Strategies for RLSA Success

RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) has been available since mid-2013 and since then, we’ve developed a few practices that have worked well with this Google feature.


  1. Leverage Brand Loyalty – Launching a Brand RLSA campaign is a no-brainer. Mirror over the existing Brand campaign and bid higher for people who have visited anywhere on your site previously.  Even though a lot of your brand terms are likely already at position #1, bidding more in the RLSA campaign guarantees that more obscure or longer-tail terms will be at #1.  It also increases your edge over affiliates and trademark infringers.  The CTR and conversion rates in some of our Brand RLSA campaigns are over 2X their respective legacy campaigns.
  2. Push New Products – Try launching duo campaigns for a new product, one regular and one RLSA. This especially makes sense if the product’s purchase cycle is longer and requires multiple searches.  Target the RLSA campaign to visitors of the new product/category page.  The searcher will get cookied upon their first visit and picked up by the RLSA campaign for subsequent visits.  The RLSA ads can be changed to include different features or a more compelling CTA.
  3. Cross-Sell – Bid up for an audience that is more likely to be in the bottom of the funnel based on other complementary products that they have searched on or purchased. For example, create an accessories RLSA campaign that targets visitors or purchasers of the primary product.
  4. Maximize Niche Promotions – Tag any qualifying pages that put searchers into certain groups (students, military, small business). Then mirror a campaign and target those audiences using very specific ad copy and much broader keywords.  Customize the sitelinks and callout extensions towards that particular group as well.
  5. Squeeze More from DSA Campaigns – Launch an RLSA campaign mirror for a Google DSA (Dynamic Search Ads) campaign, targeting all previous visitors. A lot of revenue from our DSA campaigns comes from brand terms or broader, more generic keywords that are not covered in legacy campaigns.  This makes them perfect candidates for RLSA.  To increase efficiency, pause underperforming categories in the DSA RLSA campaign and let those search terms be picked back up by the DSA campaign.


  1. Volume, Volume, Volume – We have seen a lot more wins when we target a wide audience (all previous visitors) versus a specific, smaller audience. Unless your site gets a ton of traffic, the audience size + specificity of keywords can restrict the reach until an RLSA campaign becomes more of a hassle to manage than it is worth.
  2. Campaign Management – If you use third party software, you will have to mirror over campaigns to create RLSA ones in order to see conversions by audience. If you want to see conversions for more than one audience, you will have to mirror the campaigns multiple times.  This makes it difficult in terms of keeping things current – ad extensions, promotional ads, negative keywords etc.
  3. Straight Remarketing – We’ve had mixed success with launching mirrored RLSA for legacy campaigns and targeting non-converters from that same campaign. Sometimes it has been a volume issue, but often it has been a performance issue.  The client may not be price-competitive for that particular product or there may be some other valid reason that there was no initial conversion.

Hopefully, these tips will help you get started using RLSA in your AdWords campaigns.  Good luck!

Lindsay Walker About the author

Lindsay Walker is a Senior Search Strategist for Point It, and has been managing search accounts for ten years. She has a B.S in Math/Econ from UCLA and an MBA in Marketing from USF. Lindsay lives in the Bay Area with her two teenage sons and her basset hound Bubba. When not in front of a computer, she enjoys stand-up-paddle boarding, tennis and yoga.


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