Remarketing Lists For Search Ads – RLSAs – were rolled out in late June 2013 and they’re the most recent ‘big change’ to Google’s PPC functionality.

After almost a year of BETA testing Google opened the feature to all advertisers worldwide and in its simplest form it allows people to remarket to their website’s visitors on Google Search – pretty nifty.

What are RLSAs?

Firstly, RLSAs are a verb – not a noun – they’re effectively a connection between two entities in an AdWords account – an Audience and a Keyword.

Think of it like this….

RLSAs Diagram

RLSAs are a connection between people who have previously visited your website and the keywords currently being triggered in your account.

You still have to create Ad Groups & Keywords, you still have to assign bids and you still have to create text ads, they’re just served in a unique way to a specific cross-section of your market, making them more powerful.

How do RLSAs work?

Upon setting up an RLSA campaign you have two options:

  1. Bid
  2. Target & Bid

This allows you to assign bid adjustments to the keywords that are triggered when a user entering one of your keywords into Google has previously visited your site.

Your ads will still show for your targeted keywords even if a user hasn’t previously visited your site, but they will have the original bid, not the adjusted bid.

Target & Bid
This means that you’ll only trigger these keywords and bids when a user has also previously browsed your website.

What are the benefits of RLSAs?

Ultimately, it will vary case by case as to what the benefits are to your account, but there’s no risk/cost (other than your own time) in setting up varying RLSA campaigns. They’re a great tool to help you identify and understand any difference in performance between each of the illustrated sets above.

You can:

  • Assign individual campaign budgets.
  • Assign unique text ads.
  • Assign unique extensions.
  • Assign unique bids.
  • And/Or simply track separately.

We carried out a recent case study of our own that revealed even a bog standard RLSA segment will generally return an significantly better performance than its standard campaign counterpart. See below:

KPI Table

*Measured over a 30 day period with a 50% increase in bid.

How do I set RLSA campaigns up?

Okay, so this is where it can get a little tricky and if your account is fairly large, you’d be better starting with a small test campaign, before (hopefully somewhat autonomously) rolling RLSAs out to all of your campaigns.

Here’s what you need:

  1. An AdWords account with your billing preferences set up.
  2. An active Remarketing Tag on your website.
  3. A basic understanding of how to set up a Google AdWords Campaign from scratch.

Here’s what you’d need to do:

  1. Create a new campaign with the usual budgets, ad groups and keywords etc. Or if you’re wanting to trial RLSAs on an existing campaign simply enter into that campaign.
  2. Click on the ‘Audiences’ tab, then onto ‘+ Remarketing’.
  3. From here you’ll need to choose which Ad Groups you’d like to take part in your RLSA test.
  4. Once chosen you’re onto selecting which of your audiences you’d like to focus on. If you’re new to remarketing you’ll likely only have an ‘All Visitors’ tag on your site, so best not to worry about custom combinations for now.
  5. Select which audience you’d like to link with your keywords.
  6. You’ll then also need to choose between ‘Bid’ or ‘Target and bid’ – as described earlier.
  7. You can then go on to exclude audiences at the Campaign / Ad Group level, but this should only be done if you’re wanting multiple campaigns with the same keywords and different audiences.
  8. Once you’ve created your RLSA segment press ‘Save’ and you’ll see the segment appear. It will have 0 data at the moment, but that’s because you’d just created it.
  9. The final thing to do – if you want to – is enter your bid adjustment for the RLSA segment.


Hopefully this post has helped you setup or understand RLSAs in more detail.

I’m always on hand to discuss RLSA functionality or indeed any PPC requirements you may have.

You can get hold of me using the details below:

T: 01204 867023


T: @Lee_Frame

Lee Wagstaff