Dynamic Adwords Remarketing: The Complete Guide


Creating targeted remarketing adverts is you have 1000s or even 10s of thousands of products seems nearly impossible right?

Luckily there is a solution that allows you to do this automatically called dynamic remarketing ads.

Adwords dynamic remarketing works by creating a template similar to the one below and then allowing Google to automatically populate the ads based on the products that the user has last seen.


Dynamic remarketing is not limited to retailers but also has several different other applications such as:

  • Education. If you have hundreds of different courses you can use Adwords Dynamic remarketing to display your different courses.
  • Hotels. Here you can use dynamic Adwords remarketing to show the different rooms that you have so you don’t have to create a new ad for each one.
  • flights. This allows you to display adverts for flights that people have just viewed.
  • Jobs. This allows you to create dynamic remwarking ads for your job listings
  • local deals. Display ads with your local deals dynamically.
  • real estate. This allows you to create dynamic remarketing ads with your property listings
  • Travel. Display dynamic ads for your travel products such as flight and hotels.

This article is broken into two sections, firstly dynamic remarketing ads best practices and then secondly how to create adwords dynamic remarketing ads.

Adwords Dynamic Remarketing Best Practices

1) Create additional more specific remarketing lists.

Studies have shown that specific dynamic remarketing ads will outperform the standard remarketing lists by as much as 2x so creating custom lists for your top performing products and categories is a no brainer.

Here are 5 really good examples of remarketing lists that have worked well that I first learned about from Mary over at CPC Strategy.

  • Visitors that visit specific category pages
  • Visitors that visit one of your best-seller product pages (80/20 rule)
  • Visitors that abandon a cart that is more than $100 or $500
  • Visitors that are in specific interest categories. Google uses the login data of it’s users to target them with ads if they visit other websites that have similar products or themes associated with your store. In this way you reach new customers with dynamic remarketing.
  • Visitors who are on your email list. Google allows you to upload your email list of people who have purchased which it then matches with its user base to remarked to its users. This allows you to generate awareness with buyers of new products that they are likely to be interested in based on their past purchases. You can read more about this strategy here.

For instructions on how to create these lists please read the “how to create remarketing lists within Adwords” section of this guide.

If you are using these lists make sure that you add each new audience to a new ad group and then tailor your advert headlines towards the offer. For example for cart abandoners you could have the headline say “free shipping” or “save 10% when you complete your cart” for example.

2) Bid based on the position in the buying cycle of the user

Cart abandoners are the most likely users to buy according to case studies by PPC Hero.

There study which is shown below shows that cart abandoners are around 3X as likely to buy as people who have only viewed products. It also showed that the cost per conversion was around have the cost for shopping cart abandoners as it was for product viewers.

This is because these users are towards the end of the buying cycle. They know what they want, they are just sitting on the fence about making a decisions to buy. You want to bid the highest for this audience as it will provide a good ROI.


On the other hand people who have only visited a category page are much earlier in the buying cycle. They are just browsing and have not made a decision on what product they are going to buy yet. Here you are not going to want to bid as high because these users are less likely to convert and the ROI will not be as high as for cart abandoners.

3) Split test the different ad formats

There are 14 different possible ad formats that you can use for your dynamic remarketing ads. So it is important that you split test different ad formats to see which one performs best.


To do this duplicate an ad group and make sure that you keep the same bids and audience, however change the ad format.

Once you have done this run the test until you have statistical significance and then start a new test using the winner and a different format.

One bid mistake that I see on a daily basis is Adwords users that conclude a test without sufficient data which results in them possibly making the wrong call and taking steps backwards.

4) Make sure that you change your privacy policy

This is a brilliant point that was made by LeaseLabs. When you are remarketing you will have to cookie users which needs to be part of your terms and conditions / privacy policy.

This has been covered before in detail by Lease labs so instead of covering it here I would suggest reading “Remarketing best practices: How to run a successful remarketing campaign” by Steven Ozbun.

Building Adwords Dynamic Remarketing Campaigns

To use dynamic remarketing you will need to do 3 things:

  1. Link your Adwords account with your Google Merchant Account.
  2. Add the Google remarketing pixel to your websites with the correct tag.
  3. Create your dynamic remarketing ads and set your bids

You will notice that there is no requirement to build any lists. when it comes to dynamic remarketing Google will automatically create 5 different lists based on which pages users have visited on your website.

They are as follows: homepage viewers, category page viewers, product page viewers, shopping cart abandoners, converted customers.

SECTION 1. Link Your Google Merchant Centre Account With Adwords.

This will allow you to display the products that the users last saw when they visited your website. To link your Adwords account with your Google Merchant Centre account take the following steps.

STEP 1. Within the Google merchant centre click the three small dots in the top right hand corner of your account. From the dropdown then select “account linking”.


STEP 2. Add the Adwords Customer ID of the Adwords account that you want to link with your Google Merchant Center as shown in the screenshot below and then click “send link request”


STEP 3. Now click the little cog in the top right hand corner of your Adwords account and then from the dropdown click “linked accounts”


STEP 4. On the next page click the Google Merchant centre option in the bottom right hand corner as shown in the screenshot below.


STEP 5. You should then see a request within your Google merchant centre area that will look something like this.


To approve it click “review request” and then click “approve” as show below


Once you  have done this it should now say approved and you will have linked your Google Merchant Centre with Adwords, you are now ready to move on to adding the dynamic remarketing code to your website so you can track visitors once they have left your website.

SECTION 2. Add the Google Dynamic Remarketing Pixel to Your Website With the Correct Tags.

STEP 1. First go to the shared library down the left hand side of Adwords and then select audiences, as shown below.


STEP 2. Select website visitors from the next window and then click “set up remarketing”


STEP 3. Check the box the “use dynamic ads” box at the top of the page and then select your business type from the dropdown as shown below. Then click setup remarketing.


STEP 4. The next step is to add the remarketing pixel to your website. You will see a screen that looks like this. At this point you have two options, if you are proficient with web design and development then you can click “view Adwords tag for websites” and then add the code yourself. Or if not you can choose to email the code to your web development team.


The key with getting the code setup right its to get the parameters right. You need to tell Google which pages are the home page, which are category pages, which are product pages and which are the checkout pages so that it can built the lists for you.

STEP 5. To check that your code is setup correctly go to audiences within the shared library section of your website and in the top right hand corner you should see a green tick next to the audience as shown below.


You should also see that the 5 pre defined audiences have been setup for you as shown below.


SECTION 3. Create Your Dynamic Remarketing Ads.

The next step is to create your dynamic remarketing adverts. To do this you will first need to setup a new camping on the display network which I have outlined below.

STEP 1. Create a new campaign on the Google display network if you are creating any different type of the display network ad.


STEP 2. Now select the “Take an action on your website” option.


STEP 3. Name your campaign using your standard naming convention and fill out the settings as you normally would for a search campaign. The only options that will need specialist treatment are the three below.

First set the delivery method to accelerated. You want to hit people as quickly as possible once they have left your website so they don’t go and buy from your competitors first.

Secondly you need to consider frequency capping. The more that you show your advert the more likely you are to upset your users.

Generally 2 times per day should not upset your users, however if you want to maximise ROI word stream suggest that you don’t cap impressions. 


Thirdly you will need to state that you are using dynamic adverts, the type of advertiser you are and the merchant feed that you want to use for your dynamic adverts as shown below. This can be found at the very bottom of your campaign settings.


Once you have done this save your campaign and you are ready to create your first ads and ad groups.

(Optional: How to create dynamic remaking ads on the GDN using Adwords Editor)

STEP 1. Create a new campaign on the display network only


STEP 2. Enter your campaign settings (see step 3 above for guidance)


STEP 3. Audience are added at ad group level so you will need to create a new ad group for each of the 5 audiences that you have (all website visitors, category page / general viewers, product page viewers, shopping cart abandoners and past buyers) in image format and also in text format, so you should end up with 10 ad groups. To do this click the red +adgroup button as shown below.


STEP 4. Name your ad group using the name of the audience for example “all website visitors”   | {text or image ad} to keep things easy to find. Next when prompted to choose how to target your ads choose the interests and remarketing option as shown below.

Then from the dropdown select remarketing lists and you should see the 5 lists that you have created earlier, add one remarketing list per ad group only using the two little arrows so that it moves from the list to the right hand side of the page as the “all visitors” list has done.


Once you have done this make sure at the bottom of the page that target optimisation has not been ticked and then click save and continue.

STEP 5. To create a new advert click on the red +ad in your new ad group and then from the dropdown select “ad gallery”.


STEP 6. In the ad gallery hover over the option to create a new dynamic advert as shown below and then click “create”.


STEP 7. You will want to create both dynamic image and text ads for your products, which should be segmented into different ad groups. So you should have an ad group for both All visitors – dynamic text ads and also for All visitors – Dynamic image ads.

Dynamic Image Ads

At this point you will have a huge range of options to choose from, retailers should opt to choose “Dynamic product ads- Image ads” and also the text version of these.


At this point there is then 14 different image formats that you can choose from where the product image will be automatically inserted into the advert.


When it comes to advert layout it is usually best to use the “select on layout” and then choose one format. We would also advise that you setup a few ad groups and test different layouts which I have talked about more in best practices section below.

Make sure that you add your logo to the advert. This can be done by clicking select image and then uploading your log that way.

Choosing a good headline is also very important and it should reflect the audience that you are displaying your adverts to. For example if you are remarketing to a list of people who have abandoned your cart your headline could read “free shipping” to try to get people back or even “10% off used code DISC10” to entice them to complete the transaction.

For people that have just viewed your category pages that you could use something like “check out new arrivals” or for past visitors you could say something like “refer a friend and get 10% off”.

These are just examples and you can create your own provided that you tailor it to the position in the buying cycle of the user who is going to see the advert.

When it comes to the button text you have a range of options that you can test such as “shop now” or “buy now”.

Once you have done this you can then click save and preview your adverts.

Make sure that your adverts are easily readable in all of the formats or if not make any changes necessary to the size of the text, headline and buttons required to make everything fit using the advanced settings.

Once you are happy with all of your ads then click save.

Dynamic Text ads

To use the dynamic text ads choose this option at the right hand side of the menu.


As I’ve mentioned before with dynamic text ads you should have them in a separate ad group to your image ads because they perform differently.

Text ads generally generate more traffic but on average have a lower CTR at around 0.21% on average compared to text ads that have an average of 0.31% according to studies by Wordstream.


The only  main option that you will want to change for dynamic text ads is the promotional message, the rest of the advert is dynamically created based on your Google Adwords Merchant feed.

Here you will want to do a similar thing to when you were creating the headline for your adverts. Try and match the position within the buying cycle with your promotional message. For example offering discounts of free shipping to people who have abandoned their shopping cart.


Adwords dynamic remarketing ads are an effective way to build thousands of highly targeted adverts for each of your products within your ecommerce account.

Remember to take into consideration Adwords dynamic remarketing best practices when building your remarketing campaigns. Build custom lists to drill down further than the 5 generic lists that Adwords provides for the best ROI. Split test different ad formats to find the ones that perform best for your account and don’t forget to change your privacy policy settings so people know that you are remarketing to them!

If you have any questions about this guide please feel free to comment below and I will do my best to get back to you!


wesley parker
About wesley parker

Wesley is Founder and CEO at Clicteq. He currently manages a £6 Mil Adwords portfolio across a range of different sectors. He regulally features in leading search publications such as Search Engine Journal, Econsultancy and Certified Knowledge. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Linkedin

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