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Stop Remarketing to Existing Customers

If I were to tell you to stop advertising to your existing customers then you might assume I’m crazy (or stupid). In certain circumstances I’d agree that this is a bold statement but there are certain situations where remarketing to existing customers can actually be damaging to an AdWords campaign.


Consider a monthly subscription service for example. Someone signs up, enjoys the service or product being provided but is constantly followed by the same remarketing ads which encouraged them to convert in the first place. Not only is this going to annoy the individual but it also opens up the opportunity for budget to be consumed which could otherwise be spent on potential customers that haven’t signed up yet instead. 


Let’s take another example. It’s unlikely that someone is going to repeatedly purchase a luxury item such as a television or car within a short space of time; yet they might be interested in looking for accessories for it which in turn can waste your budget (unless you do indeed sell accessories also).


The good news is that it’s possible to stop remarketing to these existing customers to help use your budget more efficiently and save their patience at the same time. Simply navigate to the Shared library within your AdWords account, click on Audiences and then +Remarketing List. Give this list a name that you can identify easily (“Converting customers” for example) and then assign a rule which will capture existing customers without blocking non-converting visitors; generally this can be achieved by targeting visitors of the conversion completion “thank you” page. In our first example of the monthly subscription service we can utilize the Membership duration field effectively so that we can automatically begin remarketing to that particular individual again around the time that they are due to renew their





With this list created it’s now just a case of navigating to the Display Network tab within your remarketing campaign, clicking on Interests & remarketing and then on +Exclusions located in the bottom left corner of this area. Here you can add the custom list so that it will prevent your ads from being shown to already converted customers! Just bear in mind that this strategy doesn’t suit every business model so it’s up to you to decide whether it’s required or not.

about Scott Dunroe

I have been managing AdWords accounts for over 8 years now at an international marketing agency level and also as a freelancer. I am very passionate about Google's PPC platform and pretty much anything else that is Google related. My theory in life is to learn something new every day and this community is definitely a good place to do so; I would recommend anyone reading this to stick around as it's an excellent source of information with great people contributing to it.

stickleback Top Contributor
August 2015

Great advice, Scotty.


I would add that developing a list of existing clients is a great thing, not only because you can exclude them from specific campaigns, but you can also run specific campaigns directed to them. Seasonal or special offers, for example, spring to mind.


If someone bought from me in April - I might like to suggest that they buy my product to give as a gift at Christmas - and I might even throw in a discount code just for them....


Once you start to get creative with remarketing lists, the possibilities are (almost) endless!

Justin F
August 2015

Thanks for the article Scotty.  I like your example of not say throwing away users who have already converted but offering them perihperal products or services, such as accessories in your television example.


Similarly,@sticklebackgood example of making campaigns for seasonal offers or special offers specifically for customers who have already converted in some way.


Remarketing isn't always as simple as: if converted, then exclude =)

Julia B

Is it possible to exclude the current customers and use the service if you have just started your google adwords? I mean those who have registered and started using my services before I've decided to set up a remarketing and ppc campaign? And is it possible either to sort out those users who have registered at my service but hasn't bought anything and show ads to them? Thank you in advance for your advice

Matthias M

Julia B, 


this is possible, if you have the mail addresses from the customers. Just create a custom audience and upload their e-mail addresses, then exclude this audience from your remarketing campaign!#


Be sure that you meet Google guidelines while collections these mail addresses.