October 28, 2022

How To Remarket More Effectively with Ecommerce RLSA Campaigns

The paid advertising landscape for ecommerce business owners has changed significantly in the last few years. Traditionally, you would measure your PPC success on Google by the number of visitors who clicked on your paid ad. However, the average ecommerce conversion rate around the globe is only 2.35%. Thus, PPC is not cost-effective.

This is where the concept of remarketing list for search ads (RLSA) comes in. RLSA allows you to target users who have already engaged with your site once. Then, your ad follows the customer when they search for your keywords again. The constant reminders eventually convince customers to convert—70% of retargeted customers actually purchase products!

Although it may take you some time and effort to optimize your remarketing campaign with RLSA, in the end, the higher conversion rates are indeed worth it. In this article, you’ll learn all about RLSA segmentation so you can implement RLSA campaigns within your own online business.

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What are Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)?

Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) is an advanced Google Ads feature that allows you to effectively target visitors who have engaged with your website in the past. You can customize your website’s Google Analytics to add certain visitors to remarketing lists. They will see custom ads from your website the next time they search on Google for a particular keyword you are bidding for. You can also configure your campaign to show your ads when they visit apps and websites on the Google Display Network(GDN) and YouTube. GDN has over 2 million websites, videos, and apps where your Google Ads can appear.

I have given a brief overview of how RLSA works below.

Setup Your RLSA Lists

You set up RLSA by adding Google analytics tags (or code snippets) on your website. The tags capture user behavior and add them to remarketing lists. For example, you may add visitors who checkout items to the buyers list and visitors who add items to a cart but quit to the interested_buyers list.

Create Custom Ads

Next, you create ad campaigns for each list. For example, for the buyers list, you can show an ad message that says - “5% discount on next purchase”. For interested_buyers, you display a message that says, “Do you need more information?” You can also show the same ad to both groups. You can also set up different ad budgets and target keywords for each list.

Visitors See Ads

Once your ad campaign runs, Google will monitor and automatically add your site visitors to each list. So next time they type your target keywords, your ads will show up first!

RLSA Example

For example, I clicked on a Target ad, went to the Target website, and added a toy to my cart. I then abandoned the cart. The Target website must have added me to its remarketing list. When I searched for toys again on Google, the toy I had chosen showed up on top of the ad results.

RLSA Example

What Are the Benefits of RLSA?

Remarketing lists for search ads let you increase conversion rates, save on ad costs, and raise your overall return on investment by targeting specific users already familiar with your business. Some other benefits include:

Improve Advertising Performance

Customizing ad campaigns to user behavior makes them more effective. For example, you could thank visitors who downloaded a lead magnet or highlight products they left behind.

RLSA - Improve Advertising Performance

You could also re-target broad keywords without increasing ad spending. For example, a keyword like toys for kids is very expensive and generic. However, you can safely use it for re-targeting. Google will only show your ads to people who:

  1. Visited your site before
  2. Search for kids' toys again

Thus, the double filter only shows ads to a tiny percentage of people who are most likely to buy from you. It doesn't waste your marketing budget at all!

Target Market Demographics

You can use RLSAs to track your visitors over multiple website visits. This helps you identify keywords that your audiences prefer. For instance, consider a first-time visitor who searched for lounge cushions and visited your site but left. They then searched for sofa cushions, your site showed up as RLSA, and they made a purchase. This hints that sofa cushions might be a better keyword for your product. You can create specific remarketing lists and analyze them for keyword performance. E-commerce Keywords Analytics is another helpful keyword planner tool to discover the best keywords for your products.

Reduce the Cost of Bringing New Customers

Bringing first-time visitors through Google PPC campaigns can be very expensive due to the competition. Instead, you can spend more on other channels like Facebook or Instagram to bring new audiences. Google will automatically add them to remarketing lists and track them for the next two years! Your Google spend will optimize for genuinely interested customers instead of everyone doing a Google search. Long lost customers might even come back to buy again!

How to Create Remarketing Lists

You can create your remarketing lists in Google Analytics by

  • Choosing from preconfigured audience definitions
  • Importing a segment or existing data list
  • Creating a new audience definition

If you are new to RLSA, we recommend you start with smart lists to achieve positive results quickly. A Smart List is a Remarketing Audience that Analytics automatically generates for you using machine learning technology. It analyzes your website visitor behavior and selects only those most likely to convert.

When you are ready to define your own remarketing lists, look at the suggestions below!

Top 4 Ideas for Your Remarketing Lists

You can customize your remarketing lists in a multitude of ways. We suggest filtering on:

Page View Remarketing Lists

You can set up RLSA to target customers who visit specific pages like Home Page, Contact, and FAQs. You can also create lists by the number of times they visit a particular page. Another good idea is to retarget specific product listing pages for products you can offer a discount on.

Site Engagement Remarketing Lists

RLSA configuration includes custom events and triggers. You can set up lists to target users who perform specific actions beyond looking at the page. For example, button click, post click, watch a video, browse photos, or send a chat message. These visitors are typically more qualified because they have engaged more than simply loading your website page on their browser.

Time-Based Remarketing Lists

RLSA lets you track visitors for nearly two years, but is that really worth it? For most ecommerce businesses, old visitors beyond 2-3 months become irrelevant. Consider setting up a time funnel to avoid wasting money on old leads. For example, configure remarketing lists for page visits in the last seven days, 14 days, last month, and so on. Then, you can target them with different messages or increase the budget for newer audiences.

External Channel Remarketing Lists

You don't have to wait for first-time website visits to add someone to your list. You can also leverage customer data from other channels, like Amazon or eBay. Just export your customer data from Amazon and import it to your remarketing lists on Google. You can also take data from other social media channels. Tools like Audience Intelligence help you discover in-depth customer segmentation and cultural insights from social media traffic.

When Can You Use Remarketing Lists for Search Ads?

You cannot start remarketing on a brand-new website. Google requires that your remarketing list have at least 1,000 cookies to protect list members' privacy. This means you need traffic levels of 1000+ unique visitors weekly for effective RLSA. You will need to monitor remarketing lists in Google Analytics to check if you have reached the required threshold. You can always import external data, but you also need a minimum of 1000 unique customers on the external list.

Some tips for funneling new visitors to your site:

  • Run Facebook ads with Learn more button.
  • Run Instagram campaigns.
  • Publish informational blogs and videos that rank organically.
  • Build your brand on external channels like Amazon to get the contact details of 1000 customers.


Remarketing list for search ads (RLSA) is a Google Analytics tool to reach visitors who have already engaged with your site. You can configure Google Analytics to create remarketing lists based on website visitor behavior. You also have the option to import data from external sources into Analytics. Once lists are set up and populated with a minimum of 1000 unique visitors, Google retargets them for you. You can create custom ad campaigns and target keywords unique to each remarketing list. When list members search the target keyword, Google shows them their unique ad on top of search results. The chances of them clicking and purchasing the ad product are very high. Thus you can get the most out of your marketing campaign on a low ad budget! You can also use various remarketing lists to make your ad campaigns more effective.

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Read more:

Along with RLSA campaigns, you can use several other ad strategies to grow your ecommerce business. Another popular ad campaign that we recommend is PPC ads for Amazon. Read more to discover what are Amazon PPC ads and how you can optimize them!