4 Proven Methods to Maximize Your RLSA Efforts and Boost Conversion Rate

In PPC, RLSA campaigns can sometimes be overlooked. Companies often latch on to the idea of flashy image ads to advertise their offerings, but little attention goes to how powerful remarketing can be for a search campaign. It truly surprises me how many businesses fail to recognize RLSA as a valuable paid search strategy. The given benefit of RLSA is that you are targeting users who have historically been to your site. Right off the bat, you know they are interested, and more likely to convert. Simply enabling RLSA and mirroring a current campaign structure can help to improve conversion rate. What many PPC experts do not know is how several simple strategies can boost conversion rate even more. Below explains 4 proven methods of creating a fully optimized RLSA campaign.

1.Excluding Audiences Based off Session Duration

Although it seems simple, excluding an audience compiled of users who have spent, for example, 5 less than 60 seconds on your site can be extremely impactful when it comes to increasing conversion rate. The ultimate goal of effective paid search is to target quality traffic, so why not weed out the bad when it comes to your RLSA campaigns?

In order to determine the proper session duration, we recommend analyzing custom segments within Google Analytics to determine what drives the lowest conversion rate.

Before implementing any sort of new exclusion we recommend confirming results with a test. You can use the AdWords Drafts and Experiments feature to replicate an existing high-volume campaign as a draft. A specific audience, targeting returning users with < 60 seconds on the site, was excluded from the draft campaign. It is important to choose a high-volume campaign so that results can be generated and deemed statistically significant as soon as possible. Check out the results of the test after a couple of weeks running.

rlsa strategies

As suspected, the campaign with the exclusion was lower volume, but produced much more qualified traffic. Conversion rate improved by 20%.

2. Highly Focused Cart/Checkout Abandoner Campaigns

If your site produces a decent amount of traffic, a strategy targeting cart or checkout abandoners can be key to improving conversion rate. According to the Baymard Institute, roughly 70% of users abandon a site after reaching the checkout point. Applying an audience of users who have reached the final checkout page, but have not converted, to an RLSA campaign can yield positive results.  Since this audience is highly invested in your product, you can increase bids drastically to target this user. Consider the campaigns created below.

It is clear the volume is much lower than a regular search campaign, but the conversion rate and CPA improvements are extremely beneficial. Conversion Rate increased by 60%, while CPA is 38% lower than the search campaign. CPC increased because we are naturally much more aggressive with our bids in the Cart Abandoner campaign. Not only does excluding cart abandoners improve conversion rate compared to regular search campaigns, but it also can help to improve overall account performance.

3. Understanding the Differences between Bid and Bid and Target

Possibly one of the most crucial aspects in developing a profitable RLSA campaign is knowing when to use the campaign setting of “Bid Only” (now called Observation) or “Bid and Target” (now called Targeting). Consider the scenario:

  • You have an existing search campaign and you want to apply an RLSA audience to the campaign. If you choose “Observation,” the campaign will function as a regular search campaign, and the bids will be adjusted, based on your audience bid modifier. So, if a returning user searches for a keyword, the bid will be increased based on the modifier. If a new user searches a keyword, the regular Max CPC will be applied. Choosing this option will not cause the campaign to only target returning users.
  • You have a new campaign where you would like to solely target returning users. For this method, you would apply the RLSA audience to the campaign and make sure the setting is set “Targeting.” This method is useful when creating custom copy or testing out overly generic keywords. Also, this method will inherently be much lower volume than the “Observations” setting.

Both settings can be key in helping boost conversion rate. It is just critical to know the differences between the two.

4. Using RLSA Audiences with DSA Campaigns:

DSA (Dynamic Search Ads) use the content on your site to target individual users. For example, if your site advertised bracelets and somebody search “gold charm bracelets” the DSA campaign would display an ad, with a dynamically created headline, and send the user to the page that Google determines the most relevant. This time saving strategy is a great way to expand your reach. Since you are not bidding on a specific set of keywords, DSA is perfect for keyword expansion.

A great way to combat the low volume nature of RLSA campaigns is to combine it with DSA campaigns. DSA is often criticized for being too risky, and it tends to generate high traffic.

RLSA is a key paid search strategy that, when used properly, can heavily enhance overall campaign performance. Overlaying the strategies discussed above can help to create high focused campaigns designed to boost account conversion rate.


To learn how Synapse SEM can help improve your RLSA marketing strategy, you may complete our contact form or call us at 781-591-0752.