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Address Your Customers Personally in Search Ads: Remarketing for Search

06.09.2017, 2m


Do you want to address new and existing customers in a different way in Google AdWords? Do you want to set a higher cost-per-click for text ads when targeting shoppers who have abandoned their shopping baskets? No problem – Remarketing for search enables you to customise the search.

Remarketing as an acquisition tool

Remarketing is mostly known as banner advertising, which basically works as follows: if a potential customer has had a look at shoes on your website, shoes ads will then be displayed to them on different third-party sites. The objective is to bring customers back to your website  so that they’ll conclude their purchase.

In the case of AdWords (remarketing is also possible with other providers), the first step is defining your audiences. You can do so directly in AdWords or Analytics. Analytics audiences are available in your AdWords account provided your accounts are linked. 

(In case you haven’t done it yet, here is how to link your accounts: Analytics - Settings - Property - AdWords Linking.)

Audience lists may be:

  • all website visitors
  • all users having visited a product page without buying the product
  • all visitors having made a purchase
  • all male or female visitors

These lists can be used for targeted campaigns.

Remarketing for Search

Since last year, these lists can be used not only for Display campaigns, but also for search ads. This means that you can customise the way you address users who belong to one of the audiences you have defined if they google your search keywords. You may want to:

  • set a better bid (e.g. if the audience is very determined when making a purchase decision)
  • exclude an audience (e.g. if you don’t want to address existing customers via AdWords)
  • draw up a tailor-made campaign with specific ads (e.g. if you want to address existing and potential customers in a different way)

Go to the corresponding campaign and click on ‘Audiences’.


Here you can add new audiences. There are two options here:

Observations (previously ‘Bid only’): If you select audience lists with the option ‘Observations’, ads are activated for all users entering the relevant keywords. However, AdWords adjusts bids for users in the corresponding lists in line with your settings. 

Target (previously ‘Target and bid’): With this setting, ads are only activated for those users who belong to the corresponding lists. Bid adjustments can be set individually for each list at ad groups level, just like with the option ‘Bid’.

With the option ‘Exclusions’, you can define audiences to whom the campaign ads shouldn’t be displayed.

Download Google Shopping Pt. 2 whitepaper


Remarketing lists for Search Networks ads are only available for the following campaign types:

  • ‘Search Network only - All features’
  • ‘Search Network only - Dynamic Search Ads’

Contrary to the Display Network, where target groups must have had 100 active users over the last 30 days, target groups for the Search Network require at least 1,000 active users to make sure that they remain anonymous. If you want to know how many users are contained in your target groups, just log in to your AdWords account and go to ‘Shared library - Audiences’. Here you can see the lists and their dimensions broken down into Search and Display (as well as YouTube and Gmail).

Download Google Shopping whitepaper