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Harnessing The Power of Google’s Search Remarketing Toolkit

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What is RLSA?

Remarketing Lists for Search Advertising (RLSA) is not display remarketing, where image and banner ads follow you around. RLSA is probably better thought of a search remarketing.

Instead of showing banner ads to people who previously visited a website, it allows companies to show text ads alongside search results, but narrowing it down and showing them only to the people who previously visited their website and only when they are searching for those specific products and services. When use correctly, RLSA is a powerful tool for pulling in new business.[/vc_column_text][us_cta title=”Free Video Tutorial” target1=”_self” target2=”_self” color=”primary” btn_label=”Watch Now” btn_color=”primary” btn2_color=”primary” btn_link=”″ btn2_link=””]Our sister company, Ingenuity Digital, shows you how to harness the power of Google’s search remarketing toolkit.[/us_cta][vc_column_text]

An Introduction to RLSA

RLSA has been around for a while, since 2013 we’ve heard about the ability to remarket to users on the Search Network in addition to the Display Network and other channels (e.g. Social).

A quick search on Google Trends indicates the acronym has been used since early 2013 and continues to rise as a popular search query, interestingly ‘Search Remarketing’ has remained quite consistent showing that our love of Google acronyms shines on.


Remarketing as a tool is invaluable for digital marketers across the globe, the ability to engage with an existing list of users who have already visited and interacted with your website and brand leads to exciting conversations between clients and strategists but correct implementation, like many things is a skill.

We’re all used to seeing image adverts following us across the web, by now even those not ‘in the know’ are aware of how it works and yes, there are even those who find them annoying and dare I say it an invasion of privacy, I can’t think why. But negative connotations aside, they are effective.

RLSA works in a very similar way as display remarketing, the remarketing tag collects data in the same way, you create audience lists in the same way based on URLs visited, pages per session, source, referral, you name it, you can create a list for it.

In a similar vein you can use intelligent combinations e.g. Users who visit page X but not page Y are displayed with adverts about Z. However this time, we’re reaching back out to users on Google Search with text ads.

The Importance of RLSA

The underlying principle with RLSA is the ability to treat your core users differently than you would with standard search advertising. It gives you the ability to find the right people and tell the right story to them.

source: Google

Recent case studies carried out by Google have shown amazing results with correct implementation of RLSA.

Actual figures cannot be shared but approximate 400% CTR increases and 60% CPA decreases are achievable with the right strategy.

The Benefits Of Audience Segmentation

Have a look at your Analytics data and review New vs. Returning Users. What’s the difference? Logic would dictate that your Returning Users have a higher value, spend more time on your site and have higher CvRs.

So it makes absolutely sense that you care for your returning users in a similar fashion to new. Any digital marketing person worth their salt will know this as part of the core principles. Who better to spend a portion of your advertising budget on than those who are already familiar with you and your brand?

Perhaps you’ve identified that your best source of high value traffics is your Facebook traffic. Setup an audience with Google Analytics that segments this traffic and allows you to deliver different messages to them through AdWords remarketing while they’re surfing Google for topics related to you.


Source: Google Analytics

Perhaps you have a new product in stock that you know previous converters would want to be aware of. Maybe a linked product to your top selling SKU. Create an audience list of past converters over a specified length of time (try 180 days) and combine with an RLSA campaign to increase awareness and watch the conversions roll in.

Learning how to utilize your Analytics data effectively is a skill that will see you well on the way to becoming a successful digital marketer. Of course we can’t give away all our secrets but definitely look for more information.

Correct Bid Adjustments & How To Calculate

So how much should you value your audience lists over your standard advertising? What type of bid adjustment should you use and why?

Google have shared with us a very handy formula for working out exactly how much more you should be bidding on your audience lists for RLSA.


Take for example Analytics indicates your returning visitors have a conversion rate of 7% compared to 2% for your New Visitors. Using the above formula you can calculate what bid adjustment you should add to your audience lists.



So when building your campaign you add a +250% bid adjustment to the relevant audience list and if your original bid is £0.10 then you’re now bidding £0.35 against your returning users.

Remember as well the difference between Bid Only and Target & Bid.

Bid Only

  • Bid on this audience in conjunction with standard advertising. Use this option if you are wanting to add an audience list into an existing campaign.

Target & Bid

  • Target this audience only and treat as a separate entity altogether. Use this option if you are wanting to create an independent RLSA campaign.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]target-and-bid[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]bid-only[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Other points to consider for RLSA success

  • Use flexible bid strategies
  • Use RLSA in conjunction with Dynamic Search Adverts
  • Use negative -100% bid adjustments to exclude audiences from campaigns


RLSA is a tool that enables Digital Marketers to outperform expectations by fully utilizing and engaging with returning users. Using a combination of Strategy, Analysis and Calculations it is possible to achieve huge increases in CTR and CvR.

Our recommendation is to ensure your master user list is added to all Search campaigns with a +0% bid adjustment to allow clear analysis from day one. This will also enable Google to run ‘Skywalker’ reports across your campaigns.

RLSA should be an important part of your digital marketing strategy and without our strong understanding and implementation ability we would not be able to deliver the outstanding results that our clients have come to expect.[/vc_column_text][us_cta title=”Free Video Tutorial” target1=”_self” target2=”_self” color=”primary” btn_label=”Watch Now” btn_color=”primary” btn2_color=”primary” btn_link=”″ btn2_link=””]Our sister company, Ingenuity Digital, shows you how to harness the power of Google’s search remarketing toolkit.[/us_cta][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]