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An Introduction To Google Dynamic Remarketing

15th January 2014 > Stuart Ferrie

Remarketing is a feature of AdWords that allows you to show image ads to people who have visited certain areas of your site. So, if visitors landed on the Vanilla Ice cream page of your online desert shop, image ads depicting a delicious tub of vanilla ice cream would be shown to them (via the Google display network) as they roam around the internet.

Dynamic Remarketing

This is essentially the same concept as remarketing, but the targeting and ad content can be tailored to how your visitor behaved on your site rather than being based on just the page they visited. This results in different image ads being shown to different people depending on what they looked at or what they did on your site, leading to an ad that's much more personal and relevant and an increased conversion rate to go with it.

How It Works

The old remarketing was fairly simple, you pick your landing pages and then create some relevant image ads to go with them. Dynamic remarketing, on the other hand, is a little more complex and requires a few additional things to be set up in order for them to function.

Product Feed

One of the first things you'll need is a product feed as this is what powers the visual content that's shown in the dynamic remarketing ads. The images that are present in this feed (and shown in Google shopping) will also appear in the remarketing ad that a visitor is shown.


Audiences are how you choose which people you target with your remarketing ads and AdWords comes with a set of dynamic audiences that you use or combine to create new ones.

The standard audiences are:

  • All visitors (everyone that viewed a page that has one of your remarketing tags on it)

  • General Visitors (people who came to your site but didn't look at any products)

  • Past Buyers (people who have bought something from you in the past)

  • Product Viewers (people who looked at products but didn't add anything to a basket)

  • Shopping Basket Abandoner’s (people who added products to a shopping basket but left without buying them).

As mentioned above, these can be used as is, or in combination to make sure that only relevant items are shown to each visitor.

Remarketing Tag

The next thing you'll need is to have the remarketing tag set up on all of the pages of your site.

AdWords provides this tag and it can be found by going into Shared Library -> Audiences and then clicking on "view tag details" in Remarketing Tag box in the upper right. Each tag has a bespoke account id that can only be found from this menu, so watch out for that if you're looking at remarketing code from other sources.

Once this tag is on the site, this Remarketing Tag box will let you know if there are any issues with the implementation of the code on the page, so remember to take a look at it after the code has been added to make sure everything is set up properly.

There are 2 different sections of the tag that allow it to utilise dynamic remarketing. First, there's the main body which activates the tag and then there are the custom parameter that track and send the specific information about a page.

The below image contains a sample of the code and the main body is in blue while the custom parameters are in green.

Custom Parameters

The custom parameters are quite important and for each page must be populated with at least the product ID, the page type and the total value of the product on the page. It's this information that the dynamic remarketing will use to work in conjunction with audiences and the product feed to show the right items to the right people.

There are also some advanced custom parameters that you can add in which allow you to specifically define things such as related products and additional product categories, although in general, the dynamic remarketing is fairly capable at detecting and showing related products automatically.

So, you've got your feed set up, you have the audiences decided and the tags in place on your site. What next?

Designing The Ads

With the original remarketing, you had to design an image ad in multiple sizes that would fit into the different ad dimensions within the display network. Designing the dynamic ads is much simpler as it's template based and all built through ad words.

Once you add a new remarketing campaign (new campaign -> display network -> remarketing) and tie it to your merchant centre, and create ad groups based on your audiences, click on the +Ad button and then the Ad Gallery. This takes you to a menu where you can choose dynamic remarketing.

Within this menu are a set of tools that let you tweak and alter the built in templates to match your brand guidelines or add in any copy you'd like the ad to say. You can also specify which of the templates gets shown but like the default search ad rotation, AdWords will eventually show the template that has the best CTR, so I’d recommend having a few templates active at the same time.

Once your templates are chosen (and assuming you put all of the above in place) your dynamic remarketing should be good to go.

If you've got any questions, comments or additional tips for Dynamic Remarketing, drop us a line.

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Stuart Ferrie

PPC Account Manager

With a degree in Business Economics & Marketing, Stuart spent two years working for a student union managing web content and strategic advertising distribution prior to joining QueryClick.

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