Stop Stalking the World: 3 Tips for Optimized Remarketing

3 Tips for Optimized Remarketing

Most marketers know that remarketing—delivering ads/content to people who have already shown interest in a product, company, or vertical—is extraordinarily effective. A study by Advantage Media of one brand’s basic remarketing efforts found the tactic boosted ad performance by 85% to 100%.

However, what is often overlooked is that remarketing campaigns can be even more impactful with a few little tweaks.
The root of the problem for many brands is that they structure their remarketing campaigns too broadly; for example, by going after every previous website visitor. By simply adding some additional criteria and targeting specific audiences, marketers can significantly boost ad recall and engagement.

Specifically, the three strategies below are quick ways to make your remarketing spend much more effective. The examples we use are from Google’s network, but the tactics can be applied across other advertising platforms as well.

1. Create multiple remarketing lists

The most basic mistake brands make is to retarget ads to a single “All Visitor” list of everyone who has clicked on their website. While this is still much better than not retargeting at all, it is far too broad for most businesses.

By creating additional remarketing lists you open up a world of much more effective options; for example, you can target people who have looked at specific product page on your website, searched for a particular term, or arrived from a certain referral source.

To create specific remarketing lists in AdWords, you simply need to add “rules” such as the one below, which creates a list for visitors to a certain page who arrived by searching for a keyword. To get started, check out this tutorial from Google.

Optimized Remarketing instructions

2. Exclude mobile apps and certain categories from remarketing placements

Mobile apps are great, but they’re not always great for remarketing display ad campaigns. Unfortunately users still often click on ads in apps inadvertently, driving up costs and damaging campaign performance.

To avoid spending on accidental clicks, you can exclude mobile apps from your remarketing display campaigns.

Similarly, you may not want your retargeted ads to appear on all types of third-party content, since some categories are probably irrelevant. So, narrow down your site category options to help to prevent remarketed ads from showing up in content that is completely off topic.

In AdWords, you can both exclude mobile apps and limit content categories for display ads in the same place: Display Ads -> +Targeting -> Campaign exclusions (Google has step-by-step instructions here).

Optimized retargeting In AdWords

3. Utilize “similar audiences” targeting to expand your remarketing lists

Finally, it’s important to remember that optimizing the performance of remarketing campaigns isn’t just about narrowing your targeting options; it’s also about expanding your efforts to other relevant audiences.

If you want to go beyond reaching out to people who’ve already engaged with your brand you can target ads to “similar audiences.” Basically this means that you’re adding people who have similar browsing behavior to individuals on your remarketing list. As Google puts it:

“AdWords looks at browsing activity on Display Network sites over the last 30 days, and uses this, along with our contextual engine, to understand the shared interests and characteristics of the people in your remarketing list.”

To add similar audiences to your AdWords display campaign, navigate to Campaigns -> + Targeting -> Select display ad group -> and select “Similar audiences” from the dropdown. For the full process, check out this tutorial from Google.

A key thing to keep in mind is that these three strategies aren’t exclusive of each other. In fact, they work best with each other. By creating multiple lists you’ll better target your ads, by excluding apps and categories you’ll cut out irrelevant audiences , and by using similar audiences, you’ll expand your reach. All this combined should boost engagement with audiences likely to purchase and make your spend much more impactful.

Stay connected to the latest strategies for optimizing your remarketing campaigns. Contact MDG today at 561-338-7797 or visit

MDG is a full-service advertising agency and one of Florida’s top branding firms. With offices in Boca Raton and New York City, MDG’s core capabilities include branding, logo design, print advertising, digital marketing, mobile advertising, email marketing, media planning and buying, radio and TV advertising, outdoor advertising, newspaper, video marketing, website design and development, remarketing campaigns, content marketing, social media marketing, and SEO. To discover the latest trends in advertising and branding, contact MDG today at 561-338-7797.