AdWords is now Google Ads. Our new name reflects the full range of advertising options we offer across Search, Display, YouTube, and more. Learn more

4.4K members online now
4.4K members online now
Improve your Google Ads performance and boost your ROI, CTR, and Quality Score
Guide Me

Difference between remarketing lists and topics

Community Manager
# 1
Community Manager


I'm really confused about remarketing. For example what is the difference between:

- remarketing lists
- topics
- interests?

What is the best way to do remarketing. Should I JUST use keywords like I use in my normal Display Network campaign OR should I for example use remarketing lists + keywords or remarketing lists + topics.




This popular discussion was copied from the former Help Forum.



Top Contributor, Kim, replied:


Hi Pat,
Can we talk more about your remarketing strategy? What product(s)/services are you trying to remarket?

Also as for the Display Network and Remarketing - in a way you can think of them as two different things.  Yes, the remarketing ads will be shown on Display Network sites but only to people that showed enough interest to visit your site in the first place.  
I can understand if general Display Network advertising may have not worked for you i.e. content, interest, topic targeting.  The Display Network is not for everyone.  Now Remarketing, it is exciting, because the prospect has already shown interest.   So if you have already determined that Display Network in general is not for you disable it.  Then you dont waste any more money on it and dont muck up your remarketing audiences with the Display Network visitors, do you follow so far?
The strategy comes in with how you build your lists.  There are major advantages of segmenting your audiences to provide the best ad messaging possible.  If you offer multiple products/services consider building audience lists based on a product line, or a specific set of services.  Now when thinking about the strategy you also have to think of the following:  Analyze the amount of traffic you have on the site (100 cookies required for a list to go active) think about the average duration of your buying cycle so you can make a good decision on the duration of the tracking cookie.  Do you have the traffic to support a healthy list?   
Of course then based on the lists you create you need to think of the message you want to send and the landing page you select.  I would really consider trying the image ads.  I have had plenty of success with them.  Not only are they eye catching (if well done) but also help with easy recognition (people will see your ads everywhere) and helps build your brand name. I would try to create a set in each required image spec. - ref link:

Once you have traffic on a solid setup then you can start reviewing the stats and watch to see what DN sites are generating remarketing traffic by reviewing the data on your NETWORKS tab or running Reports from the Dimensions tab.

Whew! Questions welcome.

Re: Difference between remarketing lists and topics

Badged Google Partner
# 2
Badged Google Partner

Hi Mini -


I'm not going to fully get into remarketing, as it could take many, many words - and it would be confusing. I just want to set you straight in your original question. 


Think of Remarketing and Display Network as two completely different things. Display Network (GDN) uses keyword based targeting. So you can control which keywords and content triggers your ads. Remarketing is keywordless. No keywords are used or asigned. Instead, a cookie is placed on a visitor to your site. The cookie triggers your ad to show to that individual user.


To use remarketing you need to setup the code on your site. To setup the code, you have to go to the Audiences tab in your AdWords account. This is where things get tricky. I suggest you read up on the setup in help and other sites like PPC Hero pr Search Engine Journal. Google it and find an easy setup guide. The code will dop cookies and once you have enough visits,  then Google will allow you to show your remarketing ads to previous visitors, on websites that happen to be in the GDN.


Like I said, it can be confusing. Please read up on Remarketing a lot prior to launching a campaign. Good luck, and happy bidding!

Re: Difference between remarketing lists and topics

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Remarketing is to target people who have already visited you site


whereas normal display network advertising is for all the people on Google Display Network (GDN). In normal display network advertising the ads are triggered by keywords.


In remarketing, you dont need keywords (U can add them if you want to narrow your list)