RLSA, which is a fantastically hard to say and remember acronym for Remarketing Lists for Search Ads, is a powerful and yet relatively straight-forward new capability in search marketing.

How It Works

To get started, you create an audience, meaning a cohort of website visitors you wish to segment, by putting an AdWords pixel in different parts of your site.  For example, to create an audience of people that have recently purchased on your site, you could put a pixel on your “thank you” page post purchase. When consumers get to that “thank you” page, the pixel fires, and Google puts a cookie on those people’s browsers and labels them whatever you want to call them, let’s say “converted customers”.

Once you have your audience built, you can then tell Google that when it sees those “converted customers” on Google search that you want to increase your bid. If Google sees that customer, it multiplies (in real-time) your bid for that keyword by the multiplier you told it for that audience. That then becomes your bid and, if you bid up sufficiently, your ad is more likely to appear higher on the page.

Examples of Audiences & Use Cases

To put this into practice, here are four examples of audiences an online retailer might create:

1. Existing customers
2. Customers who recently purchased
3. Visitors to the website who didn’t purchase
4. Visitors who filled and then abandoned their shopping cart

Once you have your audiences defined, here are some sample marketing activities you could run:


What excites us about RLSA is it’s part of a current trend towards enabling marketers to target audiences and not merely keywords on search engines or interests on social networks.

Even more powerful, when marketers start to bring in performance information they can further optimize their efforts by only targeting their most valuable audiences, not just the broad audiences themselves.