last Updated 19 May 2020

What is RLSA and How Can It Help Your Google Ads Campaigns?

With a standard search campaign in Google Ads, your keywords, ads and bids are the same regardless of who is carrying out the search. And yet, in many cases, there’s one group of searchers who are more likely to convert when they visit your site – and that’s those people who have already visited your site in the past.

By using remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) you can use different bids, keywords, or ads when a search is carried out by someone who has already been to your website.

Why Would You Do That?

There are several situations where RLSA can be useful and where it has the potential to improve your return on investment. Here are some examples.

Adjusting bids

If you knew that returning visitors to your site were more likely to convert than first time visitors, you might decide to increase bids in cases where the person searching has already been to your site. 

Changing ad copy

You might want to show a different kind of ad to someone who has already visited your site - e.g. if they have put something in their shopping basket and then abandoned before purchasing.

Targeting different keywords

You could also use RLSA to bid on more generic keywords, but only in cases where the person doing the search is someone who has been to your site already.

For example, a hi-fi retailer who usually focused on product-specific search terms such as “Denon amplifier”, “Roberts Stream 93i”, “Sonos Play 1”, etc might decide to bid on more generic keywords such as “hi-fi shop”, “amplifiers”, “wireless speakers”, etc but only in cases where the searcher was someone who had already visited the site via a more specific keyword.

A separate campaign for those generic keywords, using RLSA targeting, would allow them to do that.

Excluding existing customers or prospects

For certain types of business – e.g. where you are offering people a free trial or a free product demo – you might want to use RLSA to stop your ads being shown to people who have already converted.

How to Setup RLSA

To use RLSA you need to create a remarketing list - and this is done in the same way as when you do remarketing with display ads.

Once you have your lists in place, you create a new search network campaign and configure it to use remarketing via the Audiences tab. Full details can be found in Google’s step by step guide to RLSA.

Have you found any creative ways to use RLSA that we haven't covered here? Why not leave a comment below to tell us all about it.

About the author 

David Miles

As a digital marketing consultant, author and trainer, I specialise in helping businesses in the financial services sector use the internet to get more enquiries and increase profits.

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