December 12, 2016

Smart Lists Remarketing – Google Analytics

Smart Lists Remarketing

Google Adwords Smart Lists retargeting: are they right for your website? Everyone knows what retargeting audience means, right? Well, for those of you who don’t , retargeting or remarketing is showing ads to users who have already visited your website.


Adwords Smart Lists can generate awesome results, you should definitely use it.


Remarketing has been around for a long time now and almost all ad providers that I know have an option of either remarketing or marketing based on customer lists. The thing with this kind of advertising is that when you create a remarketing list, you include everyone that visited your website or performed some action on it.

This can be an issue, because sometimes a user entered your e-commerce just to see some pictures or a description of a product, with no actual intention of buying anything (‘it’ could mean your website).

By the way, make sure you check our post about key metrics to track user engagement.

When you retarget to an audience like that, you will be paying to show ads to user that have a very low or zero chance of buying your goods. That’s where Google Adwords Smart Lists come in.


I truly believe that smart lists are an Adwords remarketing revolution. Here’s why:
Smart lists are generated by analyzing several signals like user browser, referrer, device, location, page depth, visit duration and much more. Those signals are then interpreted by a model that predicts which of the remarketing list are more likely to convert on a next visit to the the website.

Machine learning here is essential because it analyzes either your website data, if you have at least 500 monthly e-commerce transactions and 10,000 daily pageviews, or data from similar business that have accepted to share anonymized data.

All this means that your ads will be shown only to users that are highly likely to buy your goods the next time they visit your website.


It’s awesome, really. Some websites saw RPCs (Revenue Per Click) more than 500% higher than using standard retargeting lists or custom audiences. Obviously, the average result is more modest than this, but it’s definitely worth trying.


It’s easy. On Google Analytics select the Admin tab on top. Then under Property scroll down to Audience Definitions and click on Audiences. Click on New Audience, select your website view and Adwords account. Then, if you selected Smart List you will be able to see roughly how many users passed through your website over the last 7 days. After this you just need to give your audience a name and hit Save. You’re all set here.


Go to Admin tab on Google Analytics, under Property scroll down to Audience Definitions and click on Audiences.

Google Analytics Smart Lists - Step 1



On the next screen click on +New Audience.

Google Analytics Smart Lists - Step 2


Now you need to select your website view, destination account (Adwords), and click on Next Step.

Google Analytics Smart Lists - Step 3


Chose Smart List and click Save.

Google Analytics Smart Lists - Step 4


On this last screen you can see the amount of website users over the last 7 days, chose a membership duration, give your audience a name and hit Save.

Google Analytics Smart Lists Step 5

Head over Adwords and you should see this list in your Shared Library available to be used on any of your Google Display remarketing campaigns.


We have seen a lot of wonderful results around the web, also our clients have more than doubled their ROI on Adwords using smart lists. Setting up is easy and there are absolutely no downsides to trying this out. We will love to know your results, feel free to share your thoughts with us!

Have a question? Use the comments section below!