23 Google RLSA Stats
That Prove They’re
A Conversion Win

Kyle Cavaness
Kyle Cavaness
Content Writer

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs) may not be the first thing on your mind – let alone RLSA stats – for when you think of easy conversions. It seems like remarketing is a well-known digital advertising tactic these days. But it seems like people still think it’s only for display ads or social media.

Both of those channels are useful. But there’s another remarketing niche that, for whatever reason, doesn’t seem to get it’s due. Maybe it’s because it’s tricky to set up, or not as flashy as ads on Facebook or Instagram Stories.

We’re talking about remarketing on Google Search – or Remarketing Lists for Search Ads.

google rlsa example
Here’s an example of an RLSA ad – image source

These tricky little text boxes are an effective tool for savvy digital marketers, and we’ve got the RLSA stats (and case studies) to prove it.

What Are RLSAs?

Google’s Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) help you reconnect with potential customers/clients (aka prospects) who have been on your website already, didn’t convert, and are still looking for an offer like yours on Google Search.

As opposed to waiting for your remarketing audience to show up on Facebook and be hit by one of your display ads, you can maintain the high conversion intent of search with these remarketing ads, boosting RLSA performance.

With RLSAs, you can customize search ads and campaigns for your remarketing audience and target them with tailored bids and ads when they’re searching on Google and search partner sites.

For example, you can create specific ad text based on how users interact with your website. By creating a remarketing tag and a bid modifier within an ad group, you can show more personalized ad copy based on a particular visitor’s behavior or stage in the conversion funnel.

The Two Halves Of RLSA Campaigns

There are basically two main components of RLSA campaigns. One is observation mode and the other is targeting mode.

Observation mode allows you to add an audience (or multiple) to a search campaign or ad group and see how performance would be if the prospect is:

  1. Part of that audience
  2. Typing in that keyword you’re bidding on

Observation mode allows you to add a bid modifier (plus or minus) in the event that you want to change your bid if both conditions one and two above are met.

If there are no bid modifiers then your ad will always trigger when the keyword is being searched, even if the person searching ISN’T part of the audience.

Targeting mode means that your ad will trigger ONLY if the keyword is being typed in AND they’re part of that audience.

venn diagram of audience & keyword overlap
Your ads should be right in the intersection sweet spot

What Do Remarketing Lists For Search Ads (RLSAs) Do?

By setting up and activating an RLSA campaign, you can boost your brand presence with search retargeting by doing two things:

  1. Raise keyword bids for warmer prospects. Users who visited your website recently and are now searching for what you’re selling in a search engine are more likely to convert than a user seeing your offer for the first time.In fact, search engine users have been reported to rely on the top 3 results in more than 40% of high-intent search queries. And that number nearly doubles for if they’ve already seen that offer before.RLSAs can recognize these prospects and automatically increase your ad bids, putting your brand back in front of them at the crucial moment.
  2. Control ad spend by reducing low-intent impressions. RLSA campaigns only show ads to users who have visited particular pages and then looked for a specific search term. By reducing impressions and clicks from people who are less likely to convert, your ad spend will be more effective. Conversion volume, however, may drop compared to other campaigns. But we’re going for a quality-over-quantity kind of deal with RLSA search retargeting.

Why RLSAs Can Be More Effective Than SEO

Now you may think that, since RLSAs are mainly about taking up SERP real estate while also reinforcing your brand with targeted remarketing, you can get off cheap with a well-executed SEO campaign. After all, the organic results are just below the ads at the top of the page.

However, according to Google, 89% of traffic still isn’t replaced by organic traffic after paid ads have been paused on a campaign. Add that to the fact that 98% of your traffic is going to result in users leaving anyways, and the horror show begins – what is already only 10% of your original incoming visitors has dwindled even further.

Passively waiting for users to wander onto your social media or click a Display ad isn’t a great strategy either. Given that it can take up to nine return visits to a site to finally close a purchase, you don’t have any time to waste.

There’s a reason so many of us rely on the classic search ads + landing page combo for lead generation…it works.

RLSA stats show the importance of combining ordinary remarketing campaigns with retargeting lists filled only with Facebook pixels and the simple, purchase ready users of the Google Search Network.

Requirements For RLSAs

To start using RLSAs, you need to create a remarketing list. For that, you need to add remarketing tags to your site, which is a snippet of code provided by Google Ads.

The remarketing tags on each page of your site tell Google Ads to add visitors to that page to your remarketing list. If someone lands on your homepage, for example, a cookie associated with their browser is added to the remarketing list.

Within your RLSAs, you can decrease your bids by as much as 90% or increase them by 900%. Also, the time limit for keeping users on these lists is capped at 540 days.

You’ll also need to meet certain technical requirements to run an RLSA campaign. After importing your remarketing or customer email lists, Google requires at least 1,000 cookies before they become active.

Note: For our in-depth RLSA setup and optimization guide, click here.

A Few RLSA Stats To Show They’re Worth The Investment

Remarketing in general and RLSA stats, in particular, are unique in the digital marketplace. Most ads are trying to get an initial engagement — that first click, first form submission, first download, and so on.

Remarketing, however, goes after people you’ve already engaged, which is good for a lot of reasons. Here are five of our favorites:

1) The Opportunity Is Massive

On average, only 2% of shoppers convert on their first visit to an online store.

Two. Percent.

When all other strategies fail, retargeting gives you the best chance at getting the other 98% back into your conversion funnel, if not make them customers right then and there. RLSAs, in particular, are useful for the two-thirds of eCommerce customers who abandon their carts before a purchase.

2) You Know Your Audience Is Interested

By reaching your audience through retargeting, you know that your potential customer pool has at least shown interest at some point, which can lead to engagement. Website visitors retargeted with display ads, for example, are 70% more likely to convert.

Similarly, the click-through rate (CTR) of a retargeted ad is 10x higher than the CTR of a typical display ad. (The average CTR for display ads is a rather sad 0.07%, while the average for retargeting ads is a less-sad 0.7%.)

And if you’re saying, “well, clicks are great, but they aren’t enough,” we have an answer for that too, because…

3) The Results Are Proven

A study that examined online display advertising effectiveness according to placement strategy found that retargeting was the best-performing targeting method for improving the lift of marketing results. (The study compared retargeting to other methods like keyword and topics targeting.)

The average lift was 1046% — more than 10x better than the original effort!

4) Less Intrusion From Ad Blockers

According to a Statista study, more than 30% of Americans use ad-blocking tools, and the worldwide share of people using them is growing too. This is a problem if you’re advertising on the Display Network.

ad block usage
Share of internet users rockin’ an ad blocker – image source

But RLSAs target users on the Search Network with ads in search results, which aren’t the usual display popups that trigger ad blockers and “banner blindness.” So if you’re having trouble with Display ads getting blocked by your target audience, RLSAs might be an alternative worth testing.

5) It’s Not (That) Creepy

If you’re bothered when you see display remarketing ads and think everyone else is too, think again. In one survey, most online shoppers (60%) were neutral on retargeted ads, and 25% said they enjoy seeing retargeted ads because they liked being reminded of products and services they were looking at.

In another study, 30% reported “very positive” reactions to remarketing, while only 11% said they didn’t like retargeting ads.

Finally, in yet another study, 47 percent of American consumers said they’re comfortable being tracked by online retailers to get better deals on products they want.

So don’t worry too much about potential customers being put off by seeing ads for things they already looked at. More often than not, they appreciate a second shot at your offer.

RLSAs In Action: 3 Case Studies

RLSAs don’t exist in a vacuum.

google rlsa vacuum pun
Seriously, we checked — no RLSAs in either of these – image source

Businesses typically use RLSAs as one of multiple search engine marketing (SEM) tactics within a broader advertising strategy. Some also use them to accomplish specific audience-based goals. And although they’re used by different digital marketing companies across different audience types, RLSAs can have a clear impact on the right campaign. Here are (three of) their stories. *Law & Order noise*

1) eBags

eBags used RLSAs to add positive bid modifiers on past purchasers and shopping cart abandoners from the prior seven days. In other words, they spent more aggressively on their ads when they knew that the traffic was “hot” — when the users were most likely to convert based on recent activity.

In this case, RLSAs were part of a multi-pronged remarketing strategy that also included Gmail ads and flexible bids driving a higher return on ad spend (ROAS). eBags used these tactics to increase revenue by 15% and reduce the amount of time required to manage their campaigns by 25%.

2) Tirendo

Start-up company Tirendo implemented RLSAs early on to target potential customers through Google searches. To target their potential customers more specifically and directly, Tirendo reconfigured the Google Display Network remarketing lists they used to build brand awareness as RLSA campaigns.

Tirendo saw notable results when they differentiated between remarketing to visitors who searched for specific sizes and brands versus just landing on the homepage, and started spending more on bids for the former. This ultimately enabled them to increase their conversion rate by 161% while reducing costs per order by 43%.

3) World Travel Holdings

World Travel Holdings used RLSAs to aggressively target high-value customers who had already engaged with the company as previous visitors. They targeted broad match keywords like “present” and “gift” in addition to their own brand terms.

World Travel Holdings used RLSAs to maximize visibility with potential customers who searched Google multiple times for cruise vacation information and comparison shopping.

The company was also able to match particular customers to the cruises they were most likely to book using RLSA audience insights.

They paired customized ads with increased bids to ensure these high-value prospects saw their offer often and that World Travel Holdings would remain top of mind. By putting RLSAs to work, they generated a 3x increase in total conversions and a 30% increase in ROI in a competitive industry.

Final Thoughts on RLSA Stats

Yes, remarketing on the Google Search Network isn’t as flashy or exciting as interactive social media ads.

But there’s a lot of evidence that Remarketing Lists for Search Ads are an effective way to get more qualified leads to that final conversion, or at least the next step.

Not convinced by these RLSA stats? you can check out this post on 7 impressively managed RLSA campaigns that we’ve learned from ourselves.

The RLSA stats above only scratch the surface. There are many more ways to integrate RLSAs into your ad campaigns. You can reach and engage high-intent prospects for better conversion rates.

If you’ve used RLSA strategies to boost your own paid search campaigns, tell us how in the comments below.

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