Remarketing 2012: Bigger, Better, Faster, More

Elaborating further on Lauren’s excellent blog post about the changes that have come to Google AdWords’ Remarketing feature, I would like to take the time to explain the possibilities that have arisen for marketers a bit more.

Along with Google AdWords and Analytics becoming more intertwined – for instance, if your, you can now use basic metrics such as bounce rate and pages per visit with your automated campaign rules – Google has recently made a number of significant changes to the way Remarketing campaigns are set up and managed. This has also dramatically increased the functionality of this advertising method.

As mentioned by Lauren in her post, you no longer need to create a code for every Remarketing list you would like to work with. If you use Google Analytics, you can now simply modify your tracking script on all pages of your site in order to be able to distribute the so-called “DoubleClick cookie”. This process is described here:

Google suggests you also update your privacy policy if you decide to use this feature.

With this done, you can now set up and specify all kinds of Remarketing lists directly from Google Analytics. You can find this feature under the “Admin” tab. It will no longer be necessary to create individual codes for every audience you would like to remarket to, making life much easier for your IT department, web developer or client.

A few clarifications up-front:

  • Old audience lists cannot be converted to this rule-based method.
  • You can use old lists and new lists together, and even combine them in custom combinations.
  • There is no need to replace the old lists, but it can make life easier in the long run.
  • After you have created a list, you still need to wait for it to distribute at least 100 cookies before ads will start showing for this list.
  • Once you have saved a list in Analytics, it will automatically be imported into AdWords.

There are now four general types of Remarketing lists you can create. You can remarket to all visitors of your site, specify just a page or section (e.g., or your shopping cart), remarket to visitors who have converted on one of your Analytics goals, or you can build a list with the help of Analytics visitor segments. Especially the option to use goals to make your Remarketing even more targeted is very powerful. If you choose to set up a list via visitor segments, you can either work with the “Dimension & Metric Filter” or the “Sequence Filter”. ‘It sounds complicated at first, but I you have a little bit of experience with Google Analytics it shouldn’t take you long to understand. A dimension list could be “all organic visitors that have spent more than $100”, for example. The “Sequence Filter” lets you even use storylines in your advertising. You can remarket to users who came to your site via an E-Mail newsletter first, and then on a later stage visited your site via a specific search campaign. The possibilities are nearly limitless!

It is also very useful that Analytics will now calculate the number of users your lists would have at this point in time on the fly. As mentioned above, note that in any case you will still need to accumulate users after the list has been set up. However, this can give you a great idea if the audience you have in mind will be large enough for you to make crafting an individual campaign for them worthwile.