How to Use Google Remarketing to Reach the Right Customers

How to Use Google Remarketing to Reach the Right Customers

Google remarketing is a great way to expand your customer base past what you can do using other more traditional methods like direct mail or email marketing. If your online advertising efforts are not bringing in the type of sales you think they should be, Google remarketing could be the key to raising your marketing ROI. While remarketing takes advantage of technology, its effectiveness also relies on your input. In this article, you’ll learn all about what Google remarketing can do for you, and what you will need to do in order to set it up and get it to work effectively for your business. 

What is Google Remarketing?

Google remarketing is a way to target users based on their interactions with your website or app. Based on data collected using a Google Ads tag, you can show ads to specific audiences on Google search platforms and apps, as well as on websites and apps in the Google Display Network. A successful Google remarketing strategy involves fine-tuning the specifics of each element of the campaign to maximize your advertising reach. This way, you will use your advertising budget more efficiently, target the appropriate demographics with appropriate ads, bring more potential customers to your website, and ultimately increase sales.

How Does Google Remarketing Work?

Google remarketing works using a pixel in a user’s browser. The pixel creates a cookie that stores data related to the user’s visits to your business’ website. The pixel you use for Google remarketing is called a Google Ads tag. It’s a small piece of HTML code that can either be manually entered into your website’s code or connected to your website if you use an integrated platform.

The data you collect through this process is used to target specific users with ads based on their behavior on your website. They will see your ads on Google platforms, such as YouTube, Gmail, Google search engine results pages (SERP), and Google Shopping searches. Additionally, you can choose to show your ads in the Google Display Network, or GDN. The Google Display Network includes a vast array of websites otherwise unaffiliated with Google. Using Google remarketing with the Google Display Network is a great way to expand your business’ reach to customers in specific demographics because you can show ads on websites catering to specific age groups or niche interests. This way, you can bring in more customers and ultimately make more sales or expand your brand awareness. 

How to Set up Google Remarketing Ads

The first thing you’ll need to do is understand the technical aspects of setting up and maintaining Google remarketing ads. Then, you can strategize the various audiences you are attempting to reach with your campaign. Keep in mind that these audiences and ads can be adjusted along the way, so make sure to observe how well each campaign is working. By fine-tuning the process, your Google Dynamic Display ads will be even more effective than they were when you began. We’ll explain the Google remarketing process in more detail below. 

1. Set Goals for Your Google Remarketing Campaign

Before you do anything technical, make sure you set goals for what you would like to accomplish with the remarketing campaign you’re about to run. There are several ways that Google remarketing can help you bring in more customers. You might want to target customers who visited your website or purchased something from your shop. Otherwise, you might want to target people who visited your website several times and didn’t buy anything, or put items into their carts then left your website also known as abandoned cart. 

You’ll also want to keep in mind the type of content you’re planning on showing to these audiences. Are you going to remind people of a product they already looked at, or are you going to show them a new product you’re promoting in your ads? These are all things that you should establish before moving on with your Google remarketing campaign. If you aren’t sure which demographics to target, just choose one — you’ll be able to analyze and assess the results, and make changes later.

2. Create a Google Ads Tag and Generate an Audience List

Google Ads allows you to create audiences for your display ads based on several different factors: affinity (users’ habits and interests), demographics (things like age and gender), life events (college graduation, pregnancy, new homeowners, etc.), recent purchases (based on people who have purchased from you or who have made similar purchases to your products), and remarketing. To run a remarketing campaign, you’ll want to create a remarketing audience based on people who have visited your website or app and interacted with it in a particular way.

Similar to the Facebook retargeting pixel, you’ll use the Google Ads tag to create a remarketing audience based on website visitors. From the Google Ads Manager, you can select whether you want your tag to collect data based on visitors to your website or app in general, or visitors who show certain behaviors. The latter method is called “Dynamic Remarketing” and allows you to target the most specific audiences possible and serve them the most relevant ads.

You can customize your tag with the following criteria, according to Google:

  • Visitors of a page
  • Visitors of a page who did not visit another page
  • Visitors of a page who also visited another page
  • Visitors of a page during specific dates
  • Visitors of a page with a specific tag
  • All users of an app
  • People who did/didn’t use an app recently
  • People using specific versions of an app
  • People who took specific actions within an app

After you add the tag to your website, you’ll automatically begin collecting data, or cookies, from visitors. Google Ads will compile audience lists based on this data, and you’ll be able to see them from your Google Ads Manager dashboard. Make sure your audience lists have at least 100 active users (within 30 days), otherwise you won’t be able to use them for your remarketing campaign. If a list contains fewer than 100 website or app visitors, you should remove or adjust some of the criteria to expand it.

3. Choose Your Campaign Type

When running a Google ad campaign, you have two options for where you want your ads to appear. You can decide whether you want your ads to appear on the Google Display Network (GDN) or the Search Network.

  • Google Display Network (GDN) enables you to reach people who will see your ads appear on over 2 million websites, apps, and videos in the Google Display Network based on the demographics you choose to target.
  • Google Search Network is a way to reach customers who search for your business on Google. As opposed to display ads, search ads allow you to target people with a link to your website on the Google search engine results page they see when they Google you or a similar type of business.

The process for setting up each type of ad campaign is different. Setting up Google Search Network ads is a straightforward process of entering your website, the information you want to show up in your ad, the search keywords you want to target, and your budget, which is based on how many people click on the search ad. 

Google Display Network campaigns are a bit more complex, however, they can be super effective remarketing campaigns. The setup process is a bit more complicated, however, it could be worth it for your business in the long haul if you want to reach new customers who aren’t necessarily seeking you out using a search engine. In the following steps, we’ll go over how to run a Google remarketing campaign using the Google Display Network. 

Google Display Network ad example

4. Create a Display Campaign

Go to and click on the blue “Start now” button. Then, you can follow the steps to create a new ad campaign using the Google Display Network. The first thing you’ll be prompted to choose is the location of the users who should see your ads. You can select “Advertise near an address” or “Advertise in specific zip codes, cities, or regions” to customize where your ads will be displayed. After you make your selection, click the blue “Next” button.

Choose a location

Next, you’ll be asked to set a budget for your campaign. Select one of the options, or create your own budget. Each option shows an estimate of the daily and monthly costs, so you can decide which one fits in your budget. Keep in mind that the cost of the ads will change based on how many people click on them, so make sure to leave some wiggle room in case you go over your budget for the campaign.

select a budget

After setting your budget, you will have a chance to review all of the information about your business that Google will use for your display campaign, including your campaign name and goal, business name and website, ad text, location, keyword themes, and budget. Click the blue “Next” button after confirming this information. On the next page, you can enter your payment information and confirm your purchase. Now you can apply your Google Ads tag to the campaign and begin remarketing.

5. Analyze the Results

You’ve created your Google Ads tag and generated lists of users who visited your website or app, then run a remarketing campaign using Google Display Network to show ads to the audiences you created. Hopefully, you’ve already seen some results. The next step is to analyze how well the lists are working and make adjustments to the parameters you set. Remember the goal you set at the beginning of this process. If the campaign isn’t working to bring in new customers or returning customers, you should adjust the criteria for your audience lists. It’s also possible to integrate Google Analytics with Google Ads to get more insight into how well your campaigns are working. Remember that you can’t simply set and forget a remarketing campaign — it’s important to keep adjusting it to ensure you get the best ROI.

Google Remarketing Lists for Search Ads

The process for using Google audience lists for remarketing using search ads is pretty much the same as the process for using the Google Display Network, but with a further specification based on keywords that users use to search on google. Choose an audience list and decide which keywords you want to target. Then, you can “bid” on those keywords so your ad has a better chance of showing up when users on your remarketing audience list search for those keywords. You can also target users using different ads based on whether or not they are on one of your lists, or target different keywords for different audiences. 

Google Search Ad example

Google Shopping Remarketing

Google Shopping remarketing works the same way as Search Ads, however, instead of targeting customers who are using Google’s primary search engine, your targeted ads will reach users on Google Shopping. This could be an effective strategy for retargeting potential customers who abandoned their carts or have looked at a certain product on your website or app multiple times. You could show them an ad for the product they might have been considering purchasing when they’re browsing Google Shopping. You specify the keywords that you would like to bid on for each audience list based on the product, and then the people on those specific lists will see your targeted ads when they search using your specified keywords on Google Shopping.


There are so many ways to market your products on Google, far beyond targeting people based on the keywords they search. With the Google Display Network, you have the option of remarketing your products to customers across the web and in apps as well. With so many ways to target different audiences on different Google platforms, using Google retargeting is really a no-brainer. Hopefully, this article gave you a bit of insight into the process and maybe inspired you to create your first remarketing campaign using Google.