Advanced RLSA Strategies You Should Pursue

If you already setup RLSA audiences, like suggested in my last blog post about RLSA, you should have a look at performance of each list and adjust your bid modifiers. There are many different ways to optimise your performance based on RLSA insights and I’m going to discuss the ones we have had positive results with.

Adjust Bid Modifiers According to Specific Goals and Performance

RLSA audiences make up for a big portion of your clicks, and an even bigger portion of your conversions. Even if your bid modifiers are set to 0% and you did not exclude your existing customers, a lot of your traffic will be attributed to the RLSA audience.

Below you can see a typical example for the traffic distribution of a fashion retailer. ‘All visitors’ is making up for the major chunk of the traffic, then there are ‘cart viewers’ and ‘cart abandoners’. In terms of conversion, ‘cart abandoners’ can make up for a much bigger part, of course depending on the bid modifiers.


Now let’s have a closer look at performance:


Some of the audiences have a much better conversion rate, i.e. cart abandoners. If you have a closer look at average CPC and position, you’ll see we already upweighted bids for those users heavily.


More Refined Targeting Options

Do you want to re-target users who have viewed high value items? Boost your campaign with custom parameters!

After collecting at least 1,000 cookies, you can start to re-target purchasers who have a higher ABV than average, have viewed specific products or have been on specific pages.

As an online retailer, you can use the following information to be implemented in your RLSA list:

  • product id.
  • page type (i.e. category pages).
  • value of the product.
  • dynamic ad, to show people the exact item they viewed (combine this list and exclude purchasers).

Implement RLSA

Read how to add dynamic remarketing tag to your site for further information.

After implementing these tags into your pixel, you can start creating your RLSA lists in your AdWords account:

Create RLSA list

Use RLSA to Focus on New Customers

If your strategy is to increase new customer rate, consider the following approaches:

Duplicate ad groups with high ROAS but low NC rate, and downweight bids on ‘purchasers – last 180 days’ by 90%. You can be even more restrictive by downweighting bids on all people who logged into the my account page, on all who have been on the site only once (create list in GA) or by downweighting bids on all visitors.

Use RLSA to Boost CTR, CR and BR

Offering a discount to audiences who already spent some time on your site and maybe even put something into the cart, but did not complete the purchase, can encourage them to come back.

You can receive a better CTR by adjusting ad copies. However, don’t be creepy and shout about the fact that you know where users have been before. Google will disapprove ad copies like “Come back and finish your shopping now!”

Decrease the bounce rate by directing people to pages where they are more likely to convert. If you know that people searching for ‘dresses’ have been on the ‘plus size dresses’ already, you can direct them to the more specific site the next time they search again for ‘dresses’.

Another idea would be to cross sell complementary products (ie. upweight bids for wedding shoes for all who bought a wedding dress only).

Be Exclusive: Reduce Bids on Users That Just Aren’t That Into You:

  • exclude recent purchasers, that are still within their average sale cycle and are not likely to purchase again right now. This allows you, to increase the incremental sales further (i.e. exclude past buyers < 10 days).
  • for one-time-purchase brands it makes sense to exclude previous buyers.
  • people who have been on the careers page/ tech support pages.
  • users who only buy low margin items.

I can recommend reading this article by Susan Waldes for further ideas about excluding remarketing.


Be creative and the use of RLSA is almost inexhaustible. Make sure you review your audiences regularly, and evaluate if your approach still matches your business goals. If you do it wrong, you can do a lot of damage to your AdWords accounts, too. Therefore proper A/B testing and analysing is essential to be successful with RLSA.


Claudia Brunner

Claudia Brunner works as a Senior PPC manager for crealytics and has 5+ years of experience in managing and successfully scaling leading fashion retailers, with a focus on the UK market. Her expertise lies on account strategies, market expansion and audience segmentation.

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    Thanks for this interesting blog. How did you decide by what % to increase bid adjustments by? When you did push bid adjustments up, what did you observe, an increase in average position, impressions etc?

    • Claudia

      Hello Irfan, thanks for your comment! We increased the bid modifiers step by step and checked if we still saw an improvement in avg. position or an uplift in traffic. If the avg. position is already better than 1.5, then there’s no real need to push further. Also make sure CPCs don’t increase too much, so the conversion rate uplift is not over-compensated by the higher CPCs.

      Now you also can use the new tool campaigns drafts and experiments in AdWords to run an easy A/B test on different bid modifiers. I would highly recommend this tool!