Thinking outside the box

Think Outside the Box About RLSA & Boost Your Conversion Volume

When attempting to unlock the full potential of remarketing lists for search ads, the real question becomes have you truly considered your audiences intent?

RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads), it is a relatively new capability in Google search marketing that can; help make your ads more relevant, can deliver higher conversion rates, and lowers the cost per conversion.

It is only logical to assume that using RLSA for your AdWords paid campaign, for most industries, you will benefit from higher visibility in front of your targeted audience which is already known to increase overall conversions. Not sure? contact us and we can go over your campaign together to see if you can improve your conversions.

But if you are confident or the company managing your campaign is aware of this, just continue reading to make sure you are on same page with us.

Considering Your Audience Intent is the Key!

Remarketing campaigns are one of  the most utilized and desired campaign type for SEM advertisers. It plays an essential role in most existing AdWords account strategies today.

The downfall lies where many accounts don’t utilize RLSA audiences at all. In addition, these RLSA implementations that are existent simply layer RLSA audiences into existing ad groups with a boosted bid modifier.

This is an acceptable strategy however, it does not do the best job boosting conversion volume- you get a fraction of higher click-through rates (due to higher positions) on a fraction of your traffic that may have clicked even without the bid boost.

To reveal the true power of RLSA’s in the attempt to boost your conversion volume, it is recommended that you start thinking differently about what these particular audiences mean.

The Real Value Of Remarketing Audiences

The Google Display Network (GDN) is convinced that the remarketing campaigns that have been running for years has changed the idea of how we think about the value of a remarketing audience. Often times we recognize our GDN- targeted remarketing audiences like this:

“These people have been to my site, so they are considering what I have to offer. If I serve them my ad at the right time with the right offer, they are likely going to convert.”

“These people have abandoned a popular product in my shopping cart over the last two days. If I serve them my ad at the right time with the right offer, they are more than likely going to go ahead and convert.”

Being so used to thinking about GDN remarketing audiences in this way, we extend this thinking through to RLSA audiences, valuing the audiences for their higher likelihood of converting. Higher conversion rates mean we can bid higher therefore, we toss on a bid modifier.

However, because RLSA audiences exist in the realm of search queries, they carry important information about intent that can be more powerful than simply carrying a higher likelihood of a conversion.

RLSA & Intent

Though it is true that remarketing audiences have higher conversion rates, remarketing audiences are valuable in the search universe as well. Remarketing audiences allows you to  “know” things about a particular bucket of people and their intentions that you do not know about generic audiences.

Some examples include:

1. You have a travel site that exclusively sells cruise packages to the Caribbean. Jane visited your site last week. It is fair to assume that Jane is considering a cruise to the Caribbean.

2. Your site id B2B and sells restaurant supplies. David orders from you a few times a year. Jack must be a restaurant owner or some other kind of restaurant supply purchase manager.

Keywords are the indicators of intent, they make these inferences about intent matter. It is important to remember because these audience targets have the ability to replace portions of your keywords.

In your normal keyword search campaigns, you should carefully choose keywords that align specifically with what you offer. Through time and optimization you will have developed strict match typing and negative keywords to focus on the highly-specific queries with all of the right intent signals.

1. Normal keyword search will be “Jamaica cruises.” When Jane searches for just “cruise,” we can target her, knowing that she is considering a cruise to the Caribbean. When Jane searches for “USVI,” we can target her again, knowing that her interest in the islands is to visit them via cruise.

2. When David searches for “dinner plates,” we can afford to show up in position #1 because of what we already know about David.

What is exciting is that by advertising on “cruises” or “dinner plates,” you are showing up on completely new, high-volume auctions, expanding your SEM reach and driving big incremental conversion opportunities that aren’t covered by your “normal” campaigns.

Implementation and Set-up

When preparing these layered campaigns, make sure your ad group [flexible reach] setting is set to [Target and Bid] for interests and remarketing.

This is not the default setting, so you should proactively change this setting on the ad group level to make sure you are the only one appearing on queries made by previous site visitors.

There are a couple of ways to execute on this kind of layered search including RLSA intent strategy that will broaden your reach into new, valuable auctions.

Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) + RLSA

Dynamic Search campaigns allow Google to match queries to relevant content within your site. Without the RLSA layering, advertisers see mixed results from these campaigns; usually, complaints that the query matching is too loose.

When you are only reaching people who have been to your site through RLSA, Dynamic Search Ads are an extremely powerful tool to ensure you draw them back in, at scale, when they are searching for anything relevant to what you are offering.

TIP: You can start with just one ad group targeting all site content and layer an RLSA of all site visitors for the easiest and broadest reach. This will not only drive incremental conversion volume from a broad swath of highly targeted searchers but will also serve as a “discovery engine” for queries that returning users make in their path to purchase.

PLA (Shopping) & RLSA

RLSA functionality for PLA/Shopping campaigns was just broadly released approximately a month ago. Similar to Dynamic Search Ads, shopping campaigns match queries to on-site content that is relevant for example; products driven by a data feed.

When you layer an RLSA audience onto a Shopping campaign product group, you are able to skip the product grouping and negative keywords that you may decide to use in your regular shopping campaigns.

The RLSA serves as an intent signal, so you even see tangential queries queries or less popular products have the potential for great performance.

Broad Keywords & RLSA

Keyword-based approach

1. Clone your exact match campaign(s)

2. Change the match types to broad and layering on an RLSA audience of all site visitors

NOTE: Tangent queries are positive new opportunities to gain conversions.

Another way to discover broader keywords is simply within your Google Analytics site search data. For the restaurant example above, might as well be

With this in mind, Google can be used as an extension of your own site search to draw people back into the products and services you offer that they desire.

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