What is Remarketing?

Remarketing or Adwords Remarketing or retargeting is an ingenious and cost-effective way to connect with website visitors that haven’t made a direct inquiry or purchase. It allows the marketer to target audiences that previously visited their website by positioning targeted Ads to well-defined audiences.

The idea is to reach people that have already shown interest in the advertiser’s website because these people are likely to want what the advertiser has to offer and can, therefore, be easily converted.

Source: Viral Marketing Communication

Google AdWords remarketing allows advertisers to execute remarketing Ads on the Google Display Network (GDN), Google Search Network, YouTube, Google apps, and Gmail sponsored promotions which in total provides access to over 90% of internet search users.

Through AdWords remarketing, advertisers can increase brand awareness and remind their website visitors to purchase their offer. AdWords retargeting is an excellent tactic, especially where the sales process is lengthy and highly competitive. A well-executed remarketing campaign can:

  • Significantly improve conversions
  • Raise a brand’s profile at a lower cost
  • Lower cost per click
  • Reduce the cost per impression
  • Increase Return-on-investment (ROI)

How does Adwords Remarketing work?

AdWords retargeting involves the use of text Ads, animated images, static images, responsive Ads, and video. They are all managed from within Google AdWords services. The size of these display Ad formats is determined by the website owners that accept the advertisements and who allocate space for these Ads.

On Google’s Platform, the main distinction between remarketing and standard GSN and Search advertising is targeting. Essentially, remarketing allows the advertiser to use a unique tracking code that adds a cookie in a visitor’s browser after surfing the advertiser’s website. The cookie then enables Ads to be served to visitors that go to sites on the GDN and Google Search network.

The different ways that advertisers can run a remarketing campaign on Google Ads include:

  • Standard remarketing: Ads are shown to past visitors that go to websites and apps on the GDN
  • Search Ad remarketing lists: Ads are shown to past visitors on Google Search as they follow-up on previous searches for things that they need
  • Video remarketing: Ads are shown to past visitors on YouTube, Display Network videos, apps and websites after they have interacted with the advertiser’s videos or their YouTube channel
  • Dynamic remarketing: Previous visitor Ads containing products/services on the advertiser’s site are shown to past visitors. Messages can be tailored to an audience to direct them back to the visitor’s website to complete an offer.
  • Customer list remarketing: Ads are shown to past visitors on any Google product as long as they are signed-in to Google. The advertiser uses ‘Customer Match’ to upload lists of people that have provided their contact details to the advertiser.


Basically, an AdWords remarketing campaign collects a list of unique cookie IDs that identify different users who are then added to a remarketing audience list. The advertiser can choose to then create multiple remarketing lists that target different people based on a range of different criteria, including specific goals, membership periods, etc.

The advertiser also has access to several controls to filter the targeting criteria. For example, age, location, gender, interests based on browsing behavior, etc. Some of the other controls that the advertiser can tweak include impression caps on the number of Ads that are shown to a person, how long a cookie can remain on a remarketing audience list, and the user’s ability to block Ads on particular websites.