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Remarketing Lists for Search Ads definition

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (© svetazi /

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (© svetazi /

Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) is a feature within Google Adwords. It enables advertisers to customize their search campaigns based on if a user has visited the advertiser’s website in the past and any pages that were viewed. This feature can provide a number of benefits for online marketers that use Google Adwords. In this article, we offer an introduction and overview to RLSA.

Online marketing is always changing, and so is AdWords search. It used to be that the only way to target a specific audience was with keywords. Now, there is a more sophisticated method available to target a particular audience that works in conjunction with keywords; that method is known as remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA). While they were introduced in 2013, RLSAs are still not very well understood by many online marketers, and hence, they are not used as widely as they should be.

What is Remarketing Lists for Search Ads?

Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) is a feature that was introduced on Google Adwords in 2013. This feature makes it possible for online advertisers that use Adwords to customize their search campaigns according to users who have previously interacted with their site and the pages that those users viewed on the site.

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads and Traditional Display Remarketing are Different

RLSAs are not to be confused with traditional display remarketing, as the two are completely different. While the name might indicate that remarketing lists for search ads may seem like it would be a very similar concept to display remarketing, just on a search network instead, in actuality, this isn’t the case. In fact, the only thing that RLSAs and display remarketing have in common is that both utilize cookies to keep track of users and place them on lists that marketers use. The manner in which these lists are used in remarketing lists for search ads is completely different than they way they are used with traditional display remarketing.

openPR tip: In standard remarketing, ads are delivered to people while they are browsing on Google’s Display Network. RLSAs, on the other hand, don’t just start displaying text ads to people automatically simply because they are on a remarketing list. Instead, people have to be actively searching on Google’s Display Network using the keywords that advertisers are bidding on within their search campaign.

Two Ways to Use RLSAs

Remarketing lists for Search Ads can be utilized in two ways:

  1. Advertisers can make adjustments to the bids on their ad groups for their remarketing lists (or users) who are searching on Google using the keywords that the advertiser is bidding on.
  2. Search ad groups can be set up so that they are only triggered and ads are shown when a user is on an advertiser’s remarketing list, and said user is searching on Google using the keywords the marketer is bidding on.

The Benefits of Remarketing Lists for Search Ads

RLSAs allow marketers that use Google’s Search Ads to customize their search engine campaigns so that they can target more valuable and qualified people. In other words, search engine campaigns can be tailored so that they are reaching people that are more inclined to be interested in what your business offers and convert.

When used properly, RLSAs can offer the following benefits:

How to Set Up Remarketing Lists for Search Ads

Setting up RLSA is a lot easier than you might think. Use the following instructions to get started:

  • Sign into your Google AdWords account
  • On the campaign page, click on the tab that reads “audiences
  • Select “add a remarketing list”. You’ll be prompted to choose an ad group to apply your list to. Once you select the group, the remarketing lists that are available will be displayed.
  • If you only want to utilize the remarketing list, select “target and bid”; if you want to use both keyword search and remarketing list, select “bids only”.

RLSA Best Practices

In order to get the most out of remarketing lists for search ads, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Increase your bids for particular lists. You can increase your CPC for a specific list based on the previous engagement of users and the potential value that they offer.
  • Expand your keyword list. With RLSA, you can easily test out new keywords and apply creative strategies regarding the relevant queries that visitors could be using to find you. Testing out new keywords can be an expensive and very risk endeavor; with RLSA, your risks and expense are significantly reduced.
  • Give product specific targeting a try. With RLSA, you can increase your bids for visitors who landed on a product page while they were on your site when they are searching for the same product on Google in the future.
  • Try using coupons. You can try to target repeat customers and promote customer loyalty by offer a discount promo with the category or section that visitors are viewing.
  • Target abandoned shopping carts. If you have users that have abandoned their shopping carts, try using RLSA to encourage them to come back to your website and complete their purchase.
  • Use more than just search queries. Instead of just using search queries, you can also try using things like location, day and time, and the device being used.
  • Consider excluding users. This may not be suitable for all marketers, but for some, there may be times when you would want to exclude specific lists from particular ad groups or keywords. For instance, you might decide to offer a one-off coupon but exclude customers that have already converted from seeing it and clicking on your advertisement.

RLSA Best Practices

The possibilities that RLSA can offer are huge. As the functionalities improve, so will RLSAs, which means that the possibilities that this opportunity offers will be virtually limitless.