RLSA (remarketing lists for search ads) was first rolled out in beta by Google in 2012. It allowed advertisers to target search campaigns based on previous customer interactions. Interactions and even non-interactions can include clicks, conversions, cart abandoning or visiting specific landing pages.
RLSA was soon followed by customer match, allowing advertisers to load email lists into AdWords to leverage similar capabilities as RLSA. This type of targeting helps with bid adjustments, ad copy or even excluding ads from showing for specific groups of searchers.
What’s Happening With Remarketing
Remarketing via paid search has continued to escalate in importance since its launch. It has been reported recently that RLSA click share has tripled over the last three years. Expanded targeting across more campaigns by advertisers has contributed to its growth. Customer match adoption has also increased since it was rolled out to shopping in June 2016.
Google has expanded its max cookie window from 180 days to 540 days, thus allowing searchers to remain in audiences for a longer period of time. When creating an RLSA audience, it’s only back-filled for up to 30 days prior to creation but will continue to build over the duration of the look-back window.
Growth in Gmail users supports an escalation of the customer match program, which relies on Google’s ability to match email addresses to users. It was recently reported that there are 1.2 billion active Gmail users.
Why Remarketing Is Important
Increased adoption coupled with Google’s enhancements to each remarketing feature have generated a large click share, and both RLSA and customer match are now crucial to paid search account management.
These types of engaged audiences are high-value, given that their past interactions with the brand increase the likelihood of a conversion at a later date. Audiences are not necessarily a one-size-fits-all, though, and some conversions may happen regardless of whether or not there is a paid search ad served to specific customers.
What Advertisers Should Do
Results will vary by advertiser, but testing should be done in order to measure the incremental value of these audiences for your business. This testing can be done through ad copy and landing page adjustments, bid modifiers, or even shutting ads off completely to specific audiences to gauge the traffic and conversion losses—though there are some risks to that approach.
Also, measure audience performance against the brand’s KPIs to see if they align or are significantly higher or lower.
All About Incrementality
The paid search industry is still in the early phases of being able to precisely measure these types of tests. Given the increasing amount of click share from these audiences, it’s essential for advertisers to not only adopt but to also test and measure these audiences and the incremental impact they have on the business.
The more you understand these audiences, the more you’ll be able to maximize their potential to improve marketing KPIs. For more insights and to see how remarketing was leveraged to drive 4x more website traffic in a rebranding campaign, check out our case study, Remarketing + Video Result In 81% Lift In Branded Search.