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TPE #33: full-funnel remarketing strategy for more control

Mar 13, 2023

Read time: 4 minutes

A question we’re often getting: “I use Performance Max campaigns, should I still run remarketing campaigns?”

In most cases, the answer is yes.

Performance Max does some remarketing, but you have 0 control:

→ No control over audiences to retarget
→ No control over ads per audience
→ No control over remarketing spend


With dedicated remarketing campaigns, you control all of these.

You decide which audiences to remarket to, what ads you’re showing them, and how much you spend.

On top of that, you get far better insights in audience and creative performance.

So yes, in most cases, you should still run dedicated remarketing campaigns on top of pMax.

In this newsletter, we’ll break down our remarketing strategy with Google Ads.

Let’s dig in!


Take back control with a full-funnel remarketing strategy

Before you set up remarketing campaigns, you need to think about the strategy. This is what you generally want to apply:

  1. Pick the right campaign types
  2. Set up your campaigns for success
  3. Target high-intent audiences first, then the rest
  4. Create ads for every stage of the funnel (if possible)
  5. Exclude recent converters to reduce wasted ad spend


Let’s dive in step by step.


1: Pick the right campaign types and structure

If you want to retarget website visitors on Google inventory, you have 3 options (excluding Search and Performance Max):

  1. Display
  2. Demand Gen
  3. YouTube


They all work well, and mature accounts should have all of them.

YouTube is especially nice because of the visual nature of video ads, but are also the hardest ones to run because you need good video creatives (which cost time and money to create).

If you don’t have the resources to create video ads, start off with simple Display and Demand Gen image ads.

The biggest advantage of Display campaigns is Dynamic Remarketing. This allows you to show highly relevant ads that dynamically insert the product a user has visited.

More on that in step 4 - let’s first dive into the campaign structure.


2: Set up your campaigns for success

The next step is to build the right campaign structure. The best tip we can give here: keep it simple. The best remarketing campaigns have a basic structure:

  • One campaign (per campaign type)
  • Multiple ad groups segmented by audience
  • Ads tailored to the specific audiences


It’s that simple. Unless you have specific budgetary goals per audience segment, there is no need to overcomplicate it.


3: Target high-intent audiences first, then the rest

The biggest mistake we see happening over and over, is when there is only one “all website visitors” audience that is being retargeted. The problem: this list is often too big and mixed with people with different buying intent.

You want to fix that problem by creating audiences for every stage in the funnel.

This is what a basic remarketing funnel looks like:



Create different audiences for:

  1. All website visitors
  2. Category page visitors
  3. Product page visitors
  4. Cart/checkout page visitors
  5. Converters


Retarget high-intent audiences first (cart/checkout page visitors), then work your way up the funnel (product page visitors, category page visitors). If performance is good, you can expand by retargeting all website visitors.

Ideally, you layer recency on top of your audiences, meaning you create variations of all audiences for 7, 30, 90 and 365 days. Whatever time periods you use, should be based on your goals and audience sizes. If you have small audiences, you may want to stick to a minimum of 30 days, otherwise the audiences might be too small to retarget.

Shorter time period = warmer audience = higher chance of conversion.

But also: shorter time period = smaller audience size = potentially too small to retarget.

Play around with it and create the perfect audience structure, based on your own goals and data.


4: Create ads for every stage of the funnel (if possible)

Not every website visitor should see the same remarketing ad. If possible, try to create unique ads for every stage of the funnel.

If someone is lower in the funnel, your ads can be more transactional. For example: if a person has put something in their cart, they are closer to converting, so a “get 10% off” ad might work well.

If someone is higher in the funnel, your ads need to be more intriguing. For example: if a person only visited a category page, they still need some convincing, so you can show them the benefits of that specific category in the ad.

Bonus tip: the best way to increase ad relevance, is by enabling Dynamic Remarketing (ecom only).

To enable Dynamic Remarketing, go into your Display campaign settings and enable “Dynamic Ads”:



Key takeaway here: increase conversion rates by adapting your messaging to where someone is in their buying journey.


5: Exclude recent converters to reduce wasted ad spend

Quick tip to close this newsletter with: always exclude (recent) converters to reduce wasted ad spend. The last thing you want to do, is keep retargeting someone who has already bought.

You’ll waste your budget, and annoy a happy customer (two things you want to avoid at all cost).

Now… We understand that there are always cases when you do not want to exclude recent converters (for example if there is a high repeat order rate within a short timeframe).

But in most cases, you’re better off excluding recent converters - especially the first few days after the conversion happened.


Wrapping up

So there you have it! Take back control with this full-funnel remarketing strategy:

  1. Pick the right campaign types
  2. Set up your campaigns for success
  3. Target high-intent audiences first, then the rest
  4. Create ads for every stage of the funnel (if possible)
  5. Exclude recent converters to reduce wasted ad spend


We hope it was useful, and see you again next week!


Bob & Miles


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