Dynamic Adwords Remarketing: The Complete Guide


Creating Targeted Remarketing adverts for 1000s or even 10s of thousands of products seems nearly impossible, right?

Luckily, there’s a solution that allows you to do this automatically – Dynamic Remarketing Ads.

Adwords Dynamic Remarketing works by first 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 the different courses available.
  • Hotels. Here you can use Dynamic Adwords Remarketing to show the different rooms available, 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 Remarketing 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 flights and hotels.

This article is broken into two sections: firstly, Dynamic Remarketing ads ‘best practices’, and 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, which 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 its 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, composed of people who have made a purchase, and then matches it with its corresponding user base to remarket ads to each user. This allows you to generate awareness of new products to buyers, which 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’re 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 order” 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.

Their study, shown below, shows that cart abandoners are around 3x more likely to buy as people who have only viewed products. It also showed that the cost-per-conversion was around half the cost for shopping cart abandoners as it was for product viewers.

This is because these users are positioned towards the end of the buying cycle. They know what they want; they’re just sitting on the fence with their decision 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 yet made a decision on what product they are going to buy. Here you’re not going to want to bid as high, because these users are less likely to convert and hence the ROI won’t 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. It’s therefore 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’ve done this, run the test until you have statistical significance, and then start a new test using the winner and a new one with a different format.

One bid mistake that I see on a daily basis is Adwords users that conclude a test without sufficient data (i.e. before reaching statistical significance), which results in them potentially making the wrong call and taking steps backwards.

4) Make sure that you change your Privacy Policy

This is a brilliant point made by LeaseLabs. When remarketing, you’ll be using cookies to track users and their activity, which needs to be included as part of your Terms & Conditions / Privacy Policy.

This has already been covered in detail by LeaseLabs, so instead of rehashing it out here I would suggest reading the original article: “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 bid.

You will notice that there’s 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, and 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, next to your icon. From the drop-down menu, select ‘Account linking’.


STEP 2. Add the Adwords Customer ID of the Adwords account that you want to link with your Google Merchant Centre, as shown in the screenshot below, and then click ‘Send link request’. screen-shot-2016-09-10-at-18-16-40

STEP 3. Now click the little Settings cog in the top right-hand corner of your Adwords account, and then from the drop-down menu, 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 ‘View request’, and then click ‘Approve’ as show below.


Once you’ve done this, it should now say ‘Approved’, and you will have linked your Google Merchant Centre with Adwords. Now you’re ready to move onto adding the Dynamic Remarketing code to your website so you can track visitors once they leave.

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 the below. At this point you have two options: if you’re proficient with web design and development then you can click ‘View Adwords tag for websites’ and add the code yourself; if not, you can choose to email the code to your web development team. 


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

STEP 5. To check that your code is set up 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 set up a new camping on the Display Network; the process of which I have outlined below.

STEP 1. Create a new campaign on the Google Display Network if you are creating any different types of 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’ve left your website so that 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, displaying ads 2 times a day shouldn’t upset your users, however if you want to maximise ROI, WordStream suggest that you don’t cap impressions. 


Then, you’ll need to confirm that you want to use dynamic ads by ticking the box next to ‘Use dynamic ads’, and then select the business area in which you operate, and select the merchant feed you want to use for your dynamic ads. This can be found at the very bottom of your campaign settings.


Once you’ve done this, save your campaign, and you’ll be 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 by clicking ‘+ Add campaign’, and then selecting ‘Add Display Network only campaign’.


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


STEP 3. Audiences 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 viewers, product page viewers, shopping cart abandoners, and past buyers), in both image format and text format. You should then end up with 10 ad groups.

To create an ad group, click the red ‘+ AD GROUP’ button as shown in the screenshot below.


STEP 4. Name your ad group by the name of the audience, for example, ‘All Visitors | {text or image ad}’ to make sure all your ads are kept easy to find. Next, choose how to target your ads – select the ‘Interests & remarketing’ option as shown below.

Then, from the drop-down menu, choose ‘Remarketing lists’, and you should see the 5 audience groups that you created earlier appear. Add only one remarketing list per ad group by clicking the ‘>>’ button next to each audience group to move it from the left to the right-hand side of the page.


Once this is done, scroll down to the bottom of the page and make sure that ‘Target optimisation’ has not been ticked. Then click ‘Save and continue’.

STEP 5. To create a new advert, click on the red ‘+ AD’ button in your new ad group, and then from the drop-down menu, select ‘Ad gallery’.


STEP 6. In the ad gallery, hover over the ‘Dynamic ads’ option, and then click ‘Create’.


STEP 7. For each audience group, you’ll want to create a different ad group for both types of dynamic ads (image ads and text ads). So, for example, for the ‘All visitors’ audience, you’ll have two ad groups: one called All visitors – dynamic text ads and the other called All visitors – Dynamic image ads.

Dynamic Image Ads 

At this point you’ll have a huge range of options to choose from.


There are 14 different image formats that you can choose from, in which the product image is automatically inserted into the advert.


When it comes to the advert layout, it’s usually best to use the option ‘Select one layout’ (in the top left-hand corner of the above screenshot), and then choose a single format. We would also advise that you set up a few ad groups and test different layouts (which I have discussed further in the ‘best practices’ section below).

Make sure that you add your logo to the advert. This can be done by using the ‘Logo’ box on the left of the screen – click ‘Select image’ and then upload your logo.

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

For the audience of people who have viewed your category pages, you could use a headline like “Check out our new arrivals”, or for past visitors you could offer something like “Refer a friend and get 10% off”.

These are just a few examples – you can create your own, provided that you tailor it to the corresponding viewer’s position in the buying cycle.

When it comes to the button text, you have a range of options to choose from, such as ‘Shop now’ or ‘Buy now’.

Once you’ve done this, click save and preview your adverts.

Make sure that your adverts are easily readable in all of your formats, and if not, make any necessary changes to the text size, headline, and buttons etc. by using the Advanced Settings.

Once you’re happy with all of your ads, click save.

Dynamic Text Ads

To use the dynamic text ads, select the option located on the right-hand side of the menu.


As mentioned previously, you should keep your dynamic text ads in a separate ad group to your dynamic image ads, as they may perform differently.

Text ads generally generate more traffic, but on average have a lower CTR of around 0.21% on average, compared to image ads which have an average of 0.31% according to studies by WordStream


The only main option that you’ll 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’ll want to take a similar approach to creating a headline for your adverts. Try to match the audience’s 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 e-commerce account.

Remember to take into consideration Adwords Dynamic Remarketing best practices when building your remarketing campaigns. For the best ROI, build custom lists to drill down further than the 5 generic lists that Adwords provides. 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 that people know you are using cookies to track and remarket 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 Econsultancy, Campaign Magazine and Search Engine Land. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Linkedin

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