How to set up a Google Ads remarketing campaign (step-by-step walkthrough!)

In this 8-minute read:

  • What is remarketing?
  • What to do before you start
  • Complete how-to guide for setting up your Google Ads remarketing campaign

If you’re looking for a way to enhance your digital advertising playbook, you need to hear about remarketing. It’s the perfect way to target people who have visited your website and are already showing interest in your services. 

With Womply Email Marketing, you can turn customers into regulars and get more repeat business with targeted emails that send automatically when customers transact with you. Learn more when you sign up for Womply Free!

What is remarketing on Google Ads?

Remarketing is a way that you can set up your Google Ads to target customers who have already visited your website. This is a great way to capture leads that didn’t quite make it all the way through the sales funnel to make their purchase or that didn’t pick up the phone to call you. 

You can target specific pages on your website, like for a specific product you are pushing or a free trial you want customers to sign up for. Set up your remarketing tag on the page you want to see more business from and create your ads around that. More on how to do this soon.

You might also like: What is a remarketing campaign and how can it help my small business?

What to do before you set up your Google Ads remarketing campaign?

There are a couple of important steps you should take before diving into and creating your remarketing campaign. 

  1. What page(s) are you going to track? You need to determine your goals for the campaign and determine whether there’s a specific page that you want to target visitors from or if you want to target your entire site
  2. If you are going to run a display remarketing campaign (which we highly recommend that you do), then you’re doing to needs image assets to upload to your campaign. In the image below you can find Google Ad’s supported sizes and formats. We recommend creating at least one in each style: Square and rectangle, Leaderboard, Skyscraper and Mobile. 

How to set up a Google Ads remarketing campaign

Let’s dive in. 

Step 1: Sign into your Google Ads account

Go to and click “Start now” or “Sign in.” If you have a Google account for your business, we recommend using that to sign in here. 

Step 2: Create a remarketing audience

Before you get into the creation of your ads and campaign, you’ll want to set up your audience for the campaign. 

To do this, go to “Tools & Settings” in the top menu bar and click on “Audience manager” under “Shared Library.”

Click the blue plus icon on the left to create a new audience.  

To set up a remarketing audience from your website, click “Website visitors.”

Name your audience something that indicates what this audience is for: remarketing audience, “product name” remarketing audience,” website visitors, etc. 

Under “List members,” you can show how you want to target your website visitors. The options here are:

  • Visitors of a page (this works for your entire website too)
  • Visitors of a page who also visited another page
  • Visitors of a page who did not visit another page
  • Visitors of a page during specific dates (great during holiday specials)
  • Visitors of a page with specific tags

To keep your first remarketing campaign simple and learn how it works, we recommend starting with “Visitors of a page.” This will allow you to target a specific page or multiple pages on your website. 

Next, set the rules for your visited page. This is where you can specify the URL that you want to track. If you want to target your entire website, you could enter your home page URL into the blank field, like or even just your domain.

To target specific pages, enter the URLS for each of those pages. If you are entering multiple pages, make sure to click “OR” and not “AND” or Google will only target those visitors who visited all of the pages you entered. 

Once you do this, you may see this notice: “Your audience doesn’t have any members. Try adjusting your rules and check the ‘Audience list size’ panel.” 

That is fine because you are creating a new audience. You’ll have to build up this audience from your website before your ads can start showing. Generally, an audience needs 100 members within the last 30 days before display ads will start showing and 1,000 members within the last 30 days before search ads will start showing. 

Finish up your audience by filling out the last three options. 

Under “Pre-fill options” you can choose to start from an empty list or start grabbing people who have visited your website in the last 30 days. If there’s still a cookie on their browser, the tag you add to your website can track them. We recommend the latter because it helps you grow your audience and deliver your ads quicker. 

Under “Membership duration” you can choose how long you want to display your ads to any given audience member–how long they’ll stay in the audience group. The maximum duration is 540 days, but a good rule of thumb is 30-60 days. You don’t want to annoy your potential customers with the same ads over and over again for months on end. 

You can also add a description to your audience if desired. This is helpful if you have multiple people working in the same Google Ads account so they know what that audience entails. 

Click “Create Audience.” 

Step 3: Add the tag for your audience to your website

Your audience won’t start to build until you add a tag for audiences on your website. To grab this tag, go to your Audience Manager and click “Audience sources” on the left. 

Click “Set Up Tag” under Google Ads tag. 

On the next page, check “Only collect general website visit data to show ads to your website visitors.” This is good for a basic website visit remarketing campaign. 

You might also check to “Exclude California users from remarketing lists,” especially if you don’t have customers in California. This is to avoid violating the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). 

Learn more about why in our article about the CCPA here: CCPA compliance: 8 things every small business should know 

Click “Save and continue.”

Next, choose how you will install the tag on your website. You can install the tag yourself, email it to your web developer, or use Google Tag Manager. Click “Continue.”

Once the tag is installed, your audience will start building and you can start showing your ads. 

Step 4: Create your remarketing campaign

Now go back to the main dashboard for your Google Ads account and create your campaign. Select “Campaigns” in the left menu and then click the blue plus icon. 

Select “New campaign.”

Next you’ll have to select a goal. For a display campaign, you can select sales, leads, website traffic, product and brand consideration, brand awareness and reach, or to create a campaign without a goal’s guidance. 

We’re going to select “Brand awareness and reach” for this guide. 

Once you’ve selected your goal, select the type of campaign you want to create. Again, we will be creating a display campaign. 

Enter your website into the field that appears. Be sure to include the https:// before it. Click “Continue.”

Now, fill out the settings for your campaign on this next page. 

Name your campaign.

Select your location. To target at a local level, click enter another location and enter what areas you want to target.

Also, be sure to check the location options. Make sure that you select “Presence: People in or regularly in your targeted locations” to ensure that your audience is relevant to your business. 

You can leave bidding as “Viewable impressions” for remarketing display campaigns. Conversions is another option if you are trying to track specific actions that your customers take. But this guide shows instructions for “Viewable impressions.”

Enter the average that you want to spend each day. You may just have to experiment with this amount based on the results that you see from your ads. Take your monthly budget for this campaign and divide it by 30.4 to get your daily amount. 

Leave the “Ad rotation” as “Optimize: Prefer best performing ads.”

If you only want your ads to run during specific times, you can set a schedule for them. For a display campaign that brings customers back to your website, we recommend leaving this open 24/7. 

Select the dates that you want your ads to start and end, or leave it open to run indefinitely. 

Create your ad group by giving it a name. 

Next, add your audience that you created earlier. Click “Browse.” 

Then click “How they have interacted with your business.”

Click “Website visitors” and then find and select the audience that you created. Ours is titled “Website Visitors.”

You can also add any additional demographics as you see fit for your target audience. 

Now you can upload your image ads that you created by clicking + New Ad. 

Click “Upload display ads” to add your images. You can also select “Responsive display ad” if you want the ability to enter additional copy for your ad. 

Upload your files and click “Add To Ad Group.” Repeat this for as many ads as you’d like to create. 

Once you’ve finished uploading your ads, click “Create Campaign” and watch as your audience grows and your ads start running. 

Maintain customer relationships with email marketing

As your ads start to see results and you get new customers, get an email campaign in place to help maintain your relationships with these new customers. Send them fun deals, reminders about upcoming announcements, and more. 

With Womply’s email marketing engine, you can automate your email campaign and tailor the messages to your audience. 

Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!

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