We're huge fans of the clever AdWords releases that flow out of Google on a regular
basis and they sure didn't disappoint on this one. We all know about the remarketing audiences available for the display network, but have you noticed of late (oh for about a year or so now) that there are two columns for the audience count? That's right, there is now a count of people in any given audience who are available for targeting in the search network! But how does that work you may ask? Well let me tell ya....
But first, what is the difference between the search count and the display count after all? Well it was explained to me by a Google rep, that should someone be signed into their Google account, while they came to your site, they are available for remarketing in the display network, but not the search network. I was told at the time, that it was due to privacy concerns....... rrrrrrrrright. Regardless, it's still a tool that can be used in powerful ways even if you can't use it on all of your visitors. There are two ways in which we have been successfully using this feature for our clients to 'push' ads to higher positions in the search network with the remarketing lists. We'll have a step by step guide at the end of this post, so you can get started too.
The first and easiest way is to simply apply a Bid Only modifier to your existing search campaigns. This option allows anyone to search on your keywords, but when someone who is in the selected audience searches, your bid is higher. Basically you cross reference your search ad groups with remarketing lists and set a bid adjustment per list. For instance, when someone who has been to my site, but didn't purchase in the last X days searches on one of my ads, I set the bid to increase by 25% for that person. The idea being that the familiarity with my site should improve the conversion rate, so therefore I can normally spend more per click on those folks. And we know that a higher bid usually means a higher position, and more volume.
We also append the buyers audience to our groups as well, because as any good catalog marketer will tell you, one of the best indicators of purchasing behavior is recency. A recent buyer is very likely to purchase again. For this year, we may apply a 50% increase to people in this audience, to be more certain our ads are in a higher position when this person searches on our product keywords. Of course you can apply the opposite principal if you have an audience that you know is less likely to purchase at all, or a specific group of items based on website behavior, and use a negative bid adjustment.
Target and Bid
The second, and really more incremental method we employ is using these audiences to bid on very short tail keywords that wouldn't otherwise work. As I stated earlier, when someone is already familiar with you, they are more likely to purchase. That means, those 'valentines gifts for him' keywords that only work for the big names, now are suddenly in the playing for you as well. We like to keep these campaigns separate from the others though since they are not simply bid modifiers, but rather targeting campaigns. And that is exactly the audience targeting option that is selected for this process: Target and Bid. Create your new search campaign as you normally would with your short tail keywords, ads, etc. And then apply your remarketing lists to each ad group. This time, since you selected Target and Bid, you don't have to set a modifier because your regular CPC bid is what runs the show. That is because your ads will show ONLY to those who are in the audience AND search on your terms.
How it's Done
Navigate to desired search campaign and ad group
Select the 'Audiences' tab
Select the 'Add Targeting' drop down
Select the 'Interests and Remarketing'
Move your desired lists from the left box to right by clicking the arrow corresponding with your list
Select 'Bid Only' or 'Target and Bid' based on your objective
Select 'Save' at the bottom of the page
Set the bid adjustment for each list as necessary
Pat self on back for job well done