Guide to Dynamic remarketing in Google analytics & Adwords

 

Remarketing is a technique which is used to re-target people who left your website without completing a goal conversion (like making a purchase). The people who are re-targeted are known as remarketing audience. This audience is shown one or more targeted ads which are based on their past browsing behavior.

For example, people who abandon the shopping cart can be retargeted via ads which provide special discount or offer in order to lure them to return to the website and complete the purchase.

Remarketing campaigns can help in increasing the ROI as it is cheaper to target people who have already shown interest in making a purchase on your website than to target people who are not aware of your brand. Many advertising platforms provide remarketing these days. But in this article, I am going to discuss only the remarketing provided by Google.

Google provides different types of remarketing methods like:

#1 Remarketing list for search ads – re-targeting people via Google Search Ads

#2 Standard (or Non-Dynamic ) Remarketing – re-targeting people via Google Display Ads

#3 Dynamic Remarketing – re-targeting people via Google dynamic ads

#4 Video Remarketing – re-targeting people who watched your video or youtube channel

In this article, I will explain only Dynamic Remarketing.

Now what is ‘dynamic’ in dynamic remarketing? You may ask.

In dynamic remarketing, Google automatically create re-targeted ads for your website visitors which are based on the actual product (or related products) they viewed on your website. The layout of these dynamic ads is based on the template you created while setting up dynamic remarketing campaign. But the product information (like product price, product image etc) is dynamically created and inserted into the ads by Google.

Google pull the latest product information for creating the dynamic ads via the most recent Google Merchant Product Feed. Because of this reason, you need a Google Merchant center account and live product feed before you can run dynamic remarketing campaigns for your online store.

Following steps are involved in setting up Dynamic remarketing in Google Analytics and Google Adwords:

#1 Identify your Industry category

#2 Enable ‘Remarketing’ and ‘Advertising Reporting Features’ in Google Analytics.

#3 Link your analytics account to your adwords account

#4 Link your Google Merchant Center account to your Google Adwords account

#5 Send attributes for your vertical to Google Analytics via custom dimensions

#6 Create your audience for Dynamic Remarketing in Google Analytics

#7 Create Dynamic Attributes in Google Analytics and link them to your adwords account

#8 Create a Dynamic Remarketing campaign in Google Adwords

 

Step #1: Identify your Industry category

Identify the industry category that best represents the products/services you sell. The industry category/vertical could be: retail, travel, real estate, flights, education, jobs etc. Dynamic remarketing setup varies from one industry category to another. So selecting the best industry category is critically important.

Step #2: Enable ‘Remarketing’ and ‘Advertising Reporting Features’ in Google Analytics

You can do this by either changing your property settings or by customizing your Google Analytics Tracking Code.

Option-1: Change your property settings

Step-1 Go the ‘Admin’ section of your Google Analytics view, click on ‘Tracking Info’ > Data Collection (under Property):

data collection

Step-2 Set ‘Remarketing’ and ‘Advertising Reporting Features’ to ON:re-marketing-on

Note: The ‘data collection’ setting is available only in selected GA accounts so far.

Option-2: Customize your Google Analytics Tracking Code

To enable ‘Remarketing’ and ‘Advertising Reporting Features’ in Google Analytics, insert following line of code in your Google Analytics tracking code:

ga(‘require’, ‘displayfeatures’);

Your final Google Analytics tracking code will like the one below:

<script>

(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i[‘GoogleAnalyticsObject’]=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){

(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),

m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)

})(window,document,’script’,’//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js’,’ga’);

ga(‘create’, ‘UA-1234-12’, ‘auto’);

ga(‘require’, ‘displayfeatures’);

ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’);

</script>

Step #3: Link your analytics account to your adwords account

To link your analytics to adwords, go the ‘Admin’ section of your GA view and then click on ‘Adwords Linking’ link under the ‘Property’ menu:adwords linking

More details about linking analytics and adwords accounts can be found here:

Step #4: Link your Google Merchant Center account to your Google Adwords account

This step is required only if you manage/run an online retail business. But since many people run retail stores, this step is almost always required. Google Merchant Center account is used to manage your products’ information (via product data feed). Whereas Google Adwords account is used to create and manage ad campaigns which are based on the product information managed by Google Merchant Center

This is the key difference between Google Merchant account and Google Adwords account, the ads which use product data feed (as defined in your Google Merchant Center account) instead of keywords in Google Adwords are known as Product Listing Ads (PLA). Product listing ad is an ad format that includes: product image, product name, product price, business name and other details. It looks different from a regular text ad:PLA and text ads

Note: You can create product listing ads in Google adwords by creating a Shopping campaign.

Now, in order to link your Google Merchant Center account with Google Adwords follow the steps below:

Step-4.1: Singup / Login to Google Merchant Center account: https://www.google.com/merchants

Step-4.2: Create Product data feed according to Google’s product feed specification and Google shopping policies.

A data feed is a file (text or XML file) which contains all of the information about your products.

Step-4.3: Register your data feed via navigating to the ‘Feeds’ tab in your Google Merchant Center account and then click on ‘+ Data Feed’ button:register your feed

Step-4.4: Upload and troubleshoot your Product data feed. Once you have uploaded the product data feed, your products would be eligible to be listed in the Google Shopping Results provided it does not violate feed specification guidelines and Google Shopping policies.

Step-4.5: Navigate to the ‘Settings’ tab > Adwords in your Google Merchant Center account, click on the ‘Link account’ button, enter your adwords customer ID and then click on ‘send link request’ button:merchant center adwords link

Step-6: Login to your adwords account and then approve the link request from Google Merchant center. This action will complete your Google Merchant Center and Google Adwords integration.

Note: Google Merchant Center is available only in selected countries.

Step #5: Send attributes for your vertical to Google Analytics via custom dimensions

If you work in the retail industry then the attributes for your industry (in the context of Dynamic Remarketing) would be product related information like:

  • product ID
  • product category page
  • product detail page
  • total value of a product etc.

Similarly, if you work in the Travel industry then the attributes for your industry (in the context of Dynamic Remarketing) would be travel related information like:

  • travel start date
  • travel end date
  • origin ID
  • destination ID etc.

So, If you want to show ads to users based on the product they previously viewed on your website then you need to create a mechanism through which you can automatically collect and send attributes of viewed products to Google Analytics.

You can do that by creating custom dimensions. You need to create custom dimensions so that you can send attributes for your industry vertical to Google Analytics. The custom dimensions you create and the attributes you send depend upon your industry vertical and the user action. For example, if your industry is retail, then you need to send attributes like product ID, Total value of the products etc to Google Analytics via custom dimensions.

If your industry is travel, then you need to send attributes like Origin ID, Destination ID etc to Google Analytics via custom dimensions. Similarly, for industry like Real Estate, you need to send attributes like Listing ID to Google Analytics via custom dimensions. Some attributes are required to be send to GA while others are optional. For example in case of Retail vertical, the only attribute that is required to be send to Google Analytics is ‘ecomm_prodid’ (i.e. the product ID).

Sending other retail attributes like:  ecomm_pagetype (type of page visited by a user like: product category page, product detail page etc) and ecomm_totalvalue are optional. You can get a complete list of all the required and optional attributes for each industry vertical from this article.

Creating custom dimensions in Google Analytics is a two step process:

#1 Set up custom dimensions in your GA property.

#2 Modify your tracking code.

You can learn more about creating custom dimensions from this article: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2709829#set_up_custom_dimensions

Following is the example of custom dimensions for sending attributes for the retail vertical to Google Analytics:

custom dimensions GA

After setting up these custom dimensions at the ‘HIt’ level, you need to modify your Google Analytics tracking code like the one below:

<script>

(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i[‘GoogleAnalyticsObject’]=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){

(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),

m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)

})(window,document,’script’,’//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js’,’ga’);

ga(‘create’, ‘UA-XXXXX-YY’, ‘auto’); // Insert your GA Web Property ID here, e.g., UA-12345-1

ga(‘require’,’displayfeatures’); // REQUIRED Enables Google Analytics Display Features

ga(‘set’,’dimension1′, <ecomm_prodid> ); // REQUIRED Product ID value, e.g., 12345, 67890

ga(‘set’,’dimension2′, <ecomm_pagetype> ); // Optional Page type value, e.g., home, cart, purchase

ga(‘set’,’dimension3′, <ecomm_totalvalue> ); // Optional Total value, e.g., 99.95, 5.00, 1500.00

ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’);

</script>

In this code, <ecomm_prodid>, <ecomm_pagetype> and <ecomm_totalvalue> are server variables.

Your developer need to write a server side script which can send viewed product data to these variables. Once the product data is passed to server variables, it will be available to Google Analytics via custom dimensions. Later Google Analytics send this product information to your Dynamic Remarketing campaign in Google Adwords via Dynamic attributes:

flow of product data

Step #6: Create your audience for Dynamic Remarketing in Google Analytics

There are two methods you can use to create dynamic remarketing audiences in Google Analytics:

  1. Create your remarketing audience based on new custom dimensions
  2. Import a pre configured remarketing audience related to your industry vertical into Google Analytics.

I will explain importing a pre-configured remarketing audience into Google Analytics.

Follow the steps below:

Step-1: Go this page https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/3457161?hl=en , scroll down to the section named ‘Import audiences preconfigured for your vertical’ and then click on the link related to your industry vertical to import pre configured remarketing audience into Google Analytics:import dynamic remarketing audience

Once you click on the link, you will see a dialog box like the one below:remarketing audience

Step-2: Select the Google analytics view in you which you want to import your audience and then select the Google Adwords account with which you want to share the dynamic remarketing audience data.

Note: Here ‘Cart viewers’, ‘General Visitors’, ‘Product Viewers’ and ‘Purchasers’ are the new dynamic remarketing audiences.

Step-3: Click on the ‘create’ button to complete the process of creating new dynamic remarketing audiences. You can now see the new dynamic remarketing audiences in the ‘Remarketing Audiences’ section of your GA view:

dynamic remarketing audiences examples

Note(1): These dynamic remarketing audiences are now also available in the linked Google Adwords account for retargeting.

Note(2): You can also use non-dynamic remarketing audiences for dynamic remarketing purpose.

Step #7: Create Dynamic Attributes in Google Analytics and link them to your adwords account

Through dynamic attributes Google Analytics can send the viewed product data to Google Adwords.

Follow the steps below to create dynamic attributes in your GA view:

Step-1: Go the ‘Admin’ section of your GA view and then click on the link ‘Dynamic Attributes’ under ‘Remarketing’:dynamic attributes

Step-2: Click on the ‘New Attribute’ button:new attribute button

Step-3: Select your business type (industry vertical), select the GA view in which the dynamic attributes should be available and then select the adwords account (from the ‘Sharing’ drop down menu) to which you want to link the dynamic attributes :dynamic attribute linking

Step-4: Click on the ‘Next Step’ button and then select the custom dimensions you created for your industry vertical:dynamic attributes

Here I have selected the three custom dimensions I created earlier for retail vertical. Once you clicked on the ‘save’ button, you can then see the new dynamic attribute listed in the dynamic attributes table:dynamic attribute table

Step #8: Create a Dynamic Remarketing campaign in Google Adwords

To create a dynamic remarketing campaign in Adwords follow the steps below:

Step-1: Login to your Google Adwords account, navigate to the ‘Campaigns’ tab, click on the ‘+campaign’ button and then click on ‘Display Network Only:display network only

Step-2: Enter the name of your new campaign and select the ‘Remarketing’ radio button:remarketing radio button

Step-3: Click on the ‘Use Dynamic Ads’ checkbox, select your industry category (in this case: Retail) from the drop down menu and then click on the ‘Setup Remarketing’ button:use dynamic ads

Step-4: Click on the ‘Use the Google Analytics tag instead of the Adwords remarketing tag’ checkbox (optional), uncheck the checkbox ‘send instructions by email (optional), click on the ‘continue’ button and then on the ‘Return to Campaign’ button:send tag instructions

Step-5: Select your Google Merchant center feed from the drop down menu, select your bid strategy and enter your daily budget:select product feed

Step-6: Proceed to create an ad group. Follow the steps below:

#6.1 Enter the name of your ad group and enter your enhanced CPC bid:

enhanced CPC

#6.2 Select the remarketing list you want to use as audience and then click on ‘save and continue’ button:

select remarketing list

Step-7: Proceed to an create an ad template by:

  • selecting the ad layout
  • uploading the business logo image
  • Ad headline text
  • Button text and color
  • and various other settings

Once you have completed the creation of dynamic remarketing campaign in Adwords, Google will then automatically create dozens of different types of display ads for you.

That’s how you can setup dynamic remarketing in Google Analytics and Google Adwords.

Related Articles: 

#1 Using Enhanced E-Commerce segments for Remarketing in Google Analytics

#2 100+ Google Analytics Remarketing audiences for Retargeting

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Himanshu Sharma

Certified web analyst and founder of OptimizeSmart.com

My name is Himanshu Sharma and I help businesses find and fix their Google Analytics and conversion issues. If you have any questions or comments please contact me.

  • Over eleven years' experience in SEO, PPC and web analytics
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