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Setting Up Google Remarketing – A Basic Guide

Google remarketing a.k.a. retargeting is still a relatively new feature within Adwords with Google having released it back at the end of March 2010. But there are many ways in which retargeting can be utilised to remarket to the correct audience.

I get a lot of people coming to this blog looking searching for how to set up remarketing, so I’m going to walk you through a step by step guide on how to set up a fairly basic campaign.

So first off, what is Google Remarketing? Remarketing operates through Google Adwords, and more specifically through the Google Content Network. What you do in remarketing is create a piece of code to “tag” people who come to your site. Google is then able to use this tag to directly market your ads through the Google content networks all across the internet. The great benefit of remarketing is that it is

a) highly targeted, and

b) gains preference over any other advertising on these sites through the Google content network.

What this means is that you are providing a really efficient spend of you advertising dollar as the tagged consumer is already aware of your brand, so instead of needing to bring them in and make them aware of your products you can instead choose to do more offer related advertising. Google remarketing is also very effective at generating interest or for use as a reminder for some promotion.


Step One: Create Your Remarketing code

In Adwords (online not Adwords Editor) go to your home screen displaying all your campaigns. Then select on the Audiences tab just above the graph.

then in the section that opens below click on the Add New Audience button.

and then click on Remarketing Lists.

and then click on Create and manage lists.

which will bring you to this screen.

Click on the new audience drop down and select remarketing.

When you click on that it will take you to the new screen asking you to create a new remarketing list. Just fill out the remarketing list name and change around the membership duration depending on how long you want them tagged. Depending on how long your campaign is for and the buying lifecycle of your customers I generally suggest anywhere between 30 – 90 days, though I have done longer and shorter before. Once you have filled that out to your liking just click save.

Then with your new remarketing list click on the tag.

and copy the code that pops up.

Paste that code into a notepad document for easy storage and if you need to send it to anyone to insert into the page (Make sure you do it in notepad so that you don’t much up the formatting – any ANSCII based document will work though).


Step 2:  Insertion

Once that is done follow the Google remarketing insertion guide at: https://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=115794 and insert this code into any pages that you want to tag people from.


Step 3: Wait

Once the code is on and capturing traffic it then needs some time to build up the number of people it has tagged. In order for you to being a remarketing campaign your remarketing list needs to have tagged at least 500 people.


Step 4: Create the campaign

Set up an everyday display campaign. Once that is set up you are then going to change the audience within it so that it’s audience is the remarketing list. When creating this campaign I highly suggest using a number of banners as your creative as from my experience they have been much more effective in recapturing these people than text ads. Make sure you cover all the major size variations/resolutions to get maximum potential in your placements across the Google display network.

After that allocate your budget and bids and voila your campaign is ready to be set live!


I haven’t talked about any more advanced strategies or placements such as negative lists which allow you to stop remarketing to people once they have finished going through the conversion process. Because this is ¬†a bit more involved and complex I will leave that for another day in another post.

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