Recommendation System at Google AdWords

Google AdWords remarketing feature developed a lot in the past years. Nowadays we are able to setup well-targeted remarketing campaigns and based on campaign metrics they are running really well. Different remarketing list creation rules like URL based rule, tag based rule or custom combination rule allow us to create specific segments and reach visitors with the right messages. On the other hand this logic has a limitation, let me explain with an example why I consider this limitation.

Let’s say we have a classified website for used car listing and I want to reach those visitors who didn’t send an email to my advertisers. To define this segment is really easy, because I just need to exclude converted visitors, but what will my message? Visit and lead them to the main page? It’s too general, my past visitors won’t click on this ad. So what will be the next step to segment my past visitors who didn’t convert?


We need to use a segmentation criteria, I recommend to choose the brand name. In this case I will know about my past visitor who didn’t convert that he is interested in about a BMW, so I can create a remarketing ad for BMW and I am going to lead him on BMW landing page. Probably he is interested in a BMW 320, but on the landing page will contain many other types of BMWs, so landing page relevancy won’t be the best for him. Let’s dig deeper to serve him with more relevant ad and more relevant landing page.


That means we need to use model number as a second criteria, so we are going to come up with BMW 320 ad and we will show BMW 320 cars on landing page. It seems we created a good remarketing system which is true, but we have many other opportunities what we can not serve with this system.


Currently we can use only a standard banner or text ad for BMW 320, but imagine that how effective would be if we can come up with exact items and our ad will contain the brand, model number, price and exact picture of this car and this item list is up to date. That would be more impressive, because that is an ad with an exact offer instead of a general ad for a specific segment.

Furthermore many customers don’t have a brand preferences, they just want to buy a 4 year old car with a 20,000 dollar price. How can I target this segment with a remarketing campaign? It would be too difficult to setup a remarketing campaign at AdWords for each criteria like brand, model, fuel type, price, year, vehicle type, etc. That is the point where recommendation system will help us to run effective remarketing campaigns.

If you want to run ads served by a recommendation system that means you are going to use third party ads at Google AdWords. You can not upload third party ads on AdWords interface, first you need to choose a vendor who has an agreement with Google and they are allowed to upload third party ads. Currently I am using Gravity’s recommendation system and I have a great experience with this vendor.

When you sign up for a recommendation system you need to share your database with vendor, so they will know all necessary information about your items in real-time, so you won’t come up ads with deleted items and you can also show your latest items. Then you need to implement a code to your website (similar like AdWords remarketing code), so your vendor can track your each visitor user behaviour to show personalized ads.

If you setup everything with your vendor and your recommendation based ads are ready to launch Google will implement third party ads to your AdWords account. You can handle this ad like a text or a banner ad, so you will able to use all AdWords features with extremely relevant ad thanks to your new recommendation system.

You only need to create a general remarketing campaign what we discussed at the beginning of this blog post. Exclude your converted visitors, so you will target those past visitors who didn’t convert on your website, but recommendation system will take care about to create personalized ads based on each visitor preferences.

If you have a classified or an ecommerce website where you have thousands of items with many criteria and you want to increase your remarketing campaign effectiveness I recommend to use a recommendation system. Since this topic is quite complex and probably you have some question about this solution, feel free to post it as a comment!


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