Ultimate Guide to Remarketing with Google Display Network
February 27, 2015

Remarketing is a way to connect with your website visitors when they are not on your website and are browsing other websites. You actually connect with them by displaying them your ads that are relevant to them. This is an effective way to remind your visitors again and again about your brand/product who leave your website without completing your desire goal. For example you can target visitors who leave your ecommerce store without completing a purchase.

How Remarketing Works?

To start remarketing you first have to put a small JavaScript code on your website. When a user enters your website, the code places a cookie into his browsers so that when user leaves your site you can display your ad to them across the internet.

Remarketing List:

To start a remarketing campaign, first of all you need remarketing list. Remarketing list is basically a collection of cookies from people who have visited your website before. You can create remarketing list in Google Adwords by putting a JavaScript code (You can get a code and create remarketing list by going to Shared Library > Audiences in Adwords) on your website or you can use Google Analytics to create remarketing list. I would strongly recommend creating remarketing list using Google Analytics tag because it gives you great benefit of creating specific user behavior to target within you remarketing list.

Things you have to do before you can create remarketing list in Google Analytics:

After this go to Admin > Property > Remarketing > Audience and then click on new audience button.

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Now choose the Google Analytics view and sharing Adwords account id.

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Now define the condition of the people you want to include in your remarketing list. It already gives you recommended audiences but you can also create custom too.

Common examples of remarketing lists:

  • All website audience
  • Include or exclude Website users who spend more than 2 minutes on website.
  • Include or exclude Website users who didn’t complete website goal or transaction.
  • Include or exclude website users who are from USA or Canada

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Once you define the type of audience you want in your list after that you have to define membership duration. Membership duration is for how long you want your users to be in your remarketing list. It can be minimum 1 and maximum of 540 days.

Set your membership duration based on what you want to achieve. For example;

  • If you are an insurance company than go with 5 to 6 months membership duration. Because on avg. people take that much time to decide whether they want to go with an insurance company or not.
  • If you are an ecommerce store selling clothes than keep it less than 30 days or may be lesser.

You can use the time lag report in Google Analytics Multiple channel funnel section to see how long a user take to complete your desire goal.

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Give your remarketing list a name and save it. Now you will be able to see it within your audience section.

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In this way you can create lists as much as you want.

“You need to have at least 100 users’ cookies within your remarketing list to run ads on Google Display Network”

To see your remarketing list in Adwords go to Shared Library and then Audiences.

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Types of Remarketing:

  1. Standard Remarketing
  2. Dynamic Remarketing

Standard Remarketing:

Standard remarketing lets you serve your standard ads to your past users as they browse other websites across the Google Display Network.

Set Up Standard Remarketing Campaign:

Create a campaign by choosing campaign type “Google Display Network only” and choose All Features (Recommended) or either Remarketing.

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Now choose your targeting country, Language and Bidding strategy like CPC or CPM and others. Define your campaign budget and frequency capping if you want to. Through frequency capping you define how many times you want a single user to see your ad in a day.

Now in the next step you have to define you targeting criteria. For remarketing choose “Interests & Remarketing” select remarketing lists and choose the list you want to include to target your ads for.

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You can also combine your remarketing list with other targeting methods to further narrow your targeting.

  • Interest and Remarketing + Display Keywords:

This will show your ad to your website users only when the user will be on a webpage related to your display keywords.

  • Interest and Remarketing + Placements

This will show your ad to your website users only when the user will be on a website that is in your placements list.

  • Interest and Remarketing + Demographics

This will show your ad to your website users only when the user will be part of the demographic you have defined.

  • Interest and Remarketing + Topics

This will show your ad to your website users only when the user will be on a webpage related to the topics you have defined.

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Now in next step upload your ads and that’s it your remarketing campaign is ready to run on display network.

Dynamic Remarketing:

Dynamic remarketing lets you serve your ads to your past users based on the product/content they viewed on your website.

When a user land on your website and browse different products and leave without converting then you can follow up those users by displaying them the ads of the products they viewed on your website.


  • You run an ecommerce website of ladies fashion. A user visited your website and viewed ladies jeans and then leaves without converting. If you have dynamic remarketing set up then that user will start seeing the ads of the jeans he/she viewed on your website.
  • You run a hotel booking website. A user visited your website and viewed New York deluxe room package and leaves without converting. If you have dynamic remarketing set up then that user will start seeing the ads of the New York deluxe room package he/she viewed on your website.

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Types of Websites you can use Dynamic Remarketing on:

  • Education
  • Flights
  • Hotels and Rentals
  • Local Deals
  • Jobs
  • Real Estate
  • Retail (ECommerce)
  • Travel

How to Setup Dynamic Remarketing:

Setting up dynamic remarketing is a bit difficult and require programming knowledge or help of a developer. You have to add dynamic remarketing tag on your website with custom parameters to your website. You can get the detailed guide on setting up dynamic remarketing here.

To create a Dynamic Remarketing Campaign follows the following steps:

  • Click create a new campaign
  • Choose “Display Network Only”
  • Choose “Remarketing”

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  • Scroll down and check “Use Dynamic Ads”
  • Select “Business Type”
  • Click on “Setup Remarketing”

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  • Now a popup will come up to ask you to setup your feed. Enter in your email and then you will receive an email along with instructions of setting up feed.

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  • After Clicking Continue you will get your dynamic remarketing tag along with instructions on how to install that code. You can also send it to your webmaster directly.

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  • Click on Continue and Adwords will create default remarketing lists for your review to start your campaign with.

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Now return to your campaign and complete the setup process just the way you do for normal display campaigns.

Once you have feed and remarketing tag setup you will be able to successfully run your campaign. Choose your dynamic remarketing lists in Targeting and for ads click on “+AD” and choose Ad Gallery and then click on Dynamic Ads and create your dynamic ad as described in this guide.

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Tips to Run Successful Remarketing Campaigns:

Running remarketing campaigns is not enough you also need to make sure that your campaign generates results.

  • Always test different ads to see which one perform better and generate more conversions. Make sure that your ads match your website design and are brand focused so that it gets noticed by your users.
  • Test with frequency capping do not set it too high or too low based on assumptions always test and see what generate more conversions.
  • Make sure that you are not bidding too low because of which you are not reaching your audience. Always test different bid in order to generate better return on investment.
  • Make sure that you are not annoying your users with your remarketing ads. Always check Impression share report to see it’s not 100% if it’s 100% than it means that your user only see your ad on every website they visit within GDN. Use Frequency capping and bidding criteria to control your impression share.
  • Test with Membership duration. Don’t leave it to default 30, Increase or decrease it to test what works best.
  • Carefully monitor placements report and exclude all those that have too much impressions but no clicks or very low click through rate.
  • The most important thing to test is your Landing page. You should test different content, call to actions and other design changes on landing page to see which one perform better.

About author

Nouman Tariq

Nouman is Google Certified Digital Marketing Specialist. He is specialized in Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click Management (Google Adwords, Facebook, Bing and other Ads Networks), Google Analytics, Social Media Marketing, Conversion Rate Optimization, Display Advertising and Email Marketing.


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There are 6 comments

  • Saad Munir says:

    Very detailed post! People usually use term Remarketing and Retargeting simultaneously. What’s that!

    Also I was thinking if I can scare people out by giving them messages like “We know you want it, because you have seen it” or something like that which creeps the user. How to cater that out if you want to be very personalized with your user?

    • Nouman Tariq says:

      There is technically no difference between remarketing and retargeting.

      And if you want to personalized with your user than target your users based on the pages they see on your site and show them ad based on the product they were looking for. You can either use dynamic remarketing or creating different criteria lists to target different segment users with different personalized ads.

      Example of a Personalized Ad copies,

      “The Product you were looking for is now 50% off” Shop Now
      “Offer is ending tonight so hurry up!”

  • Great Post Nouman. I really enjoyed reading this post. Remarketing should be a must have part of your digital strategy because it is observed that 96% of people leave a website without buying anything, and 49% of people will visit 4 different niche websites before making a purchase so If we are ignoring Remarketing it means that we are leaving money on the table.

  • hafeez says:

    Dear Nouman
    Can we use Dynamic Remarketing in Pakistan?

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