Introducing Remarketing


The blog was first posted on AIB Business blog – Visit it here  

We are getting closer to the summer holidays and you might have already spent a couple of hours surfing the web for that perfect holiday destination. If so, you may also have noticed that many of the online adverts you see on various websites seem to be around booking a cheap flight, hotel or holiday package — even after you have ceased your quest for that great deal to Spain. This “advertising” is remarketing and it’s based on your previous surfing behaviour on the websites you have visited.

Remarketing is becoming very popular in digital marketing as the initial setup is very straight forward. First off, let me try to explain the concept of remarketing and how the majority of businesses incorrectly use it.

The default remarketing rule they would use is: “Any visitor to our website will be added to a remarketing list.” This list is then used in display advertising e.g. through Google AdWords. The problem, of course, with this approach is that you will remarket to internal traffic (staff), existing customers who already bought a product and thus don’t need to buy again, and potential customers at the research stage of their purchase who don’t yet have a clear intent to buy.

To help you get the most out of your remarketing, I want to show you how the pros do it (or at least how they are supposed to do it).

The example fictitious company we use is our 5 star “Seditio Hotel”, which is looking to fill up the rooms for the tourist season.

Let’s create two remarketing rules for our setup around “Seditio Hotel”. It would be worth writing a couple of scenarios on a piece of paper to get your head around it for your business or website.

Our remarketing rules are:

Rule 1: All Audiences that visit our website but did not look at the booking pages will be placed in the “brand audience list”.

Rule 2: Audiences that visit our website, looked at our booking pages but did not visit the completed booking page will be placed in the “conversion drop-outs list”.

Now let’s apply these rules to Google AdWords. In your Google AdWords account, you can define your remarketing lists by going to the “Shared Library” on the left side of the navigation. Within the shared library, you need to select “Audiences”.

If your AdWords account is already configured for remarketing, skip to “Creating Remarketing Lists” section below.



Setting up Remarketing on Your Google AdWords Account

If you haven’t used remarketing before, you will need to:

  • Click “View” under “Audiences >> Remarket to people who visited your site before.”
  • Click “Set up remarketing” button” (do not select “Use dynamic ads”).

  • Under “Send tag instructions”, enter your email address and click on “Continue”.

  • Click “Return to audiences”.
  • Follow the set-up instructions that have been sent to your supplied email address.

Creating Remarketing Lists

You will see that within the audiences segment Google has created an “All visitors” remarketing list by default. We won’t be using that as we don’t want to harass our existing customers, internal staff and accidental visitors with untargeted advertising.

Instead we will create our own remarketing lists, around the rules we defined, by clicking the red “+Remarketing List” button.

The first list we will create is for our “Rule 1” called the Brand Audience list.


Now in the next part of the remarketing setup we need to tell AdWords who to add to the list — i.e.  all visitors to the website who did not visit any of the booking pages.

This is simply done by selecting “Visitors of a page” and adding a rule that this visitor can visit any page on the website except a page that contains “booking” in the URL or address.



We can then decide on the membership duration, which decides how long we should keep these users in our remarketing list. Add a short description and click “Save” — your first remarketing list is created.

Now let’s create our second list by following the above instructions again, but this time instead of “Visitors of a page” we will select “Visitors of a page who did not visit another page”.



You will see two fields you need to populate, and we have used the following example below:

Press “Save” and your two remarketing lists are now set up. The first list can be used to target branded ads with more reasons on why your hotel is the best in Ireland, Leinster, Galway etc. The second remarketing list can give the visitor a better offer to get them over the line and complete their booking.

In the upcoming AdWords articles in the Mastering Digital series we will take advantage of our remarketing lists to create targeted display advertising.

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