the rundown

Remarketing lists for search ads provides yet another opportunity to optimize your search campaigns by letting you tailor your keyword bids and ad text for your highest value prospects — people who have visited your website in the past — when they’re searching for what you sell.

According to some benchmarks, just 2-4% of site visits result in a transaction. But a customer's online path to purchase can involve several related commercial searches and site visits.

In standard search campaigns, your bids, ads and keywords are the same for every search and every searcher. But if you knew which searchers represented higher value prospects, you might want to bid higher, show on broader keywords or present different ads to these customers to improve your results.

Remarketing lists for search ads lets you do just that. You can use your existing remarketing lists to more effectively reach past site visitors so you can get more conversions and potentially better ROI.

Making search campaigns more effective
Here are some ways advertisers have successfully used remarketing lists for search ads:

  • Optimize bids. A tire reseller created one remarketing list for users who had been to their homepage and another for people who had searched for a particular tire model. Keywords and ads stayed the same, but they raised their bids a bit for previous homepage visitors, and they increased bids a lot for people who had searched on the site. Results: total sales up 22%, conversions up 163%.
  • Broaden keywords. A specialty tour company wanted to capture additional gift revenue around the holidays. While broad keywords like present and gift ordinarily would not be profitable, remarketing lists for search ads let them target those keywords only to people who had purchased gifts from the company the year before. Results: conversion rate +300%, comparable to brand terms, and a 30% increase in ROI.
  • Customize ad text. A telecom that provided TV, voice and internet services set up three remarketing lists to segment site visitors who expressed interest in each service category. The telecom then used remarketing lists for search ads to deliver messages to each segment that reflected users’ previous interests. Results: cost per order down 66%, large increase in overall search campaign ROI.

Sophisticated targeting made simple
Getting started with remarketing lists for search ads is easy. First, add the remarketing tag to your website. This site-wide tag, implemented once on your website, makes it easy to segment your site visitors into remarketing lists that you can use for search campaigns in AdWords as well as display campaigns on the Google Display Network.

If all you want to do is optimize your bids for different visitor segments — one of the most common use cases — use the bid adjustments feature in enhanced campaigns to bid up or down by a percentage for a particular group. You'll see performance reports for each list, making it easy for you to make ongoing adjustments over time and achieve your goals for different visitor segments.

Remarketing lists for search ads gives performance advertisers another powerful lever for maximizing the return on search campaigns. To learn more about remarketing lists for search ads, reference the Help Center article.

Note: Remarketing lists for search ads is not search retargeting or search remarketing. It does not provide access to or use information about users’ Google search histories, and cannot be used in connection with sensitive categories.