How To Optimise Your Google Ads Remarketing Campaign

PPC can be scary, especially for small businesses who don’t have a huge budget. Quite frankly – it should be! PPC can suck up all of your money if not configured correctly so it’s best to approach it with caution. However, remarketing is fairly simple and pretty cheap. The idea of this post is to run you through some basic optimisation tips for your remarketing campaign to make it work as best as possible.

What is remarketing?

A PPC Remarketing campaign shows ads to people who have previously visited your website. For example, if someone visited your site a week ago, you could then show banners around the web on other websites to usher people back to your website to get in touch/buy.

1. Lists

The most common approach for a remarketing campaign is to show ads to all visitors that have been to your website.  If you offer more that one service/product, it might be best to split your lists up so that you can have specific messaging to increase the chances of visitors converting. For example, if you are selling boys shoes and girls shoes, you wouldn’t want to show ads about boys shoes to the visitors that were interested in buying girls shoes. Google Ads allows you to create multiple lists so that you can specify to only show specific adverts to people who have visited specific pages.

Another tip for remarketing lists is to exclude people who have already converted/enquired, so it’s worth working out how to do that for your own website. The most obvious one is if your contact form sends a user to a ‘Thank you’ page, exclude anyone who has visited that page.

2. Mobile Apps

Mobile apps can be a huge pain because most people are too busy trying to do something else, the ads appear very small which is useless and they get in the way causing many accidental clicks. So in my opinion, it’s probably best to turn them off.

There used to be a really simple way to exclude mobile apps from a display campaign. Then for a short period, Google removed all options, forcing you to show them on mobile apps. This resulted in costs spiking and many people turning off their remarketing campaigns.

The new way to disable mobile apps is to head to ‘Placements’ within your remarketing campaign. You then want to head to ‘exclusions’. You then need to click on ‘App Categories’ and select every single one. This can take a few minutes as there are over 140 different categories, but it’s certainly worth the few minutes of time if you care about not wasting money.


3. Website Topics

Website topics in Google Ads allow you to exclude certain types of sites in bulk without having to list every single one. If you head over to the ‘Display Network’ tab in Google Ads and then click the ‘Topics’ sub-tab, you should find the site category option at the bottom of the page. Depending on your industry, you may wish to keep some topics as enabled.

4. Placements

The placements tab in Google Ads allows you to see what sites your ads have been showing on. For on-going maintenance, I recommend that you review the placements list to see if your ads are showing on any spammy websites or one’s you don’t want to display ads on.

The most common ones are things like crossword helpers and stopwatch websites that people tend to use throughout the day but probably not the best time to be targeting them with ads.

5. Frequency Cap 

I would also recommend you thinking about setting a frequency cap as visitors can get frustrated when they start to see your ad on every single website they visit. In the settings for your display campaign, it will allow you to set a limit of how many times an ad can be shown a day/week/month per ad/ad-group/campaign. I tend to say about 5 impressions a day per ad group, but again it depends on your preferences.

Ryan Scollon

I'm a freelance PPC Consultant & Google Partner, providing affordable search marketing services to businesses and agencies across the UK. I have over 7 years of digital marketing experience, working on 200+ projects and have been featured on the likes of Search Engine Land, WordStream, SEMrush, Moz & The Independent.