The Most Common Mistake When Setting Up Your Remarketing Campaign


As a digital marketer, one of the most fundamental strategies in any of your campaigns is targeting. Who do you want to see the ad and ideally make a purchase or request more information? Thanks to the intelligent (and what some consider creepy) machinations of Google, ad targeting can be set to very diverse and specific sectors of your audience.

As a Google AdWords Certified Partner, I work in Google’s Search and Display Networks every day. While Google Search can be explained quite simply – I try to get your ads to appear when users type search terms that I specify – the Display Network is a little trickier to grasp. Arguably the hardest part to set up with precision is the array of targeting methods available.

Remarketing Refresher

I’ve written about remarketing on this blog in the past, but here’s a refresher. Remarketing occurs when a user visits a website and has their browser tagged with a cookie. Then, once they migrate away from that initial site, they’ll start to see a targeted banner ad on certain sites they visit. The idea is that this user will have a regular reminder of the site they were visiting, hopefully return, and if we’re really lucky, complete a conversion (sign-up for a mailing list, purchase a product, etc.). In this way, remarketing benefits both parties: the advertiser knows that they are targeting people that have shown an initial interest in their products/services, and the user gets a customized web experience where the ads they see are relevant to their interests.

Crucial Setting: Target & Bid

The most common mistake made when setting up a Remarketing Campaign on the Display Network is ignoring a setting hidden deep with AdWords: Target & Bid vs. Bid Only.

To find this ad group-level setting, navigate to the Display Network tab (red arrow) and then click the “+Targeting” button (blue arrow):


On the next page, you must select an ad group to work with:

Target and Bid Screenshot 2

Finally, click the tab “Remarketing lists” (red arrow). At the bottom of that sub-window, you’ll see the radio buttons for either “target and bid” or “Bid only” (blue arrow).

Target and Bid Screenshot 3

This is where the big difference is made. If you want your remarketing ads to show on any potential page your visitors go to after your site, then you need to make sure your remarketing audience is set to Target and bid. If you choose “Bid only”, your ad group will lack targeting and not show anywhere.

Further Explanation

As a digital marketer, there is an ever-changing landscape of information to keep up with. Even though most of this information is available at your fingertips, sometimes things just make more sense when you have someone explain it to you over the phone. Please feel free to call me at 216-292-4410 with any questions.


Anthony Mahramus is the Internet Marketing Strategist at Dynamics Online.
You can reach him by calling (216) 292-4410.