8 Remarketing Audiences To Target With Google Ads

With all the infinite different ways to use Google Ads (Formerly AdWords), creating your own campaigns can be quite daunting--there are just SO MANY things you can do. The guides online can make this even worse by trying to explain every possible thing all at once. This can make it seem like if you aren’t doing everything, then you aren’t doing anything. This is far from the truth--even with a small budget and a relatively short amount of time, you can create an effective, cost-efficient Google Ads campaign.

The best way to do this is with Remarketing Campaigns. Check out our Retargeting Ads For Beginners article here.

Remarketing Campaigns allow you to target consumers further down the purchasing funnel than any other method of advertising. Knowing this gets you farther than most, but you still need to know who to market to. Many businesses get the right idea with retargeting, but only target simple audiences like “All Visitors” or “Returning Visitors”. With Google Analytics, there is a huge variety of remarketing audiences that you can target--and you should absolutely take advantage of the possibilities.

Things To Know:

    • Display Network Only: Remarketing is limited to display campaigns. You cannot specifically target search with remarketing. However, you can upload your remarketing audiences to search campaigns to track how well they do compared to others or even increase your search bid for people in a remarketing audience!
    • Every Business Is Different: Some audiences that may make sense for most businesses may not work for others. Make sure that you tailor the audiences you target to your business type.
    • GDN Limitations: Google Display Network requires an audience to have at least 100 individuals, so some audiences may not trigger. For smaller businesses, we recommend creating more broad audiences so that your ads get the chance to show. We also recommend running your remarketing in conjunction with a search campaign. The volume from search campaigns will help fill out your remarketing audiences so that they can run.
    • Quality Ads: The success of any display campaign, including remarketing, is contingent on quality ads and a good landing page experience. For image ads, make sure you create clear, quality images with attention-grabbing information. For responsive display ads, make sure your headlines and descriptions are well thought out and include similar attention-grabbing information.
    • Include Sales Promotions!: This is more of a tip, but we highly recommend including sales promotions and offers in your remarketing ads. You already know that these people are interested in your products and that extra 10-20% off may be all they need to pull the trigger.
    • Ad Fatigue: When people see the same ads over and over again, they can get annoyed. Make sure to provide google with a wide variety of ads so that users aren’t always seeing the same thing.
  • Session vs. User: Most conditions you add can be done Per Session or Per User. A user is a unique individual while a session is, quite literally, one session on a site. If a user exits out of the site and then re-enters it, it starts a new session--so a single user could have dozens of sessions on a site. This difference can be very important for audience conditions. For example, if you want to create an audience with a condition being that they have not converted, you would want to do Per User--otherwise the audience will include users who have converted in any of their sessions.
  • No Transactions: If your business sells a high-value good or service that does not tend to be a repeat purchase, you should consider including a “Transactions (per user) = 0” condition. If, for example, your good or service tends to be bought every 6 months, you could include a “Days Since Last Session ≥ 150-180 days” so that your ads will begin to show to that individual after that amount of time has passed. Alternatively, you could create a goal in Google Analytics of users who have converted in the last 180 days and then make a condition in the audience of users who have NOT completed that goal--but have completed a goal of a transaction in the last 210 days. Make sure you make the membership duration longer than these periods.
  • The More The Merrier: Even if you don’t plan on targeting them, it never hurts to create an audience. Doing so can offer unique insights into your customers and, like we mentioned earlier, you can upload these audiences to search campaigns to learn how members of that audience interact with your ads--and, if you think it would be worth it, retarget them down the road.
  • Audience-ception: With the Google Analytics audience creator, you can even include an audience you’ve created in another audience. So to be a part of the audience, the individual must satisfy all the conditions. This can make for some very specific targeting.

How To Create Custom Audiences

In order to create audiences, you will need to use the audience manager in either Google Analytics or Google Ads. The Google Analytics audience creator is far more comprehensive, so our how-to will focus on that one.

First, open up your Google Analytics that is linked to the Google Ads account you would like to create audiences for and click on “Admin” in the bottom left corner (You will need to have Admin access to create audiences in Google Analytics).

Next, in the middle column, click “Audience Definitions” then “Audiences”.

where to create google analytics audiences

Then select google ads new audience button

You are now in the Audience Creator--where all the magic happens. It’s easy to get overwhelmed but stick with us. You essentially have 3 choices here, as the others can be adjusted later. For most audiences, you’ll select “All Users”. Of course, as the names suggest, if you want to make an audience based on returning users or visitors of a specific page, then select those options (however, even these parameters can be added to an audience later).

To start adding conditions, click on the pencil icon.

where to create new audience

You now have a wide variety of choices with which to create your audiences:

  • Demographics: Here you can add parameters to an audience based on age, gender, location, or other options. Unless you know that a certain age group or gender has much higher conversion rates, we typically do not add any demographic-based conditions.
  • Technology: These options are likely the least useful. Unless your business specifically targets users of a certain OS or device, there is no reason to unnecessarily limit your audience.
  • Behavior: Now we’re starting to get into the good stuff. The behavior options allow you limit an audience by metrics related to how they interacted with your site (although these options are somewhat limited compared to the advanced options). Here you can add conditions such as “Transactions = 0” or “Session Duration ≥ 120 seconds”.
  • Date Of First Session: This one is pretty self-explanatory, and is typically only used for very specific audiences.
  • Traffic Sources: Here you can create an audience based on how the user navigated to your site. For example, you could create an audience based on users who navigated to your site from Linkedin or an email campaign.
  • Conditions: In “Conditions” you can find all of the above options as well as a plethora of other options. It is worth taking some time to check out all of the possibilities to see which may apply to your business. This is also where you can add specific goals or events to an audience, which you will need to create some of the below audiences.

Top 8 Remarketing Audiences

1: Shopping Cart Abandoners

If you had to choose just one audience to target with remarketing, it should be cart abandoners. Users who added items to a cart and failed to convert are by far the most likely to convert from ads--after all, they were just a few clicks away from converting. 

The rate of shopping cart abandonment across all industries is roughly 60-80%--that means ~¾ of all users who add an item to their cart do not go on to purchase that item. While the reasons for cart abandonment vary, research suggests that the most common reason is that additional costs (shipping, taxes, fees) were too high. 

So targeting cart abandoners with a promo code for 10-20% off may be all the difference they need to finally make that purchase.

As far as conversion rates go, if you have good ads and info, cart abandoners will be much higher than other outlets.

How To Create A Cart Abandonment Audience

To create a cart abandonment audience, you will need to add two conditions: “(Per User) Added To Cart ≥ 1” & “(Per User) Transactions = 0”.

The tough part of this audience is that you may need to manually create an event action for “Added To Cart”, which would likely need to be done by a web developer given the coding requirement. Depending on the software you use to create your website, this action may be automatically created. To find it, go to “Conditions” and type in “event”, then select “Event Action”.

creating an audience in google analytics audience manager

Next, click the empty box on the right. It will automatically populate all of your event actions. Select “Added to Cart”. If you don't see this option, the event action will need to be created.

You could choose to make this Per Session or Per User, depending on your goals.

Next, you’ll want to add the 0 transactions condition. To do this, go to “Behavior” and enter “0” into the box to the right of “Transactions”.

2: Engaged Users

Users who visit your site and stay for a while and/or visit several pages have demonstrated that they are interested in your brand, and likely your products. As such, an “Engaged User” audience may prove to be one of your most profitable audiences. 

Similar to some other audiences, engaged users have demonstrated that they trust your business enough to spend some of their precious time browsing your site.

How To Create An Engaged Users Audience

Depending on what you’re going for, “Engagement” could mean many different things. Here at Electriq, we typically include “Session Duration” and “Page Depth” conditions as well as a “ 0 Transactions” condition--depending on the business. These are quite easy to apply and will not require any coding.

Session Duration is simply how long the user spends on your site in any given session (unless you do per user, in which case it will aggregate the user’s sessions). 

Page Depth is just how many pages the user visited in any given session. 

You can find both of these under “Behavior”. We recommend making these both Per Session so the data is not skewed by users who visit frequently but don’t do much.

3: Product Page Viewers

If a user is looking at your products they have shown that they are, in some way, interested in your product. This means that they should be one of your top targets for remarketing. One of the main reasons these audiences can be so useful is that you can create an audience for every one of your products and tailor your ads to that specific audience. This means that you can show specific ads of a product to individuals who viewed that product! Pretty nifty if you ask me. 

Unlike some other audiences, this can give you unparalleled control over the ads that people will see; you may even find this to be one of your best performing audiences.

How To Create A Product Page Viewers Audience

To create a product page viewers audience, go to the audience creator in Google Analytics and select “Users who visited a specific section of my site (e.g. /index.html, shirts, /cart/)” from the audience definition list.

where to find in google analytics audience manager

You can also manually search “Page” under “Conditions”. In this way, you could combine product page views with something like “Returning Visitors” to create an audience of returning users who also viewed product pages.

Once you’ve done this, you can start adding audiences by typing in the URI of the specific pages you would like to add. According to Google, “The URI is the portion of a page's URL following the domain name; for example, the URI portion of www.example.com/contact.html is /contact.html.”

One thing you can do is add an OR function, so that you can create an audience that targets users who visited any of the pages you specify. To do this click on “OR” to the right of the URI you added.

Then simply add in any additional URIs you would like.

Your audience will now include anyone who visits ANY of the listed pages. You could also do an AND function to only include users who visit every page you specify.

4: Email List Members

If someone likes your brand enough to join a mail list, they are likely extremely interested in your products--and have probably already converted. This means they should be one of your top targets (unless your offering is not a repeat purchase, in which case you could add a “Transactions=0” condition).

While this can be a great audience to target, it is by far the hardest to set up, and is subject to several criteria to even be eligible. According to Google, to be eligible a business must have:

  • A good history of policy compliance.
  • A good payment history.
  • At least 90 days history in Google Ads.
  • More than USD 50,000 total lifetime spend. 

For most businesses, especially nascent ones, that $50,000 mark could take years to reach. 

Luckily for you, there is a way around this--although it won't be quite as effective as customer match. To do this, create a unique page that can only be reached via the emails. Then you could target visitors of this page like in the “Product Page Viewers” audience. The only drawback would be that it wouldn’t capture all members of your email list, just those who actually click on the links in the emails.

How To Create An Email List Audience

Creating an email list audience requires you to upload a customer match file and can be somewhat difficult to do. Here is Google’s guide to uploading customer match files.

5: Loyalty/Rewards Members

Similar to an email list, if an individual is a member of your rewards or loyalty program they are almost certainly a customer of yours. This is all the more reason to target them. You want your company on the top of their mind, so the next time they think of buying your type of product yours is the first one that comes to mind.

What you should do for this audience is create a dedicated landing page with special offers or at least some graphics that make them feel special. These are your most treasured customers, so you should absolutely go out of your way to make them feel this way.

How To Create An Loyalty/Reward Member Audience

Unfortunately, this audience will require you to meet the same requirements as the email list. However, you could create a unique member’s page. If you know that the only people visiting that page are members, you can be safe in knowing that targeting that URL will accurately create a members-based audience. We highly recommend doing this if you do have some sort of membership or rewards program as these people are likely your most valued customers.

6: Video/Media Viewers

This is an audience that, if you have the volume, you may want to just integrate into your engaged users audience with an OR function. However, sometimes it is best to split up the audiences, since doing so allows you to get more detailed insights and offer more specific ads. 

Just like some of the other engagement-based audiences, someone clicking on or viewing some sort of media or video on your site indicates that they trust your brand enough to engage with you on your site--and are very likely to buy.

How To Create A Video/Media Viewers Audience

Creating an audience based on users who interacted with a video or other form of media on your site can be a bit more difficult than some of the other audiences. It will require you to add an event tag to each piece of media you want to track--whether that is clicking play, pressing a button, or something else. You will likely need a web developer to do this--however, it will likely prove to be worth the effort.

7: Repeat Purchasers

If your business sells a good or service that tends to be purchased regularly, a repeat purchaser audience will be one of your best bets. Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that once they convert a consumer that they should stop advertising to them; in fact, the opposite is true. Once someone converts you should target them just as much, if not more, as you did before they converted.

You don’t want to take that small chance that a customer will try a competitor’s product and, in terms of cost, it is quite cheap per person to continue to advertise to them. Always take the safe route and include past/repeat purchasers--after all, they are some of your most valued customers.

How To Create A Repeat Purchasers Audience

Creating a repeat purchasers audience is very easy. All you need to do is create an audience of all users and add “(Per User) Transactions > 1”. The only real choices here are what qualifies as a repeat purchase and how long your membership duration should be. If you sell lots of very small products, you may set “>3 or 4” for your transactions, or make the membership duration just one month. These decisions should be made according to what sort of business you have.

8: Blog Readers

If your business is committed to its online presence, you almost certainly have a blog on your site. Blogs are great places to inform Google about your business and create/maintain organic traffic. It’s also a perfect place to engage your visitors and customers and further display your business as an expert in your field. So if someone spends time reading your blog, then they care about what you have to say and look to you for information. This means they could be an easy conversion.

You could even go further with this and create a more specific audience of engaged blog readers by adding a condition for those who like, share or comment on posts. 

How To Create A Blog Readers Audience

There are a few different ways you could go with this. First off, just like with the product page viewers audience, you’ll want to add the “Page” condition and add all of your blog posts with an OR function, so that anyone who visits any of your blog posts will be added to your audience. You may want to go further and add a Time On Page condition as well, to avoid those who accidentally click in. 

For businesses with a lot of volume and a robust blog, you could even create different audiences based on the topic of the blog post. This would allow you to offer those people more targeted ads based on what they read.

Honorable Mentions

  • All Visitors: When it comes to remarketing audiences, many businesses stop here (or maybe at our next audience). This isn’t the worst thing ever, it is still going to perform better than most other display campaigns, but compared to other remarketing audiences it is just far too broad. 
  • Returning Visitors: This is essentially just the next step up from “All Visitors”. It isn’t quite as broad, and will cut out those users who--for whatever reason--didn’t enjoy your site (and are therefore unlikely to convert). It's not a bad audience to have, and never hurts to create simply for insight purposes, but it doesn’t quite go as far as some more advanced audiences.
  • Visitors From Social: With most remarketing audiences, you are targeting those who, in one way or another, have shown some sort of interest in your business. This one is no different. The average person spends hours a day on social, so if they decide to follow your social accounts then they have shown that they are likely quite interested in your business. To create this audience, go to “Traffic Sources” in the Audience Manager and Change “Source” to “Social”.
  • Time-Delayed: This can be a very valuable audience, but only for certain types of businesses. If your business is subscription-based or sells a product that is repurchased after a specific period of time, you will want to create a time-delayed audience--or an audience that is only shown ads after a certain amount of time has passed. To do this, create an audience for those who have converted in what you want the lower bound of the time to be, and one for the upper bound. Then, create an audience that includes the upper bound but excludes the lower bound. For example, create one audience of those who have converted in the last 30 days and one of those who have in the last 60. Then create an audience that includes the 60 days but excludes the 30 days.

Now that you know a dozen remarketing audiences, it’s time to start targeting! Don’t be afraid to experiment and, as always, feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

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