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4 RLSA Strategies to Drive Conversions

RLSA, or Remarketing Lists for Search Ads, can be our superpower in all things Remarketing and Search. Here’s why I believe this.


We get to show ads to users who have interacted with our Brand earlier and are still searching for related terms, which means they have a high likelihood of opting for our product or services. These are the low-hanging fruit that you can capture with the right messaging at the right time.


We have all remarketed to people on the GDN at some point in time, targeting customers who have interacted with our brand. The problem here is that there was no intent to purchase expressed by the user. This kind of advertising is useful, but its main objective is to maintain top-of-mind recall for our brand.


RLSA gives you the power to reach out to customers who know your brand and are searching for terms related to your products or services again.


Here are a few RLSA strategies that I use:


1. Keywords & Ad Messaging


When I started with RLSA, it was after thinking it wouldn't work. There is a core keyword A that I am targeting in my normal Search campaigns, and if a user searches for keyword A, my ad will show up regardless of whether the user knows my brand or not. So how does RLSA help?


Let me answer this is one word. It helps when optimizing your campaign.


Imagine this: even though Keyword A is a core keyword in your normal Search campaign, it doesn’t perform well. Your natural response while optimizing will be to reduce your bid, which means your ads won’t show up all the time. But if there is a user who has already interacted with your brand earlier, showing your ad to this user may actually help turn them into a converting customer. Which means you need to bid higher for keywords and visitors like this. RLSA lets you set different bids for users who have never visited your site vs previous site visitors.


Some core keywords may not perform well for you at all, and you may pause them, but if a user who is a previous visitor searches for this set of keywords, you may want them to see your ad. RLSA lets you target a different set of keywords toward people who have visited your page earlier.

You can target broader keywords more efficiently. For example – say you are selling grapes and have a limited budget for online marketing. The keywords that you want to definitely target are fresh grapes, green grapes etc. If you go a little broader and target category keywords like fresh fruits, it may become expensive since you will be competing with more fruit sellers online.


But what if you bid on "fresh fruits" only for people who have visited your site earlier or purchased from you previously? These users are more likely to convert for you so it makes sense target a broader keyword list only for these users.


You can use different messaging for these users as well. If they have converted on your site earlier, show them ads with discounted pricing, offers etc.


There are two settings that you should take care of:


  • Same campaigns vs replicating campaignsIf your previous visitors list size is small, it may be ok to set up RLSA within a current campaign. If you want to replicate the campaign for the RLSA targeting, be sure to negate your previous visitors list from the original campaign.
  • Bid Only vs Target and bidNormally, I would use Bid Only and use multipliers on the audience level. I use Target and Bid only when I want to target additional keywords for the RLSA list or I want to have different messaging. You can read more about these settings, and also see a practical example. 

2. RLSA layered DSA campaigns


We use DSA (Dynamic Search Ads) when we have large sites, and the keyword basket keeps increasing and it may be impossible for you to cover all the keywords.


You would generally end up using the important core keywords in your original campaigns. The keywords that get triggered by the DSA campaign may be very broad, generic themes. To restrict this, try allowing your DSA campaigns to show ads to only people who have interacted with your brand earlier. You can duplicate the DSA campaign to create a new RLSA+DSA campaign, targeting all previous visitors of your website/landing pages. This should help make your DSA campaigns more refined.

3. GA lists with RLSA 


You can now use Google Analytics lists on Remarketing Lists for Search by identifying and making separate lists for these users. For example, people who have spent more than 2 minutes on an important page on your site, people who have abandoned your shopping cart, etc. Using higher bids and different messaging can help attract these users back to your site.

4. Remove Registered Members from Search


This can be used for business who need people to login every day to use their services. Banks, for example. Bank users need to sign into their accounts very often, which means they will go to Google, search for the brand name, and click the first result that pops up so that they can sign in and use their accounts. But for marketing, these users are not going to be opening new accounts, and so we are wasting money by letting them click on our brand ads. However, for other users (non-members) searching for our brand term, you want to show your ads. So, simply create a list for people who have visited the pages after the login section (which would mean they are existing users) and exclude this list from your RLSA campaigns. This saved us a lot of money with multiple BFSI clients.


Also, another tip for marketers with BFSI clients: banks are a little picky about adding codes on the internal pages of a members section. You can implement the code on the log out page. This will probably be a non-secure page and you will be allowed to implement code here.


Please feel free to post any questions and I will try to answer them. If you have any other RLSA strategies you use, I am sure people would love to hear from you so please post them in the comments below!

about Shweta Shroff

I am the Director of Biddable Media, working with SMG Convonix - A complete Digital Marketing solutions company and one of the biggest agencies in India, since 2008. I have experience in working on a variety of platforms like AdWords, Bing AdCenter, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. along with experience in Usability Consulting and Analytics across various verticals like BFSI, Travel, ecommerce/Retail, etc for Lead/Revenue based campaigns as well as Branding.

Oxair O
June 2016

Very informative post about Remarketing. Please keep on posting like this.

ShroffS Top Contributor
June 2016

Thank you @Oxair O! Glad I could help. 


Shannon M
June 2016

Great post Shweta. You provided practical tips on how to implement RLSA strategies - same campaign vs. replicating campaign. I think I'll try one strategy at a time and then implement others as I see success Smiley Happy 


Again, thanks for sharing your knowledge with the community. We look forward to reading more post from you! 



ShroffS Top Contributor
June 2016

Thanks @Shannon M!

I am glad you liked the strategies! If you do try them out, please post the results here for the benefit of everyone else! Happy testing!




Himanshu P
August 2016

Thanks for the informative post :-)

ShroffS Top Contributor
August 2016

Thanks @Himanshu P! I am happy you found it useful!


Gustavo S

Very good tips. Thank you for your work

David M

Thanks so much for this information. It would be wonderful if you can share an example, you don´t 

need to say the brand, but at least for me it would be really helpfull now with a real example, some samples of keywords and the strategy. Thanks again!