Google Ads Logo

Google re-marketing ads (adWords): A guide for small businesses

We have all walked into stores, browsed around, and eventually left the store without making a purchase. In the brick and mortar world, this is where a store/business typically loses the lead.

However, in the online world, this interaction can be very different, especially if you are using “Google Ads (Adwords) Remarketing” because remarketing allows us to track leads and entice them back to our website/business. 

Note: While we are focusing on Google Ads (Adwords) Remarketing, you can do the same level of remarketing with Facebook, Instagram, and so on.

Even if you are not familiar with remarketing, it is undoubtedly a part of your everyday life. Do you ever get the feeling like you are being ‘followed” by a product? In other words, all of a sudden, a product you showed interest in starts appearing on Amazon, Google Search, Blog Posts, etc. 

Simply put, the main objective of remarketing is to reconnect with potential customers that have left a website without completing the desired action (e.g. purchase, contact us, signup, etc.).

Why Remarketing Works?

In general, advertising is only effective when placed in front of the right audience, with the right offer, and at the right time. With remarketing, we know that we are in front of the right audience because they already showed interest in our business (e.g. by reading our website content or viewing our product/service).

Not only have they shown interest in our business, but we know exactly which product or service they showed interest in. Let’s assume we are a premium coffee-seller. We can set up a Google remarketing campaign to target everyone who visited our “Kona beans”.

In this example, we are targeting the right audience (showed interest in our Kona beans), and now we can entice them with the right offer. For instance, we can set up exclusive offers (e.g. free shipping or 20% off) to all visitors that landed on our Kona coffee beans webpage.

Finally, with remarketing, we are targeting our audience (and leads) at the right time. Just because someone is reading about our Kona coffee beans doesn’t automatically mean they are ready to buy right then. With remarketing, we can display our Kona coffee beans in front of a potential customer tomorrow, next week, or next month – whenever they are ready to buy, our product will be in front of them. 

The bottom line is, remarketing allows you to target the right audience, with the right offer, and at the right time (staying “top-of-mind” is fundamental).

Now that we covered some basics of remarketing let’s look at Google Ads (Adwords) remarketing, and how to set it up.

Setting Up Remarketing With Adwords (Google Ads)

Before we go any further, to setup Google remarketing you will need:

  • Google Analytics  (to tracks website analytics)
  • Google AdWords  (to create remarketing ads and track performance)

If you don’t have Google Analytics or AdWords configured, then go to Google Analytics and Google Ads, and set these tools up. 

Step-by-step Guide to Creating Google Remarketing Ads

1. Log Into Google Analytics

2. Turn On Remarketing – click on “Admin” (cogwheel in the bottom left-hand corner), then “Traffic Info”, then “Data Collection”, and finally “Remarketing”. Also, turn on “Advertising Reporting Features”, if it is disabled.

Screenshot of remarketing feature turned on

3. Make Sure Google Ads Are Linked –  click on “Admin” (cogwheel in the bottom left-hand corner), then “Google Ads Linking”

Screenshot of google ads linking

4. Configure Audiences –  click on “Admin” (cogwheel in the bottom left-hand corner), then “Audience Definitions”, and finally “Audiences”.

On this page, Google will recommend several ways you can set your audience. For example, All Users, New Users, Returning Users, Users who visited a specific section of my website, etc. Which specific audience you select to create (and target with remarketing) will depend on your goals, but creating an audience who “visited a specific section” is a good start for most businesses. 

Note: To target visitors that abandoned a shopping cart – select “Users who completed a goal conversion”. To use remarketing to up-sell to existing customers – select “Users who completed a transaction”.

5. Login Into Google Ads

6. Setup Campaigns – click “Campaigns”, then “+” to create a new campaign.

Screenshot of campaigns in google ads

There are many different campaign types you can choose from (Search, Display, Shopping, Video, and Universal App). If you are new to remarketing, then “Display Network” may be the best option to get started. 

7. Setup Goals (Build Awareness, Influence Consideration, or Drive Action). Again, which option you select will depend on your remarketing goals. 

Note: “Influence Consideration > Visit your website” is a good start for most. 

8. Select “Standard Display Campaign”, and then click “Continue”. You can ignore optional settings for now.

9. Setup Campaign Details (Name, Location, Bitting, Budget, etc.)

  • Campaign name (e.g. Kona beans remarketing)
  • Location (e.g. United States)
  • Language (e.g. English) 
  • Bidding (e.g. Manual CPC – so that you can setup your cost-per-click)
  • Daily budget (e.g. $10)  
  • Ad group name (e.g. Website Product Remarketing)
  • Audience (e.g. Remarketing, then “Website visitors”, and finally “<name of the audience you created>”)
  • Demographic (e.g. if you need to narrow down your audience by age, gender, income, and so on)
  • Content Targeting (if you have a high traffic website and want to limit your audience by keywords, topics or placement)
  • Automated Targeting (No Automation, Conservative, and Aggressive)
  • Ad group bid (e.g. $2 – how much we are willing to pay per click)
  • Dynamic Ads (if you are new to remarketing then leave “dynamic ads” option blank. This is certainly a useful feature, but it can be confusing for new users)
  • Create your ads (upload your images/display ads – the more image size variations you upload, the better), and then set the final URL (in our coffee-seller example, we would set it to the Kona beans product page
  • Finally, click “Create Campaign”.

10. Monitor And Review Your Ad Performance
Keeping a close eye on your ads is vital because most businesses and marketers don’t hit the ball out of the park with their first ad. In other words, you may have the experiment with different versions until you reach the desired result (e.g. using different Ad image variations, different call-to-actions, etc.).

Screenshot of Google Ads dashboard


Remarketing with Google Ads (and remarketing in general) has the potential to transform your sales funnel. Reconnect with potential customers, nurture existing leads, and cross-sell to existing customers – these are just a few powerful remarketing features you can use.

It’s no wonder why so many businesses rely on remarketing ads for their growth.

Finally, if you are new to Google Ads (Adwords), then please read How to Launch a Successful PPC Campaign with Google AdWords.

Scroll to Top