As we build our remarketing lists, so we develop audiences to whom we can present our ads as they later surf their favorite pages.

We have previously referred to these ads as "the ads that follow you around" - we are all familiar with them, and they walk the thin line between welcome and stalking - often failing to stay on the right side of a searcher's sensibilities.

The advantage of remarketing campaigns is that we know that these people have previously visited our site - presumably they have an interest in our product or service. And if we have segmented our lists then we can target our campaigns effectively.

But there a couple of factors that take away from the effectiveness of remarketing.

The first is the lean forward/lean back factor. There is a big difference in terms of the mind set of a person who is actively searching on Google (lean forward) and the person seeing an ad on the sidebar of their news portal (lean back). The former is looking for you. The latter has to be interrupted.


Then there is the fact that a person who has visited your site previously may initiate a brand new search and not find you a second time.

With RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) advertisers can now have the best of both worlds in this optimal digital space.

So how does it work?

Simply put - RLSA allows us to target people who have previously visited our site if they initiate a new search that contains our selected keywords.

For example, let's say we have a site that sells domestic appliances. Someone visits our site and looks at washing machines. As a result that are added to our remarketing list for washing machines and our remarketing ads kick in. As they visit other sites they start to see our ads - this is how remarketing works.

However, a few days later they decide to go back to this project-  after all, buying a washing machine is not a decision that they might make in a single visit - they prefer to shop around and do their research. So they run another search. Our general remarketing ads cannot appear in these results, so our competitors suddenly get another chance to reach this prospect.

However, through RLSA we are able to present our ad in the search results again - and we can adjust our bids accordingly.

Let's consider this for a moment - what do we know about this person?

1. We know that they are in the market for a new washing machine - they've searched for this twice now in the past few days.

2. We know that they still haven't made a decision or purchased - otherwise why would they still be searching?

These two pieces of information make this prospect more attractive than, say, a new visitor with a general search. They are certainly further down the sales funnel.

Given a choice, we would likely be prepared to pay more for a click from this person - and RLSA allows us to bid harder and in a more targeted way than general search.

We are also able to relax our keywords much more. For example, whilst "washing machine" might be an obvious keyword, we might also bid on "Bosch". This kind of a bid in a regular search camapign would likely bring us a mass of irrelevant traffic - but it might be much more focused with our RLSA audience - after all, we are making the assumption that they are still interested in buying a washing machine - and if they search for Bosch, we can send then directly to our page of Bosch washing machines.

Rather than simply adding RLSA to an existing search campaign the recommendation is to set up a specific campaign for this traffic. The two principal reasons are the flexibility of bidding that we can permit ourselves, and the range of broader keywords we can use.

So how do we set this up?

Start with a new search campaign and set your basic options such as the budget and bids (remember - we might want to bid a little harder for these visitors). Then set up the ads and the keywords. Again, remember that we can afford to be much broader with the keywords - the pre-selection is happening at the audience level.

Then select the Audiences tab and click to add a remarketing list.

Select the list and be sure to select Target and Bid - in this way this campaign will only be visible to people on the list.

And that's it! These ads will now appear to people who have previously visited your site if they initiate a new search for your keywords.