In this article I will explain what Google’s RLSA Ads are, why they are important and how you can take advantage of them; all in plain English and without any technical Jargon.

What are RLSA Ads?

Simply put, this is Remarketing for your standard text Ads (Search Ads).

Remarketing allows you to target potential customers who have visited your website and taken a specific action (e.g. added a product to their basket, but not continued to the checkout) and show them relevant image Ads when they visit other websites. In other words, to ‘remarket’ to them.


You may notice that if you visit a website and look at a product, then over the next month you will see pictures Ads on other unrelated websites advertising the original website and its products. It’s not a coincidence, it’s designed to work that way!

Effectively you build a list of these people to be targeted and this is your Remarketing List Audience.

Text Ads are the Ads that appear at the top and side of a standard result page on Google. These appear when the user’s search matches the advertisers list of pre chosen keywords.

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Your Text Ad Audience is anyone who types in a search that matches the keywords you are bidding on.


RLSA bundles these two ideas together.

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Has someone visited your website before? Are they also doing a search that matches one of the keywords you are using for text Ads?

If so, this will trigger your RLSA Ad, which will look just like a normal text Ad – but the magic has happened behind the scenes!

Why use RLSAs?

Because you are only showing these Ads to people who have already visited your website, you know they are interested. So you can:

  • target customers who have already visited your site with higher bids, so they will see your Ads in higher positions
  • drive existing customers to the site at a higher rate than 1st time visitors
  • use broader keywords searches to attract more people who have visited the site in the last 7 days.

How to use RSLAs

RLSA Ads will look the same as your other text Ads but you can change the Ad copy and also the bid price compared to a normal text Ad.

Why change the Ad copy?

If you know this searcher has been on your site before and hasn’t bought anything, why not tell them about the 10% off sale and include a special offer in the Ad copy?

As with any other type of Remarketing, the visitor didn’t do business with you the first time around, so you need to give them an extra incentive to do business this time around. As the famous saying goes “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Why change the bid price?

You know the potential customer has been on your site, for example, for more than 30 minutes without making a purchase, so they must be pretty interested. Changing the bid price makes sure your Ad appears above others for this highly engaged user.

Studies by Google show that RLSA Ads are 2 times as likely to convert as normal text Ads. This is a good reason to increase your bid price a little.

The Ads won’t look any different to the searcher. But their true power lies in your knowledge that the viewer has already shown an interest in your products and you know what they did on your website – so you can target precisely their needs based on that knowledge.

Setting up RLSAs

If you want a detailed step by step guide, this is a useful link from Google:

But here is a brief summary of what to do:

You will need to make sure your website has remarketing code on it. If not you will have to insert it onto your site. See the guide here.

You will then have to create your audience lists inside your AdWords user interface. This can be done in the shared library. Good ideas for lists would be:

  • All visitors list, that will contain every person who has visited your website
  • Checkout abandoners list, that will contain the people who started the checkout process on your site but never completed it
  • Shopping basket list, that contains people who have added items to the basket on your site but haven’t completed any other actions

All the lists above are easy to set up and work well for RLSA Ads. Here is a guide from Google:

Then you will have to decide which existing text Ad campaign you want to use with your RLSA Ads, or decide to create new ones from scratch. Guide here:

Now, assuming your list is large enough (Minimum 1000), your RLSA Ads will be up and running.

To find out if RLSA Ads would work for your business click here for your FREE 30-minute assessment