’s no longer a question of if you should run remarketing campaigns; it’s how you should run remarketing campaigns.
With more devices in households than ever, remarketing is imperative to recapture and engage your audience for a second (or third or fourth) chance at their attention.
To launch an effective Google Ads remarketing campaign, it’s crucial you master the setup.
This guide will help you cover not only the basics of setting up a remarketing campaign but also advanced tips and tricks to get the most out of your marketing dollars.
1. Ensure Proper Tagging Is In Place
For remarketing to serve impressions, it is vital that the proper tracking is on a website.
Google Ads Tag
If your Google Ads account starts from scratch, a Google Tag must be implemented.
To find this specific to your account, navigate to Tools & Settings > Setup > Google tag.
If you’re used to the “Global Site Tag” name, it is now named the Google tag.
Google now offers installation configuration with any of these website builders:
If you are manually installing the tag, it must be placed immediately after the <head> tag of every page of your website.
Lastly, if you have Google Tag Manager, you can install the necessary code in your website container.
Google Analytics Tag
Google Analytics tracking is required before being able to create any remarketing list within the platform.
To find the tracking code, navigate to Admin > Property View > Tracking Info > Tracking Code.
Checking For Tag Implementation
The easiest way to check if tags have been implemented properly is to download the “Tag Assistant for Conversions” beta extension in a Chrome browser.
Navigate to your website and run the Tag Assistant. If implemented correctly, the results should look similar to this.
The green check mark means that there are no issues identified with the tag setup.
2. Create Intentional Remarketing Lists
Once you have ensured tracking is in place, it’s time to create intentional remarketing lists.
The intention is extremely important when crafting remarketing audiences.
If you simply targeted “All Visitors” to your website, you’re missing out on so many opportunities.
Google Analytics and Google Ads provide many options to segment your site viewers as granularly as you want.
Keep in mind that a list that is too narrow will have difficulty serving.
The key is to find a balance between audience size and their intent.
Google Analytics Lists
I prefer to create remarketing ads in Google Analytics (or GA4 if you’re already using it).
Because there is onsite behavior data to layer onto lists, it gives more options to qualify that audience.
To create an audience in Google Analytics 4, navigate to Configure > Audience Definitions.
Note: This is assuming that a user has already linked the proper Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts for data sharing.
Now, it’s time to get creative.
The key is to create multiple remarketing lists based on the categorization of your website.
A few starter ideas to consider when creating a remarketing list portfolio:
- Category page viewers.
- Purchasers/Leads (to exclude in campaigns).
- All Qualified site traffic (determined by time on site, whatever amount is considered above average for your business).
- Quality Blog Viewers (determined by time on site, whatever amount is considered above average for your business).
- Cart Viewers.
In this example, I want to create a remarketing list of anyone who visited a specific landing page and watched at least 50% of the video on that page.
The two key pieces of information to input would be “page” AND “video percent” (not “OR”).
Once completed, don’t forget to choose your audience destinations.
Always be sure to choose the Google Ads account for the list to import.
By doing so, the list can be used for Remarketing campaign purposes.
Google Ads Lists
To create lists in Google Ads, navigate to Tools & Settings > Audience Manager > Segments.
There are five different types of remarketing lists available to create:
- Website Visitors.
- App users.
- YouTube users.
- Customer list.
- Custom combinations.
This article gives a more in-depth breakdown of how to create effective YouTube remarketing lists.
Depending on the goal, create your necessary remarketing lists and choose a list duration. The maximum duration a user can stay in a list is 540 days.
The benefit of Google Ads remarketing lists is that they give the option of pre-populating the list with users in the past 30 days. Google Analytics does not offer retroactive audience filling.
3. Determine Proper Assets
The most popular remarketing campaign type is within the Google Display Network (GDN). However, there are Remarketing Search campaigns as well.
Before creating the proper assets, ask these questions first:
- What is the user being asked to do?
- What should the message consist of?
- Does the landing page experience match the ad messaging?
There are key components to consider when creating remarketing assets. Below are some of them:
- Static image formats
- Responsive image formats
- Headlines and descriptions (if using responsive format)
- Landing page experience
The full list of uploaded display ad specifications for Google Ads can be found here.
It is important to note that if using the Responsive Ad format, images must be ratio based and are not the same as static image requirements.
4. Create A Remarketing Campaign
Remarketing campaigns can be built in either the Google Ads interface or Google Ads Editor.
Start with the campaign name, budget, and settings. If you’re creating multiple remarketing campaigns, keep track by putting the audience name in the campaign.
The campaign settings can make or break performance. When they are not properly managed or maintained, expect some volatility in performance. These include:
- “Observation vs. Target” setting.
- Bid Strategy setting.
- Targeting Expansion setting.
- Location setting.
- Frequency Cap setting.
When adding audiences to a remarketing campaign, choose the “Targeting” setting instead of “Observation.”
By keeping it in “Observation” mode, audience targeting is not narrowed at all.
When selecting a bid strategy, be sure to select one based on your goals.
For example, if you are to use “Target CPA” and set the bid too low, Google will throttle impressions, and the campaign will be at risk to serve.
Lastly, be competitive with bids because the targeted audiences have already been introduced to your brand.
The next setting, “Optimized targeting,” is one that Google has conveniently hidden within the Ad Group settings.
Always keep this off in a remarketing campaign.
If you went through the trouble of creating a targeted list, why on earth would Google want us to expand to lookalike users in the same campaign?
The default setting is “People in, or who show interest, in your targeted locations.”
While this is the recommended setting according to Google, I recommend changing it to “in or regularly in targeted location.”
By changing it to the middle selection below, it allows for narrower targeting.
Lastly, frequency cap settings are still important because seeing the same ad multiple times daily creates a bad user experience.
Be sure to set frequency caps at a moderate level per user.
5. Analyze, Refine & Optimize
You’ve officially launched your first remarketing campaign!
That’s all there is, right?
It is important to keep a pulse on campaign performance early on. Some of the key items to watch for in the early days include:
- Ensure audience size is large enough to show impressions.
- Placements (where ads are showing).
After a few weeks of data (give or take, depending on the audience size), there should be enough information to start making optimizations based on performance.
The goal is to continually refine.
Remarketing campaigns are not a “set and forget” strategy.
Pulling It All Together
A remarketing strategy involves more than just targeting a group of users. It intertwines technology, audiences, messaging, and more.
Without even one of these areas, a remarketing campaign may not truly live up to its potential.
Follow the tips above to ensure your next Google Ads remarketing campaign is set up for success (and don’t forget to monitor performance!)
Featured Image: Chinnapong/Shutterstock
How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher
How To Measure The Largest Contentful Paint Of Your Website
Run a free website speed test to find out. Your LCP speed will be displayed immediately.
The results of your speed test will tell you if:
- The LCP threshold is met.
- You need to optimize any other Core Web Vital.
How Is The Largest Contentful Paint Calculated?
Google looks at the 75th percentile of experiences – that means 25% of real website visitors experience LCP load times of 3.09 seconds or higher, while for 75% of users the LCP is below 3.09 seconds.
In this example, the real-user LCP is shown as 3.09 seconds.
What Are The Lab Test Results On My Core Web Vitals Data?
With this specific web speed test, you’ll also see lab metrics that were collected in a controlled test environment. While these metrics don’t directly impact Google rankings, there are two advantages of this data:
- The metrics update as soon as you improve your website, while Google’s real-time data will take 28 days to fully update.
- You get detailed reports in addition to the metrics, which can help you optimize your website.
Additionally, PageSpeed Insights also provides lab data, but keep in mind that the data it reports can sometimes be misleading due to the simulated throttling it uses to emulate a slower network connection.
How Do You Find Your Largest Contentful Paint Element?
When you run a page speed test with DebugBear, the LCP element is highlighted in the test result.
Sometimes, the LCP element may be a large image, and other times, it could be a large portion of text.
Regardless of whether your LCP element is an image or a piece of text, the LCP content won’t appear until your page starts rendering.
For example, on the page below, a background image is responsible for the largest paint.
In contrast, this page’s LCP is a paragraph of text.
To improve the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) of your website you need to ensure that the HTML element responsible for the LCP appears quickly.
How To Improve The Largest Contentful Paint
To improve the LCP you need to:
- Find out what resources are necessary to make the LCP element appear.
- See how you can load those resources faster (or not at all).
For example, if the LCP element is a photo, you could reduce the file size of the image.
After running a DebugBear speed test, you can click on each performance metric to view more information on how it could be optimized.
Common resources that affect the LCP are:
- Render-blocking resources.
- Images that are not optimized.
- Outdated image formats.
- Fonts that are not optimized.
How To Reduce Render-Blocking Resources
Render-blocking resources are files that need to be downloaded before the browser can start drawing page content on the screen. CSS stylesheets are typically render-blocking, as are many script tags.
To reduce the performance impact of render-blocking resources you can:
- Identify what resources are render-blocking.
- Review if the resource is necessary.
- Review if the resource needs to block rendering.
- See if the resource can be loaded more quickly up, for example using compression.
The Easy Way: In the DebugBear request waterfall, requests for render-blocking resources are marked with a “Blocking” tag.
How To Prioritize & Speed Up LCP Image Requests
For this section, we’re going to leverage the new “fetchpriority” attribute on images to help your visitor’s browsers quickly identify what image should load first.
Use this attribute on your LCP element.
When just looking at the HTML, browsers often can’t immediately tell what images are important. One image might end up being a large background image, while another one might be a small part of the website footer.
Accordingly, all images are initially considered low priority, until the page has been rendered and the browser knows where the image appears.
However, that can mean that the browser only starts downloading the LCP image fairly late.
The new Priority Hints web standard allows website owners to provide more information to help browsers prioritize images and other resources.
In the example below, we can see that the browser spends a lot of time waiting, as indicated by the gray bar.
We would choose this LCP image to add the “fetchpriority” attribute to.
How To Add The “FetchPriority” Attribute To Images
Simply adding the fetchpriority=”high” attribute to an HTML img tag will the browser will prioritize downloading that image as quickly as possible.
<img src="https://www.searchenginejournal.com/optimize-largest-contentful-paint-debugbear-spcs/471883/photo.jpg" fetchpriority="high" />
How To Use Modern Image Formats & Size Images Appropriately
High-resolution images can often have a large file size, which means they take a long time to download.
In the speed test result below you can see that by looking at the dark blue shaded areas. Each line indicates a chunk of the image arriving in the browser.
There are two approaches to reducing image sizes:
- Ensure the image resolution is as low as possible. Consider serving images at different resolutions depending on the size of the user’s device.
- Use a modern image format like WebP, which can store images of the same quality at a lower file size.
How To Optimize Font Loading Times
If the LCP element is an HTML heading or paragraph, then it’s important to load the font for this chunk of text quickly.
One way to achieve this would be to use preload tags that can tell the browser to load the fonts early.
The font-display: swap CSS rule can also ensure sped-up rendering, as the browser will immediately render the text with a default font before switching to the web font later on.
Monitor Your Website To Keep The LCP Fast
Continuously monitoring your website not only lets you verify that your LCP optimizations are working, but also makes sure you get alerted if your LCP gets worse.
DebugBear can monitor the Core Web Vitals and other site speed metrics over time. In addition to running in-depth lab-based tests, the product also keeps track of the real-user metrics from Google.
Try DebugBear with a free 14-day trial.
How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher
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