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Google AdWords Remarketing Lists for Search Ads

Google AdWords remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA’s) are a really useful bid strategy for your Google AdWords Management which is often overlooked by advertisers but can actually give you really good results if used correctly.

What Are AdWords Remarketing Lists for Search Ads

Remarketing lists for search ads allow you to bid more and tailor your ad text for people who have previously visited your website as these people are more valuable users as they already have a relationship with your site. You would be much more willing to pay more per click for these people as the chance of converting them is much higher.

How To Set Up AdWords Remarketing Lists for Search Ads

To set up RLSA’s, you need:

  • A Remarketing list of over 1,000 active users
  • An active AdWords search or shopping campaign
  • Google Conversion Tracking (preferably)

As an example, if you had a campaign selling shoes and you know your red shoes ad group is performing really well, you could go into the ad group, click on the audiences tab, click the +remarketing tab, choose your audience, then set your bid at 40% more than your max CPC for that ad group.

You know that if you target your red shoes remarketing audience that people are much more likely to convert than a generic search for “Red Shoes”, this is why it can work so well.

RLSA Bidding Strategies

There are two bid strategies with RLSA’s:

  1. Bid Only: This is effectively where you want to bid more for your remarketing audience users, but you still want to match when your normal keywords match for generic searches (people who are not on any of your remarketing audiences).
  2. Target & Bid: This is where you have an ad group purely for people who have visited your website before and are on your selected remarketing audience. This option allows you to bid on more broad keywords as you know these people are more likely to convert. For example if someone has already been to your site on the term “adidas football boots” some advertisers may bid on terms like “boots” or “football boots” to this user as they already know who you are and are in your remarketing audience.

There is also an option to use the Target & Bid strategy to tailor your ads to a particular remarketing audience. For example if you set up a remarketing list for “past converters” and used this in an ad group you could then set up a promotion of an offer for previous buyers, you can then reflect this in your ad text. This works well here as it will not be of interest to first-time searchers but will be to your past converters remarketing audience.

Video: Google AdWords Search Remarketing

My recent Hangout On Air with Mark Tillison discussing strategies and techniques for AdWords Remarketing for Search.

Video Bookmarks

  1. 0m 0s A brief explanation of remarketing as a strategy
  2. 3m 01s  – AdWords Remarketing Lists for Search Ads explained
  3. 6m 02s  – two AdWords Search Remarketing strategies
  4. 9m 57s  – who should use Search Remarketing?
  5. 12m 27s  – where Search Remarketing fits in your online marketing mix
  6. 13m 53s  – how to set up AdWords Remarketing for Search Ads


Where possible, you should stick to the Bid Only strategy to run alongside your main ad groups. You are in total control here and are just bidding more on your selected remarketing audience. If you start adding in broader keywords to a selected list through Target & Bid, these people may be more likely to convert, but you also have a significant risk of wasting budget as this goes against your typical AdWords strategy of bidding on the most specific keywords possible.

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