How-To: Create Segmented Remarketing Lists in AdWords

Kimberly Burghart June 21, 2016

Get Results with Remarketing 

Remarketing allows users greater control over their ad campaigns with more precise targeting. By keeping track of who has visited your site, Google lets you target those past visitors for direct advertising. Google also tracks where the user left off on your siteso if they had products left in their cart, you can target them directly with ads for those products.


To add remarketing to your ad campaign you’ll have to first add remarketing tags and then create remarketing lists. Start by logging in to your AdWords account and follow these steps:

Add Remarketing Tags

Before you can start remarketing, you need to first add the remarketing tag to all of your web pages (if you already have remarketing tags on your site, skip to ‘Creating Marketing Lists’).

  • Go to your Campaigns tab.
  • Select Shared library.                                    
  • Then click Audiences
  • Now click Set up remarketing.  
  • You’ll now have the option to target past visitors with specific product ads based on their last visit, or you can just target all users who have visited your website. You can choose whether or not to use dynamic ads depending on if it makes sense for your ad campaign (this option can be changed at a later time).
  • If you select to use dynamic ads, choose your business type and click Set up remarketing. Otherwise just click Set up remarketing
  • Now you’ve generated your tag code. Click View AdWords tag to drop down a textbox containing your code. If you manage your own website, add this tag to all pages before the </body> tag. If someone else manages your site, have them add this code for you. 
  • Once you’ve added the tag to your webpages, click Continue and then Return to Audiences.

Creating Remarketing Lists

You should have landed back on your Audience’s page. From here you’ll be able to view and manage all future remarketing lists you create.

  • To start adding lists, click the red Remarketing Lists button, then select where you’ll be targeting users from. In this tutorial we are looking for website visitors so go ahead and select the Website visitors option. 
  • Now you have to fill out the details of your remarketing list.
  • Name the list after the specific users and pages you are targeting. I wanted to advertise to all users that have visited their cart, so I’ve named my list “All Shopping Cart.”
  • Select who you want to add to your list. Since I’m targeting all users that reach my shopping cart I’ve selected Visitors of a page.      
  • Now you can set the rules, which are the page directories that you plan to target. Go to your website’s page you want to use and copy the URL. You can past the whole URL or just part of it. If you only use part of the URL make sure you don’t have other pages with similar URLs, otherwise they will both be targeted. Go back to your remarketing list setup and paste this URL into the Rule text box.
  • Adwords also gives you the option to only target users for a specific length of time. This option is set at 30 days by default, but you should choose a length that you expect you ads to be relevant to the users.
  • Last, set a description for your list and click Save.
  • You’ll now have the option of using these lists when creating your campaigns.

Build Remarketing Campaigns Using Your Lists

All of your remarketing lists will always be accessible to add to your ad campaigns through the Audiences tab. To start adding remarketing lists to your existing campaigns:

  • Go to your Campaigns tab.
  • Select Shared library.
  • Then click Audiences.
  • Check off the remarketing lists you want to start using. 
  • Then click Add to ad groups, this will give you a popup list of your current campaigns.
  • Select the campaigns you want to add your remarketing lists to.
  • Click Save.

Congratulations, you’ve now added your first remarketing list to your ad campaign. Using this tool, you can now directly market specific ad campaigns to specific shoppers.

Here’s a few useful remarketing ideas to get you started:

  • Target people who’ve left items in their cart. Use an ad campaign offering discounts.
  • Target those who’ve signed up or subscribed to something on your site. Use an ad campaign offering info or discounts on services you provide.
  • Target people that have already purchased certain items. Use ad campaigns that offer similar items.

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