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  • Writer's pictureHristov PPC

Introduction to RLSA Campaigns in Google Ads

Introduction to RLSA Campaigns

RLSA is a powerful search campaign sub-type that has been available for all advertisers since 2013, but it's still underused. In this lesson, we will explain the benefits of RLSA campaigns and how they work to empower advertisers to utilize it to their advantage.

About RLSA Campaigns

Remarketing lists for search ads campaigns allow you to target previous website visitors through a search campaign. Advertisers are able to use custom remarketing audiences as an additional targeting method. There are two targeting methods available:

Although RLSA campaigns are a type of remarketing campaign, they are completely different from display remarketing. Display remarketing delivers ads to audience users as they browse the web. But, RLSA campaigns deliver ads to users as they actively search for your product or service.

Let's briefly review the characteristics and differences between both targeting methods.

User Intent:

RLSA campaigns target previous visitors at the moment they are actively searching for keywords you are bidding for.


RLSA delivers ads to users on Google's search network. Conversely, Display reaches users on the Display network.

Ad format

Display remarketing campaigns supports image, text and other ad formats while RLSA only supports ad text formats

Getting Started with RLSA

After briefly reviewing the available targeting methods for user audiences, we will help you identify which is the right one for you. In this lesson, we are going to explain how to create user audiences and other campaign features and requirements in order to help you make a decision on when to use them.

Creating or Importing a User Audience

In order to connect with previous website visitors through remarketing, such as an RLSA campaign, first, you must create or import a user audience list to your Google Ads account. Every site visitor that meets your audience requirements is added to your list and once you have 1000 users on it, you are ready to use this user audience for RLSA campaigns.

We provide you with two options to create user audiences for remarketing.

Install the Remarketing Tag on your Site


Use Google Analytics to Create & Import Audiences

Exploring Different User Audiences

Default audiences are generally created for all visitors over the last 30 days. In other words, any user that has visited any of the pages of the website over the last 30 days.

However, you are able to create custom audiences for your RLSA campaigns based on visited pages or user actions on the website. Advertisers are able to utilize several requirements for the audiences such as "include users that visited services and contact us page but haven't submitted any forms".

We recommend advertisers to explore and test different audiences. Several audiences can be added to the same campaign at the same time. Similarly, you can create several RLSA campaigns to effectively target different audiences. We will review a few examples in the next section.

Create Custom Audiences

Summary: Selecting the Correct Targeting Method

Let's review a short summary of the characteristics of both targeting methods to help you identify the best targeting method for your business goals.

Selecting Observation as Targeting Method

· Can be added to an active search campaign without limiting its reach.

· Quick & easy way of segmenting previous visitors from new users to get visibility.

· Custom bids can be used for user audiences based on their performance or campaign strategy.

Selecting Targeting as Targeting Method

· Only targets previous website visitors that are in the user audience list.

· It allows you to utilize a completely different strategy compared to traditional search campaigns to bring previous website visitors back to the site.

!! Audiences shouldn't be added under Targeting to existing search campaigns. Instead, the campaign strategy should be different compared to existing search campaigns. Advertisers that would like to target the same keywords as their search campaign can use Observation.

Excluding Audiences

In addition to creating custom audiences, you are also able to exclude them. Although this campaign type wouldn't be a RLSA campaign, we would like to mention this feature so advertisers know it is available. It can be used in campaigns meant to target new users, users that haven't been on the site for the last few months, or users without recent purchases such as brand campaigns.

Keyword Strategy

As reviewed in the previous section, RLSA campaigns using "Targeting" as a/the targeting method can have a completely different strategy compared to a traditional search campaign. This involves having a different keyword strategy. In this lesson, we will review different keyword approaches that can be used on RLSA campaigns

Broad Keyword Strategy

Advertisers generally avoid bidding on vague or generic keywords when creating traditional search campaigns as these keywords tend to generate a really low conversion volume and turn into an expensive and inefficient approach. However, the results of bidding on broad terms can be completely different for RLSA campaigns.

Previous website visitors that have seen your brand before and continue to actively search for your products or services are, potentially, a more qualified audience than someone who is new to your site. Therefore, advertisers have the opportunity of utilizing a broader keyword selection. Let's review an example.

Utilizing Broader Match Types

In addition to a broader keyword strategy, we also encourage advertisers to experiment with broader keyword match types than what they would normally use. Examples are broad match, partial broad match, and broad match modifier, even for short keywords of one or two words.

Advertise for Different Products

Additionally, we also recommend trying to advertise for products or services that you would normally not advertise for. This campaign can become a significant revenue stream when these products or services are relevant for returning visitors based on the pages they visited or actions on their site. Let's review an example.

In this lesson, we will discuss ad copy strategy and best practices to follow when creating RLSA campaigns that exclusively target user audiences.

It is All About Customization

Advertisers should customize their ad copy based on all available information such as the fact that the user is familiarized with your brand and they might have shown interest in a specific product, service or page of your website. The ad copy could be tailored to encourage second purchases, to incentivize undecided users to finally make the first purchase or contact your business.

We will review special features and best practices you can use to tailor your campaign ads to your targeted audience on the rest of this lesson.

Ad Copy Best Practices & Tips

- Include your brand or company name in the headline

- Test a catchy ad copy that makes reference to the way users first interacted with you or behaved on your site

- Explore new ad extension that you didn’t use on your regular search campaigns

- Consider include special offers or promotions

- Test Ad customizers

· Allow advertisers to include prices, countdown timers, user physical location, and additional information to your ad copy through the keyword insertion, countdown or IF function feature.

· Ad customizers can be added anywhere in your ad copy except for the final URL field. – Link

Bidding Strategy

Bidding for Audiences Under Observation

As previously discussed, adding an audience to an existing search campaign allows advertisers to monitor and compare the performance of previous website visitors to new website users. It will also allow you to increase or decrease your keywords' bid when they are triggered by a previous website visitor.

Advertisers can determine how much they are willing to increase their keyword bid through an adjustment after reviewing the user audience performance under "Audiences". Bids can be set at a campaign or ad group level to a maximum bid adjustment of 900%.

Bidding for an Audience Under Targeting

The use of bid adjustments for Audiences won't be necessary after creating a RLSA campaign that targets a single audience. The keyword-level bids will determine how you bid for previous users searching for these keywords.

Usually, advertisers will start with high bids as the campaign's conversion rate is also expected to be high. Nevertheless, the cost per click will not always be higher compared to standard campaigns. Therefore, we recommend advertisers to test multiple bids until the desired profitability is reached.

Bidding Strategies in RLSA Campaigns

RLSA campaigns using Targeting can take advantage of bidding strategies to maximize the number of conversions they get or their revenue. We recommend taking advantage of bidding strategies such as:

- Maximize conversions

- Target CPA

- Maximize conversion value

- Target ROAS

· Bidding for Multiple Audiences under Targeting

· Generally, advertisers will add only one audience per campaign using Targeting method. However, you can also set up one audience per ad group.

· Additionally, you can add multiple audiences at the campaign or ad group level. Similar to other targeting methods on Google Ads, you will be able to set up a default bid at the keyword level and perform bid adjustments under "Audiences" for all available audiences.

RLSA Creation 1

Existing Campaign

This applies to the first Goal of an RLSA Campaign. You want to maintain the same campaign structure while making bid adjustments at the ad group level for this audience of previous visitors.

ProTip: If you want to change the message of your ad copy based on the targeted audience at the ad group level, you can use a feature called Ad Customizers which allows you to insert a message if the user that is triggering the ad is part of an audience list.

RLSA Creation 2

New Campaign

This applies to the Second Goal of an RLSA Campaign which is setting up new ad groups targeting only previous visitors (Remarketing List) and those still actively searching for your keywords.

You can create ads that are tailored to returning visitors such as, offers for a second purchase, sales, and unique selling points that are new to them. An outdated message will not attract the same visitor. Change the targeting keywords from specific to broad.

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