Plug Your Leaky Conversion Faucet with RLSAs

Google Ads can be tricky to navigate. There are many types of ads and campaigns available to you. Your regular campaigns perform well, but they’re leaving conversions on the table. RLSAs offer a way to earn more conversions and more money.

What is an RLSA?

RLSA stands for Remarketing Lists for Search Ads. It’s a Google Ads feature that allows you to add remarketing lists to your search ads. Their purpose is to help you find people who have previously visited your site via the Search Network, which is something tradition remarketing doesn’t do.

What are the Benefits of RLSA Campaigns?

You know remarketing is vital to PPC, but the benefits of adding Remarketing Lists to your campaigns might be a bit more elusive. Why add more remarketing? Traditional remarketing reaches your website visitors on the Google Display Network. It’s interruptive marketing. RLSAs appear when someone is actively searching for what you sell, meaning it’s intent-driven.

The key benefits of RLSAs are:

  • Utilization of more intent-driven Search Network

  • Ability to bid more or less based on whether or not they’ve visited your site previously

  • Enable you to trial broad keywords to expand reach

  • Follow site visitors across networks to stay top of mind

  • No need to create multiple campaigns (which may be in danger of competing)

  • You can extend your net by bidding on terms you wouldn’t normally bid on

  • You’re able to personalize ads based on whether or not someone has visited your site before

Create RSLA Campaigns the Right Way

As with all ad campaigns, setup is crucial to its success. RLSAs are no different. It's easy to add an audience list to your Search campaign, but creating, segmenting, and strategizing takes a bit more thought and effort.

The Nuts and Bolts - Adding Your Lists

To start, make sure you already have Search campaigns running. Then, click “audiences” on the left sidebar.

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Now click the pencil icon. This is where you will add your audiences. Under “add to,” you can select to add the audience to an ad group or campaign. We recommend you add your list at the campaign level. Then you choose the campaign you’d like to add your list or lists to.

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This will produce two choices for you. You can either add your audiences as “targeting” or “observation.” If you elect to use “targeting,” it will use both your Search campaign settings and your chosen remarketing list to target users. Your target audience will need to match both targets, meaning your ads will only show to people whose search queries match your keywords AND are on your remarketing list.

The second option of “observation,” will allow you to add the list without affecting your Search campaign. “Observation” lets you bid on everyone who has used your search terms, but allows to see the data for people who have used your terms and visited your site. It enables you to bid more or less based on what part of your site they’ve visited as well as stats like click-through rate and conversion rate.

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We recommend adding your audience as “observation” so that you use them to expand your Search campaigns rather than limit them.

The last step is to choose the lists you would like to add to your campaign. Check the boxes of the lists you want to use and press save.

Add It to All Campaigns

Your initial instinct may be to add RLSA lists to some campaigns, rather than all of them. There’s no need. With your observation setting, they’re safe to add to every campaign that has this option available. That includes your Shopping campaigns! Doing so will give you more opportunities for experimentation and conversions. Just be sure to add them at the campaign level (rather than ad group level) for easy management.

When adding your lists, don’t stop at just one. We know it’s tempting to add your “All Visitors” list and call it a day. That should only be your starting place. To truly use RLSAs to their full potential, you should create multiple lists. Your lists should touch on every stage in the funnel, from visiting the home page to hovering over a submit button. For e-commerce, audiences could be segmented as homepage visitors, category page viewers, product page viewers, and added to cart. Then you can bid higher for each step down the funnel someone has gotten.

Create an RLSA “Head Terms” Campaign

You may or may not be targeting head terms now, but using an RLSA will put you on the track to more conversions. Use this campaign to target keywords that are broader than you would usually target. You’ll want to keep them somewhat relevant, but you’ll have much more leeway than you’d typically have. RLSAs are a fantastic way to try out these terms without running amuck. Your list will make sure there are intent and relevance behind them.

For example, if you sell supplements, you wouldn’t usually target a term as broad as health but in this setting you know they are interested in supplements, so there’s no need to worry. This method will also allow you to discover new terms you might not be bidding on.

Your “head terms” campaign should use the targeting setting. This will ensure that your list will keep the search terms matched with your broad keywords related to your product or service. When considering lists to use for this campaign, you need only add the “all visitors” list since the goal is to target people who have previously visited your site. It’s fine to add it at the campaign level since you won’t need to adjust it the way you will with the Search campaigns. These settings will help you to nab as many of those missed conversions as possible!

RLSA Tips for Success

Setting up your campaign is a simple process. Optimizing it for the best performance is a precision task. You might be tempted to set up these campaigns, and forget about them as we so often do with remarketing. However, they can produce so much more if you’re willing to experiment and analyze in the same way you do with Search or Display campaigns.  

Trial Several Audiences

The beauty of the “Observation” setting is that you’re not limited your audience. Because of this, you should add all of the audiences you’re interested in testing. You can compare results and bid adjust them to as needed. If you see an audience isn’t working, all you need to do is pause it. Adding multiple audiences increases the testing you can do without increasing the workload since you don’t have to build extra campaigns.

Don’t Leave Smart Bidding Campaigns Out

Smart bidding campaigns modify bids for you, but that doesn’t mean they’re a poor candidate for RLSA because of it. Instead, you should think about it like this: the campaign will adapt based on performance which is something you’d be doing on your own anyway. Keep in mind, leaving campaigns out of your RLSA testing will diminish your data.

Use Your Demographics

If you know your persona or if you have a Facebook page, use the demographic information in concert with your keywords and lists. Layering these targeting methods will give you a fine-tuned campaign based on what you already know about your audience. The benefit is low CPCs and higher engagement.

Low Budget Savior - RLSA Only

If you have a very limited budget, you might want to pause all of your Search campaigns and just go for RLSAs using the “targeting” setting. The strategy is to create engagement with lower cost campaigns like Display to build your lists and then convert the user with your RLSA campaign. This way you can keep your bids low and reach your audience while maintaining a lower CPA and cheaper CPCs. This is also a great idea if you struggle with your impression shares.

Safer Competitor Bidding

Let’s face it, some industries are extremely competitive, but it can be dangerous (and expensive) to bid on competitor terms. Besides, when you bid on your competitors’ searches, you don’t know if the searchers know anything about your or are interested in you. If you add your RLSA audiences to a competitor campaign, you can rest assured that the user is familiar with you and has visited your site. Using this method gives you the perfect way to convert people who are shopping around.

Tailor Your Copy

If you’ve set up your RLSA campaigns correctly, you’ll be using narrowly segmented lists. You should create ad copy that matches these lists. Speak to where the in the funnel the audience is and what they’ve been viewing. Don’t use generic ad copy. Use tools like dynamic keyword insertion to create customized, personal ad copy that pops.

Audiences are Crucial

As you can see, these campaigns are only as good as the lists they’re built on. If you currently have the two standard remarketing lists of all visitors and all converters, you’ll want to get a bit more creative than that.

Service type businesses and other businesses that rely primarily on lead gen will need a different set of audiences than an e-commerce business. For instance, an e-commerce business should have a cart abandoners list, product viewers, and website visitors. Companies that use their sites to produce leads might use time on site, visits to specific pages, or a hover over a particular button.

Expand Your Horizons and Plug Your Leaks

Now that you know a bit more about RLSAs, you should go ahead and give them a try. Your click-through rates and your conversion rates are likely to spike. You may find new keywords, and you can figure out who your most valuable audiences are. Make the most out of the Search Network, and don’t lose those valuable site visitors.