A good thing got even better last month when remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) gained the ability to use audience lists created in Google Analytics. RLSA and Google Analytics are both valuable in their own right, and now you can use them together to get the right messages in front of the right people.
When the news broke, Search Engine Land‘s Ginny Marvin did a great job of covering some caveats that you should keep in mind. In case you want to save a click, here’s what you should know:
- Age, gender and interest targeting aren’t available.
- Things like language, location, operating system, browser and device category are similarly unavailable (although campaign settings in AdWords can handle a lot of this for you).
- You’ll need audiences with at least 1,000 cookies prior to using them for targeting (just like normal AdWords RLSA).
- Remember to enable this feature in the “Data Collection” section of your property’s settings. After that, your existing eligible audiences will start accumulating search users.
Even though you can’t reach users based on demographic information, you’ll have limitless potential when it comes to reaching them based on their behavior on your site. I think that’s the far more important mechanism anyway, so it’s no big deal that demo info isn’t available. After all, as was said in Batman Begins, it’s not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you.
Also, a quick note: We’re going to talk about some detailed lists in this post, but if you’re new to RLSA, you could start with one simple, big audience list to get a sense of the full reach your account would be capable of.
While I imagine most of you already have great sets of audience lists in Google Analytics, there are also a wealth of audiences out there in the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery. If you’re as excited as I am about this new feature, then you might be similarly excited about the cool things that some other people have put together. If any of these strike your fancy, it’s a really straightforward process to import them into your account and start taking full advantage.
(I’d also like to thank my colleague Dan Stone for putting together all of these wonderful packs for download. They’re incredibly helpful.)
This is a great sets of lists for when you’re putting your audiences together for the first time. It focuses on user engagement with your site — specifically recency, frequency, visit duration and page depth. These lists become truly powerful when you combine them. For example, you can create a group of returning visitors who have visited more than five pages of your site.
Those sound like interested visitors, right? How valuable might someone like that be? And what type of messaging could you deploy for that group of users now that you know they’re probably well-acquainted with what you offer? Now, you can find all of that out by creating great lists in Analytics and using them to power RLSA ad groups and campaigns.
This set of lists identifies customers who have spent money with you over the last 30 days. Based on either dollar amount or frequency of purchases, you can understand the behavior of your users and see who’s spending money and how frequently. You can combine the lists here with other engagement-focused lists to create audiences like “purchasers who haven’t visited in three weeks.” Tailor your lists to get a lot more specific when trying to reach past converters.
By combining purchase behavior with recency, visit or page depth across those visits, you can create some great audiences. When you know someone’s behavior, you can write more enticing creative and set more appropriate bids. Even if you know that your repeat purchase cycle is longer than 30 days, you can still generate insights from these lists for things like cross-selling or upselling different products.
Depending on the traffic volume your site experiences, it may be an uphill battle to create a large enough list of users who made a purchase in the last 30 days. If you have enough transactions, you can get a whole lot of value out of those lists. Fret not if you don’t have enough transactions, though. There are a bunch of ways to import transactions and other CRM data into Google Analytics to solve any data sparsity issues you encounter — things like custom dimensions and measurement protocol.
How exactly someone found your site reveals powerful insight into what aspects of your company they might find most appealing. This set of eight lists groups visitors based on which channel they came from (direct, organic search, paid search, referral, social, display, remarketing, other).
What’s so exciting here is that you can do smart things with this information across different channels and even teams within your company. Search can score a lot of brownie points by helping out other teams like display or social when they’re running a campaign.
If you have a big social push one week, your social team can let you know ahead of time so you start building the right audiences — something like social visitors that spent more than 20 minutes on your site. Then, during and even after the social push, you can use RLSA in search to close the loop on any of those new users who didn’t convert on the first go-round. You can direct that traffic to the pages on your site that connect with the social push that initially drew them to you. It’s a great opportunity for you, your users and especially other teams you work with internally.
Remember that RLSA lists won’t back-populate to fill in previous users who meet your criteria (which is the same as RLSA with an AdWords tag). If you’re going to create audiences like this, be sure to start your lists before the other channel starts a promotion.
Combining For Great Insight
The real power of a great audience list is revealed when you layer different audience lists together. User engagement is one thing, but when you combine that with channels, you have a lot more to work with. All of this has long been available in Google Analytics, but now that you have the ability to take advantage of those lists in search ads, your performance has a lot more potential.
One more thing: Remember that you can also use all of these great lists in combination with your typical AdWords settings. For example, in your RLSA ad groups and campaigns, take steps to turn time spent on-site into time spent in the store. Use things like location bid modifiers alongside your audience lists to reach users who have shown interest in your brand and also happen to be near a location of yours. Adjust your location bid adjustments to go after site visitors who could transition to store visitors.
If you’re convinced that now is the time to use RLSA to the fullest, the blog post I linked to at the start of this post (and which I’ll link to again here because I’m a helpful guy) contains all of the relevant steps you need to follow to use Google Analytics lists in AdWords.
I imagine most of you have been on the RLSA train for a while, though, so you should head over to the Solutions Gallery to download the above lists and start mixing and matching to create the perfect lists for your accounts.
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