Real Estate Remarketing

Have you ever seen an ad about a website what you visited before? I guess your answer is yes. That’s an important part of a performance marketing campaign called remarketing. When a user previously visited your site, the ad network marks that user and you can target him with your ads. Remarketing is available on Google AdWords and Facebook, now we will discuss about the Google AdWords remarketing campaign.

How remarketing works at real estate listings?

Remember what we discussed as a goal for a real estate performance marketing campaign? Within a given budget maximize our leads. Leads mean conversion in digital marketing.

OK, so the goal is clear, but how we can reach our goal? What is the good strategy to setup a remarketing campaign for real estate listings?

The most important word is segmentation. Let me show you two different example and you will understand why.

We know that we could target previous visitors of our website. If I handle all website visitors as one segment, that will a general segment without any specific attribute. As result I could use only a general ad copy like this.


Let’s see the other option. Segment our visitors based on property type.

Segment 1 – Apartments

Segment 2 – Condos

Segment 3 – Houses


In this case you could create more relevant ad copies, which will be more relevant to your previous website visitor. As result you will generate higher amount of clicks since click-through rate will be higher.

Segment 1 – Apartments


Segment 2 – Condos


Segment 3 – Houses


Keep in mind your remarketing campaign will be effective for your real estate listings if you create specific segments and you use specific ad copies for these segments. Google AdWords uses Audience or Remarketing List for a segment. Let’s learn how to create and use remarketing lists for our real estate campaign.

Create remarketing list at Google AdWords

After you have logged in to your Google AdWords account click on Shared library ->Audiences -> Remarketing list -> Website visitors. In the new window fill out the Remarketing list name. We will create a remarketing list for each property type, start with apartment now, so name it as “Apartment visitors”. At the next field your will see “Enter a value” text, type in “apartment” and click on the first option which says URL contains apartment. As a results you need to see this filled form.


Click on the save button. Continue this process until you add all of your property type what you have on your website. Note that this solution works only that case if your listing page URLs contain property type, but majority of real estate websites handle this.

When you are ready with remarketing lists, you need to use them in your Google AdWords campaign. You can add your remarketing list on ad group level to your campaign.

If you have any question about setting up a remarketing campaign for your real estate company, feel free to leave me a comment or email me.

Dynamic remarketing vs. recommendation system

Dynamic remarketing for ecommerce

Dynamic remarketing was available for shopping campaigns at AdWords, so only ecommerce sites could use dynamic remarketing feature. I have managed many ecommerce website’s AdWords account where I used dynamic remarketing and usually I reached higher ROI than account average. Since dynamic remarketing shows exact item details in ads, AdWords needs to use a standard feed with item parameters. For an ecommerce website that is not a big deal to create a product feed what you can upload to Google Merchant Center which serves your dynamic remarketing campaign at AdWords with product feed.

dynamic remarketing

Dynamic remarketing for classified websites

That looks great and solution is not too complex, but what happens if I am managing a travel agency PPC campaign and I would like to use dynamic remarketing? I can not upload my offer feed to Google Merchant Center, however my offer feed contains some similar parameters like price. As another example what could be the solution if I have a real estate agency, I have a listing feed about real properties, but I can not run a dynamic remarketing campaign. Until September we had to accept this situation that we can run dynamic remarketing only for ecommerce sites, but we had another option, we had to use a recommendation system.

What is recommendation system?

In my previous blogpost I explained what is a recommendation system and why that is useful. As I described if non-ecommerce website wanted to show exact item details in their ads instead of general ads they need to use a recommendation system. For example I have a car listing website. Visitor A visited a details page of BMW 530d and visitor B visited details page of BMW 328i. In a remarketing campaign I could create a BMW banner ad and show it to both visitor, but it would be better to show BMW 530d cars to visitor A and BMW 328i cars to visitor B in my ads.

Dynamic remarketing for other industries

Google rolled out dynamic remarketing in this September for many other industries, so they provide marketers with similar solution like many other recommendation system vendors have developed. Furthermore if you want to use a recommendation system vendor service you have to pay for that. On the other hand dynamic remarketing is a free service at AdWords.

Dynamic remarketing vs. recommendation system

So if I am using a recommendation system vendor service do I need to change to dynamic remarketing, because that provides me with a similar service for free? We can not say that now?

  • We don’t have any A/B test result where we ran a recommendation system vs. dynamic remarketing, so we don’t have any data about ROI.

  • You have more flexibility to create ad layout if you work with a recommendation system vendor

  • If you don’t spend all of your digital marketing budget on AdWords you need to keep in mind dynamic remarketing is only available on AdWords. You need to serve personalized ads at other ad networks.

In the next few weeks I will work on to setup an A/B test for dynamic remarketing and recommendation system and I am going to share results with you.

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!

AdWords Remarketing Tips with URL Based Rules

Get out the most from remarketing

During the past few weeks I have seen many new AdWords accounts and I realized more and more clients have started to use remarketing finally. On the other hand I also realized many issue with remarketing setup, so my concern is these remarketing campaigns won’t be effective, clients will be disappointed and they will stop their remarketing campaigns with a conclusion, remarketing campaign doesn’t make sense at all.

Today I am going to show you how to avoid this situation and be successful on remarketing field to dominate in your industry, use smarter solutions then your competitor. Just one more comment before practical remarketing tips, I have some clients where we have better performance at display remarketing campaign than general search network campaign.

Segment your audience

Many advertiser think remarketing means that I implement a remarketing code, then I am going to show text ads or image ads for those visitors who have visited my site. This is too general and also ignore essential marketing strategies like segmenting and target a segment with the right message. Let me show you an example.

audience segmentationI visited a digital marketing agency website and I wanted to get more details about custom design creation for WordPress service. Later I will see a common banner ad about company website, but that would be more effective if they show me a banner about custom design for WordPress. Also if another visitor has visited URLs about PPC management, he needs to get ads about PPC management instead of common banner ad about digital marketing agency.

Create URL based remarketing lists – remarketing tip #1

Creating URL based remarketing lists are not a big deal, so you can setup within couple of minutes. Just click on the left side Shared library then click on Audience and you will able to create a new remarketing list with +Remarketing List button. But what is the tip here which is really important? Right structure.

remarketing list 1

Take a look on your website structure and find the right level of segmentation. If you don’t drill down enough, your remarketing lists/segmented audience will to broad, you won’t have a specific message which will work efficiently. On the other hand if you go down too specific, you will reach a technical limitation. Each remarketing list needs to reach at least 100 marked visitors to go live with a remarketing list. Unless you have a huge website you will never reach this limit, so whole remarketing strategy won’t work. Each website is different, but I am sure about you will find the right level of segmentation which fits with AdWords limits, but keeps effectiveness.

Exclude converted visitors – remarketing tip #2

Still a common issue if I buy something what I am not going to buy again soon (like a laptop or a smartphone), remarketing ads still visible after purchase. This is not an effective way of targeting your audience, because advertiser is only wasting his money for nothing, furthermore that could be a negative impressions for customers if advertiser still forces a product or service after purchase. That could cause a spammy feeling. So how we can avoid that? Solution is pretty easy.

adwords remarketing tips 5

You need to create a new URL based remarketing list with your thank you page URL. Let’s say this is the thank you page of your checkout process or form submission. Then you need to create a new remarketing list with custom combination which will include product page remarketing list and exclude thank you page remarketing list.

adwords remarketing tips 6

Upselling with AdWords remarketing – remarketing tip #3

I am offering a web based service and you can signup for 6 months. I don’t want to be tricky to charge next period without your permission, so I need to convince you before expiration date to continue my service. If I would use URL based remarketing I will target you immediately, but I would like to target you after 5 months, because this is the key period to continue my service. As a marketer what I can do to target a specific audience, not immediately, only after a scheduled period? We have solutions for this!

Create remarketing list A with these parameters

  • add a part of your product/service specific URL
  • add a part of your thank you page URL
  • setup membership duration for 180 days


Create remarketing list B with exactly the same parameters what we used at remarketing list A, but use 150 days for membership duration. To be honest that will more precisely if we would use AdWords tag to determine what your customer had bought, but that is OK now. Here comes the magic.

Create remarketing list C which will our real remarketing list. We will include remarketing list A and we will exclude remarketing list B, so you will able to target your audience only at the last month before expiration.

remarketing list 3

These tips show again how little smart things could increase our digital marketing effectiveness. I recommend to track you remarketing campaign performance with Google Analytics, so you can make you sure you are on the right way with your AdWords remarketing campaign.

If you get stuck somewhere feel free to post a quesiton, so you won’t loose the opportunity to increase your remarketing campaign performance.