Setting up Dynamic Remarketing via Dynamic Attributes in Google Analytics

About Remarketing

Remarketing is a technique which is used to re-target people who left your website and/or mobile app 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 re-targeted 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 and more effective 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 solutions provided by Google.

Google Remarketing Solutions

Google provides different types of remarketing solutions like:

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

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

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

#4 Video Remarketing – It involves re-targeting people who watched your videos or YouTube channel.

#5 Customer List Remarketing – It involves re-targeting people who are in your contact list.

In this article, I will explain only Dynamic Remarketing and that too via Dynamic Attributes in Google Analytics.

What is ‘Dynamic’ in Dynamic Remarketing?

In the case of dynamic remarketing, Google automatically create re-targeted ads for your website visitors which are based on the actual product (or related products) or services they viewed on your website.

Google predicts which dynamic ad layout is likely to perform best for a particular person, placement and platform on the basis of a machine learning algorithm called the ‘AdWords product recommendation engine‘.

Types of remarketing ads in Google Adwords

There are two types of remarketing ads in Google Adwords:

#1 Standard Google Display ads (used is standard remarketing)

#2 Dynamic Google Display ads (used in dynamic remarketing)

Introduction to Dynamic Ads

Dynamic ads (or Dynamic Display Ads) are type of Google Adwords display ads whose layout is based on the template you created while setting up dynamic remarketing campaign in Google Adwords.

The actual product information (like product price, product image etc) is dynamically created and inserted into the ads by Google during run time.

Because of that reason, dynamic ads can scale with your products or services.

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Introduction to Data Feed

Google pull the latest information for creating the dynamic ads via the most recent data feed uploaded to Google Adwords or the most recent product feed uploaded to Google Merchant center account.

A data feed is a collection of all the products or services you want to advertise.

It is made up of rows and columns.

Each row represents a product/service.

Each column represents an attribute (like program ID, location ID, Programme name etc) of the item you have listed in the feed.

Following is an example of a data feed:

Feeds are created as a .csv, .tsv, .xls or .xlsx file and then uploaded to Google AdWords.

However if the industry category that best represents your products is ‘retail’ then you would need to use Google Merchant Center to upload your product feed.

Since feeds are created as as a .csv, .tsv, .xls or .xlsx file they are actually database of products/services you want to advertise via dynamic ads.

Note: If you are a retain business then you would need a Google Merchant center account and live product feed before you can run dynamic remarketing campaigns for your online store via Google Adwords.

Introduction to business types

In the context of Google dynamic remarketing, business type is that industry category that best represents the products/services you sell.

Google has its own set of pre-defined business types:

  1. Education
  2. Flights
  3. Hotels and Rentals
  4. Jobs
  5. Local deals
  6. Property
  7. Retail
  8. Travel

Dynamic remarketing setup varies from one business type to another.

So selecting the best business type before setting up dynamic remarketing campaigns is critically important.

Types of Data Feeds

Google provides different types of feeds for different business types.

Following are the different types of feeds provided by Google:

  1. Education feed
  2. Flights feed
  3. Hotels and Rentals feed
  4. Jobs feed
  5. Local deals feed
  6. Property feed
  7. Retail feed (also known as product feed)
  8. Travel feed
  9. Custom feed

If the ‘education’ business type best represents the products/services you sell then you would create and upload ‘education feed’ to Google Adwords.

If the ‘flights’ business type best represents the products/services you sell then you would create and upload ‘flights feed’ to Google Adwords.

Similarly, if the ‘Hotels and Rental’ business type best represents the products/services you sell then you would create and upload ‘Hotels and Rental feed’ to Google Adwords.

However if the ‘retail’ business type best represents the products/services you sell then you would create and upload ‘product feed’ to Google Merchant Center (instead of Google Adwords).

If any of the aforementioned business types do not apply to your products/services then Google recommends that you use the custom feed.

Note: Use the ‘Custom feed’ only if the other business types don’t apply to your products/services.

Introduction to Specifications

A data feed is made up of rows and columns.

Each row represents a product/service.

Each column represents an attribute of the item you have listed in the feed.

Google has set up rules regarding how each attribute should be written/used.

These rules are called ‘specifications’. Each attribute comes with its own specification.

For example, if your industry category is ‘education’ then following are the specifications for using the Programme ID and Location ID attributes:

The value of an attribute must match its corresponding specification otherwise your data feed will throw error.

Introduction to Feed Template

Different types of data feeds have got different attributes.

Some attributes are required to be submitted via data feed. While some attributes are optional to use.

However it is not easy to remember which attributes are required, which are optional and what types of attributes to use for a particular data feed.

Here feed templates provided by Google comes handy.

Follow the steps below to find and download the feed template relevant for your business type:

Step-1: Navigate to https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/6053288

Step-2: Scroll down the page and then click on your business type:

Step-3: Click on the download feed link (for example: Education feed template (download CSV)):

Step-4: Open the ‘csv’ file in excel, enter all of the required data in the format outlined by the feed template.

Step-5: Upload the data feed to Google Adwords. If you are retail business then you upload the product feed to Google Merchant Center.

Overview of setting up Dynamic remarketing via Dynamic Attributes in Google Analytics

Following steps are involved in setting up Dynamic remarketing via Dynamic Attributes in Google Analytics:

#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 Create, upload and troubleshoot your product data feed.

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

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

#7 Create your audience for Dynamic Remarketing in Google Analytics

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

#9 Create a Dynamic Remarketing campaign in Google Adwords

Step #1: Identify your business type

Identify the business type that best represents the products/services you sell.

Dynamic remarketing setup varies from one business type to another.

So selecting the most appropriate business type before setting up dynamic remarketing campaigns is critically important.

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

In order to create and use remarketing audiences in Google Analytics, you would first need to enable ‘Advertising Reporting Features’ for your GA property.

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

Changing the GA property settings is the preferred method of enabling Remarketing and Advertising Reporting Features.

If you want to enable Remarketing Lists for Search Ads, you would need to use the property settings method.

Option-1: Change your GA property settings

Step-2.1: Navigate to the ‘Admin’ section of your Google Analytics view.

Step-2.2: Click on Tracking Info > Data Collection (under Property column):

Step-2.3: Set ‘Remarketing’ and ‘Advertising Reporting Features’ to ON:

Step-2.4: Click on the ‘Save’ button.

Option-2: Customize your Google Analytics Tracking Code

The other method to enable ‘Advertising Reporting Features’ for your GA property is by inserting the following line of code in your Google Analytics tracking code:

{ ‘allow_display_features’: true }

Your final Google Analytics tracking code may look like the one below:

<!– Global site tag (gtag.js) – Google Analytics –>
<script async src=”https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtag/js?id=UA-1123456-78″></script>
<script>
window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];
function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}
gtag(‘js’, new Date());

gtag(‘config’, ‘UA-1123456-78’, { ‘allow_display_features’: true });

</script>

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

You would need to link your GA property to your Google Adwords account so that:

#1 You can use the remarketing audiences created in Google Analytics, in Google Adwords remarketing campaign.

#2 You can send viewed product data from Google Analytics to Google Adwords via dynamic attributes.

Follow the steps outlined in this help article, in order to link your GA property to your Google Adwords account: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033961

Step #4: Create, upload and troubleshoot your product data feed.

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

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 create, upload and troubleshoot your product data feed, follow the steps below:

Step-4.1: Sign up / Login to Google Merchant Center account: https://www.google.com/retail/solutions/merchant-center/

Step-4.2: Navigate to Products > Feeds and then click on the ‘+’ button to create your primary feed:

Create Product data feed according to Google’s product feed specification and Google shopping ads policies.

Step-4.3: 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 ads policies).

Step #5: 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.

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

Step-5.1: Login to Google Merchant Center account.

Step-5.2: Click on the ‘Account Linking’ in your Google Merchant Center account:

Step-5.3: Click on the ‘Link account’ button, enter your adwords customer ID and then click on ‘send link request’ button:

 

Step-5.4: 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 #6: 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.

Through custom dimensions you can send attributes for your business types to Google Analytics.

The custom dimensions you create and the attributes you send depend upon your business type and the user action.

For example, if your industry is retail, then you would need to send attributes like product ID, product title, product description etc to Google Analytics via custom dimensions.

If your industry is travel, then you would need to send attributes like Origin ID, Destination ID etc to Google Analytics via custom dimensions.

Similarly, for industry like Property, you would 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 business type, 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 Google Analytics 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 business type to Google Analytics:

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

<!– Global site tag (gtag.js) – Google Analytics –>
<script async src=”https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtag/js?id=UA-1123456-78″></script>
<script>
window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];
function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}
gtag(‘js’, new Date());

gtag(‘config’, ‘UA-1123456-78’, {‘custom_map’: {‘dimension1’: ‘ecomm_prodid’,’dimension2′: ‘ecomm_pagetype’,’dimension3′: ‘ecomm_totalvalue’}});

// Send the custom dimensions to Google Analytics

gtag(‘event’, ‘Ecomm Product ID’, {‘ecomm_prodid’: <ecomm_prodid>}); // REQUIRED Product ID value, e.g., 12345, 67890
gtag(‘event’, ‘Ecomm Page Type’, {‘ecomm_pagetype’: <ecomm_pagetype>}); // Optional Page type value, e.g., home, cart, purchase
gtag(‘event’, ‘Ecomm Total Value’, {‘ecomm_totalvalue’: <ecomm_totalvalue>}); // Optional Total value, e.g., 99.95, 5.00, 1500.00

</script>

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

Your developer will 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.

For example:

<!– Global site tag (gtag.js) – Google Analytics –>
<script async src=”https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtag/js?id=UA-1123456-78″></script>
<script>
window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];
function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}
gtag(‘js’, new Date());

gtag(‘config’, ‘UA-1123456-78’,{‘custom_map’: {‘dimension1’: ‘ecomm_prodid’,’dimension2′: ‘ecomm_pagetype’,’dimension3′: ‘ecomm_totalvalue’}});

       // Send the custom dimensions to Google Analytics

gtag(‘event’, ‘Ecomm Product ID’, {‘ecomm_prodid’: 12345}); // REQUIRED Product ID value, e.g., 12345, 67890
gtag(‘event’, ‘Ecomm Page Type’, {‘ecomm_pagetype’: ‘Thank you Page‘}); // Optional Page type value, e.g., home, cart, purchase
gtag(‘event’, ‘Ecomm Total Value’, {‘ecomm_totalvalue’: 1500}); // Optional Total value, e.g., 99.95, 5.00, 1500.00

</script>

Later Google Analytics send this product information to your Dynamic Remarketing campaign in Google Adwords via Dynamic attributes:

flow of product data

Step #7: 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 preconfigured remarketing audience related to your business type into Google Analytics.

I will explain importing a preconfigured remarketing audience into Google Analytics as it is technically easier to implement for majority of people.

Follow the steps below:

Step-1: Navigate to this page https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/3457161?hl=en.

Step-2: Scroll down to the section named Import audiences preconfigured for your vertical

Step-3: Click on the link related to your business type (in our case it is retail) in order to import preconfigured remarketing audience into Google Analytics:

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

Step-4: Select the Google analytics view in you which you want to import your audience.

As soon as a view is selected the ‘Selected Product Account‘ drop down menu will become enabled:

Step-5: Select the Google Adwords account (with which you want to share the dynamic remarketing audience data) from the ‘selected product Account’ drop down menu.

As soon as the Google Adwords account is selected the various remarketing audiences fields in the dialog box will auto populate with data:

Step-6: 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 ‘Audiences’ section of your GA view:

Note(1): Here ‘Cart viewers’, ‘General Visitors’, ‘Product Viewers’ and ‘Purchasers’ are the new dynamic remarketing audiences.

Note(2): These dynamic remarketing audiences are now also available in the linked Google Adwords account for retargeting under Tools menu > Audience Manager > Audience List:

Note(3): You can also use non-dynamic remarketing audiences for dynamic remarketing purpose.

Step #8: 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: Navigate to the ‘Admin’ section of your GA view and then click on the link ‘Dynamic Attributes’ under ‘Audiences Definitions’:

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

 

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

Step-4: Click on the ‘Next Step’ button and then select the custom dimensions you created for your business type:

Here I have selected the three custom dimensions I created earlier for retail business type.

Once you clicked on the ‘save’ button, you can then see the new dynamic attribute listed in the dynamic attributes table:

Step #9: 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 and then click on the ‘+campaign’ button:

Step-2: Select ‘Display’ as campaign type.

Step-3: Select ‘sales’ as goal and then follow the on screen instructions.

Step-4: Under the budget section, click on the ‘Additional Settings link:

Step-5: Click on the ‘Dynamic ads’ row:

Step-6: Click on the checkbox ‘Use a data feed for personalized ads’ and select ‘Retail‘ from the Business Type drop down menu:

Step-7: Select the remarketing list you want to use as audience:

Step-8: Follow other on screen instructions and then 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

Step-9: Upload your product feed when your campaign is ready.

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

That’s how you can setup dynamic remarketing via dynamic attributed in Google Analytics.

Learn about the Google Analytics Usage Trends Tool

The Google Analytics usage trend is a new tool which is used to visualise trends in your Google Analytics data and to perform trend analysis.


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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
  • Google Analytics certified
  • Google AdWords certified
  • Nominated for Digital Analytics Association Award for Excellence
  • Bachelors degree in Internet Science
  • Founder of OptimizeSmart.com and EventEducation.com

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