How to Grow Your RLSA Campaigns with Similar Audiences

If you are a Google advertiser you have, without a doubt, been plagued with the client’s request of “How do we grow more traffic?” Growing traffic for any search engine marketer isn’t exactly a difficult task. You can increase bids, target new locations, or switch up your match types. You can launch Display or Remarketing campaigns, using image ads to capture new users.  Let’s face it, growing PPC traffic is easy, but, growing efficient PPC traffic is not. In the end, we all want more conversions, but for the same or lower price. All the above strategies need to be fine-tuned, tested, and matured before anything is deemed successful. We are all familiar with Display and Remarketing campaigns.  However, the more untouched strategy of RLSA campaigns may be the secret solution to growing traffic efficiently.  Recently in May, Google unveiled new additions to RLSA campaigns to further enhance performance.

What is an RLSA Campaign?

RLSA is essentially remarketing for search campaigns. This Google feature lets you customize search ads and bids to people who have already visited your site. You can choose which visitors (non-converters, etc.) automatically are added to your RLSA remarketing list.  Marketers then have the opportunity to develop campaigns, knowing that the targeted user has already visited, and is already interested in your product.  There are two basic ways to target users using RLSA.

  1. You can replicate your existing keyword set and increase those bids knowing that the user is typically more qualified. According to Google, industry experts recommend being as aggressive as using a 100% bid multiplier on your keywords. The chart below shows an example scenario of a keyword in a regular search campaign versus the same exact keyword in an RLSA campaign. Even though Avg. CPC increased by roughly 100%, we saw a 253% increase in conversion rate, leading to a much stronger ROI. Users are more likely to convert, because they have already demonstrated interest in your product.

Google Similar Audiences

  1. The second strategy marketers implement with RLSA campaigns is bidding on more generic keywords, knowing that the user is already interested in their product. For example, if you are running a paid search campaign for a luxury jewelry store, you may want to avoid bidding on the term “earrings”, because it is too broad or vague. However, if you know the user has already visited the earrings page of your site, you can bid on a term such as “earrings” and develop custom ad copy and send that user back to a specific PPC optimized earrings page. RLSA campaigns are also often used to promote discounts and promotion codes via the ad copy to interested users.

How to Grow Your RLSA Audiences:

The one limiting factor of RLSA campaigns, is that your search remarketing list can often times be small. If you are enabling the “target and bid” option for your ad groups, a user must hit your site, and then do another search while matching out to your assigned keywords within a set time period.

You may have noticed that every time you create a remarketing list, whether it be display or search, Google creates a “Similar” audience.  This look-a-like list consists of prospective users that contain the same interests as other users who have visited your site. In May, Google announced that these “Similar” audiences are now available for search campaigns.  Google assigns users to these lists by looking at the query behavior of each site visitor.  For example, say someone visited your site by searching “hotels in London” and converted. Google would then scan queries of other relevant users to assess their overall quality. If someone searches for “best things to do in London” or “where to stay in London,” Google would consider them to be a relevant candidate for a Similar Audience.  Users only remain on a Similar Audience list for 24 hours to ensure the highest amount of relevancy to your product.

The chart below depicts front end metrics comparing RLSA, Non-Branded Search, and Similar Audience campaigns.  As you can see, the Similar Audience campaign generates about 100% more volume than the traditional RLSA campaigns.  Although the differences in ROI are drastic between the two campaigns, the Similar Audience campaign is actually directly in line with our regular Non-Branded search campaigns in terms of ROI.


RLSA campaigns can be a great and effective way to boost overall site traffic in an efficient manner.  When implementing, paid search strategists should consider utilizing Similar Audiences to further grow traffic and capture a wider and more relevant audience.

If you’d like to learn more about how Synapse SEM can help you improve your paid search strategy, please complete our contact form or call us at 781-591-0752.