Remarketing With Google Analytics: 5 Simple Recipes to Get You Started

In my last article I introduced AdWords Remarketing and how to set it up with Google Analytics. In this follow-up I want to share five of my favorite remarketing list setups for engaging with visitors and improving your conversion rates.

With each remarketing list “recipe” we look at why you may want to consider them, how to set them up, and how to tailor your creatives for them.

This last part is important as most advertisers make the mistake of serving generic creatives to the users who they are remarketing to. Since you can tailor what types of visitors fall into each remarketing list, you should also tailor your messsaging in order to fully maximize on your exposure to them.

1. Visitors who abandoned your conversion funnel.

Why remarket to these users? If your visitor starts to purchase your product or fill out your form, but then drops out, she is prime for retargeting. By starting the conversion process she has strongly signalled to you that she is interested in your product or service, but needs a little more convincing.

How to set it up: First, ensure that you have conversion funnels set up for your conversion events. Then for each of your goals, you would set up a list like so:


How to position your creatives: There are many approaches you can take here but the key is to remind the visitor about your product or service and to motivate her to complete her conversion. Some potential messaging:

● Advertise the product or service the consumer last looked at as a reminder.

● Offer a discount if she completes her purchase within the next 24 hours.

2. Visitors who abandoned at step X.

Why remarket to these users? This is adding one level of sophistication to our previous recipe. If, for example, you have a four-step checkout process, and you see people drop out at the payment stage, you know you have a stronger chance of converting them than someone who dropped out at the first step. You could then bid higher for these users and provide more compelling enticements.

How to set it up: Create a remarketing list that looks for site exits at the URL of your specified step.


How to position your creatives: Here are a few examples (but tailor these for your specific cases):

● If someone abandoned after viewing her cart, remind her that she has a filled cart that is ready to be checked out.

● If someone abandoned at the payment stage, remind her that she is only one step away from owning your product.

3. Visitors who searched for a specific product or service.

Why remarket to these users? Remarketing to users based on specific products or services they were interested in is more effective than exposing them to generic messaging. Looking at the items that they searched for on your site can give you a strong indication of what they are interested in.

How to set it up: First, ensure that you have set up your Google Analytics account to include site search reporting. Next, you would create a list like the one below for each of the search terms that you are interested in. In the below example we are using a regular expression to look for a series of search terms.


How to position your creatives:

● If someone searched for a product and you had no inventory at the time, advertise the availability of your product once you have new stock, or promote a related product.

● If someone searched for a product and exited the site, offer a special or discount if she purchased the product within the next 24 hours.

● Advertise complementary products (e.g., if someone searched for high heels, there is a high chance that she is also interested in fashion accessories).

4. Visitors who visited your “About Us” or “Contact Us” page but did not convert.

Why remarket to these users? There are many potential customers who may not be willing to convert online just yet. They could be wary of transacting online, don’t want to incur high delivery charges, could be less trusting of your brand, and so on. However, if they take the time to visit your “About Us” or “Contact Us” pages they are signalling interest in your business and/or may be searching for a physical location. This interest can be leveraged to try and improve your rate of offline conversions.

How to set it up:


How to position your creatives:

● Combine with location-based targeting and showcase your nearest branches or resellers in your creative.

● Advertise your store’s opening hours and call center numbers.

● Message how convenient online ordering and delivery is from your site.

● Offer a discount if they convert through your website.

5. Visitors who purchased a product or service.

Why remarket to these users? Why would you want to remarket to someone who already bought your product? Your most valuable customers are your repeat customers. If they’ve bought your product or service and are satisfied with it, they’re ripe for repeat purchases and upsells.

How to set it up: Here is an example of setting up a list based on the sale of a specific product.


How to position your creatives:

● Advertise the availability of complementary products. For example, if someone bought a smartphone from your site, you may want to advertise the availability of compatible Bluetooth headsets.

● If your product has a repeat purchase cycle (e.g., online groceries) you can remind your customers of your brand in the leadup to their repeat buy.

There’s More

These recipes are just the tip of the remarketing iceberg. I haven’t even touched leveraging custom variables, leveraging events, and combining lists. I’ll leave these as a research exercise for you.

Get started with creating your remarketing lists now. Even if you are not ready to embark on remarketing straightaway, you can start collecting lists of visitors in preparation for when you start.

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