Google Remarketing

Also called retargeting, Google remarketing is the technology that enables your Google Ads to follow potential customers as they move across the internet. When a user visits, a small snippet of code on your website adds them to a remarketing list. Then when they visit another website that uses the Google Ad network, they are served your ad. Google allows you to customize who sees your remarketed ads. For example, you can prioritize new or returning customers.


Did you know that 97% of people who visit your site for the first time leave without buying anything? That’s because they need to feel like they know you first. Google remarketing ads help bring them back—and improve your bottom line.

What is remarketing?

Remarketing are ads or follow-up emails you get from a business after you check out their site but don’t make a purchase.

But not all of those people disappear because they're disinterested in what you have to offer. Maybe they’re taking time to think about it, aren't sure if want to spend the money, or ran out of time to shop.

Remarketing lets you reach out to these visitors, offer them a targeted incentive, and hopefully convert them into customers.

How does remarketing work?

When a person visits your site, they’re showing an interest in your product or service. Remarketing reminds them of what they already need or want. Here’s how it can build your brand’s visibility:

It lets you personalize incentives.

When you promote your brand or offerings, you can remarket to your prospects no matter how far along they’ve gotten.

If a shopper leaves before actually clicking through and reading anything, for example, you can recapture their curiosity with an ad that highlights a service you provide. If a potential customer puts an item in their cart but abandons it before checking out, you could send them a promo code or free shipping offer to make the item more affordable.

Remarketing is cost efficient.

When compared to traditional paid advertisements, Google remarketing ads cost much less to reach the same audience.

The Google Display Network is a popular platform for remarketing campaigns. When you place an ad there, a 2018 analysis shows that you pay approximately $2.28 to reach 1,000 viewers. When you buy pay-per-click ads on Google's search result pages, it costs $35.09 to reach the same number of people.

For remarketers, that saves more than $32 per 1,000 views.

And it drives results.

One survey found that about 75% of consumers noticed that they were being retargeted.

But more importantly, people respond to them. According to a personalized retargeting company, the average click-through rate for a Google search ad is 0.07%, while the average rate for retargeted ads is 0.7%. Not only that, users who click through are 70% more likely to convert and become customers.

How do you get started with Google remarketing?

To start using Google remarketing, you need to have a Google Ads account. You can also use Google AdWords, but the steps are slightly different. (Google AdWords remarketing is just the older version of the remarketing that now happens on Google Ads, the engine's new marketing tool.)

Google will assign you a tag to place on all of your site's pages. Once it's there, it’ll start collecting data about your visitors.

You can direct your Google remarketing tag to collect data on a particular user action, such as a mailing list signup or search for a particular product. You can then use this information to create lists for particular remarketing campaigns.

If you want to send free shipping offers to everyone who bounces out with items in their cart, for example, you can create an audience for that segment. You can then design an ad to highlight your offer, and Google will display it to the specified audience.

What are the advantages of remarketing through Google?

Google isn't the only company doing remarketing. Its closest competitor is Facebook, which runs its retargeting system similar to Google's. The tag on your website sends user information to Facebook, and visitors see your ads on their news feeds. Here are the perks of using Google:

Its reach is broader.

Facebook can work well for businesses that depend on social capital, but its uses as a remarketing tool are limited. If your users aren't on the platform, your ads won't reach their audience.

The Google Display Network includes more than 2 million websites all over the world and reaches 90% of internet users. In comparison, less than 27% of all internet users are on Facebook.

It’s more customizable.

With the Google Display Network, you're more able to customize your remarketing campaign. If your cart-abandoning shopper is interested in baby clothes, for example, you could place your ads on children's apparel websites or create an audience segment of parents who have small children.

In addition to demographic data, the network also lets you customize your ads based on:

  • Different devices
  • Mobile apps
  • Entire countries or certain geographical areas
  • Names of locations used in Google searches
  • Languages

These allow you to target your ads on multiple levels. For example, if the infant-clothing shopper is walking through a neighborhood where you have a brick-and-mortar store, you can have Google display your ad when they open up an app to check the weather.

You can track ad performance and refine customization with Google Analytics.

If you have Google Analytics, you can add tracking codes to your Google Ads campaign and see how your remarketing efforts are doing. If some are performing particularly well, you can invest more in those channels and save yourself money on the others.

Analytics can also help you customize your remarketing campaigns even further. You can go into your account to enable demographics and interest reports to find out what the people who respond to your ads have in common. You can also use this feature on your website, which doubles your opportunities for ad targeting.

As an example, say you enable Analytics on your site and find that many of the people who leave before making a purchase are under 30. You decide to post offers on sites targeting that demographic, and Analytics tells you that certain sites get better response rates. The next time you target that age bracket, you can focus on those sites and improve your return on investment.

You can also add a UTM, or Urchin Tracking Module, to your URL. A UTM is a code that allows you to track a particular campaign—and even particular content—within that campaign.

If you're remarketing to people who visited a product page, for instance, you set up a UTM code to see how many of those users respond to that campaign. You also want to track whether free shipping or a discount is more effective. Adding content UTMs to both offer types lets you see if free shipping gets more conversions.

You can customize your ad design.

Google lets you select your ads’ graphics and content, which allows you to maintain the integrity of your brand voice and image. This flexibility gives you more control over how your marketing campaigns look, both within individual ads and across whole campaigns.

The ad-building tool is user friendly.

Google's Display Ad Builder allows you to:

  • Choose the layout, color scheme, and content of your ads
  • Use your own pictures or choose free stock images
  • Create and update ads in a matter of minutes

Even if you're not a professional designer and don't have the budget to hire one, you can still create custom ads for all of your remarketing campaigns. That's particularly important if you send multiple messages to a single user and don’t want them to see multiple versions of the same ad.

It’s affordable.

Google tends to be more cost effective than other remarketing channels. For each individual sale that your campaign makes, you're spending less overall.

The median cost per click on the Google Display Network was $0.56 in the last quarter of 2018. That's the middle-of-the-road price whenever a viewer clicked on a paid remarketing ad. In contrast, the cost per click for standard Google Ads was $1.33 at the end of 2018. That's a $0.70 drop from the third quarter, but it's still $0.77 more expensive than a remarketing ad.

We see similar results if we consider an average instead of the median. If the average cost of a pay-per-click ad on a search engine results page is between $2 and $3, the remarketing ad costs between $0.25 and $0.60. Prices can vary between industries, with more competitive niches being more expensive.

Brand recognition is free.

Brand recall and recognition are hidden benefits of remarketing. When prospects see your ad, it reminds them of the products or services that they wanted to buy. Those viewers will then be more likely to think of your brand when they remember their need or want.

And because you only pay when a user clicks, that publicity costs you nothing.

Turn your website visitors into customers

Now that you know the basics of remarketing, you can start following up with people who visit your site but leave before buying anything.

Not only does remarketing offer better conversion rates than traditional pay-per-click advertising at a lower cost, Google Analytics can help you harness your data to develop effective marketing campaigns.

When the Google Display Network shows your remarketing ads on millions of sites across multiple countries, it can build brand awareness, bring customers back—and generate more revenue.

Take your business to the next level