YouTube Remarketing Ads: How to Retarget on YouTube

In this guide, we will be going over Google Remarketing ads - more specifically, how to retarget website visitors, YouTube viewers, and email lists with YouTube ads

If you have ever visited a brand’s website, only to later come across an ad from that exact brand, then you have been remarketed to.

Now, Google remarketing ads can come in many different forms, such as a Google search ad, a Google display ad, or a YouTube ad. 

Before we get into how to remarket with YouTube ads, let’s start with the basics. First of all, what exactly is remarketing?

What is Remarketing?

Remarketing (or retargeting) is the method of showing an ad to people who have interacted with your brand or business online.

Remarketing vs. Retargeting: The term “remarketing” and “retargeting” are often used interchangeably, but these two terms have the same meaning when it comes to paid ads. 

Sometimes when people interact with your brand, they’re not quite ready to buy yet.

Consider this: An astounding 97% of first-time visitors leave and never return to a website (MailChimp).

Retargeting people that are already considering doing business with you is how you get them back to where they left off on your funnel. 

Additionally, it helps keep your brand on top of their mind because they keep consuming your content, engaging and interacting with your brand across the internet.

Remarketing is one of the best strategies to increase ROI, boost clickthrough rates, and drive conversions, as you are showing your ad to people that have already expressed interest in your brand. 

Keep reading to learn how to create remarketing audiences inside Google Ads, effective YouTube remarketing strategies, and examples of remarketing ads. 

Remarketing with YouTube Ads Explained

There are several YouTube ad retargeting options to choose from:

  • There’s retargeting based on website visitors which is where you target audiences based on the Google remarketing tag or the Google Analytics audiences. When a user visits your site but leaves without performing a desired action (such as making a purchase, signing up for an opt-in form, etc), you can follow this user around the Google Ads network (websites, YouTube) and show this user your ad. 
  • Retargeting YouTube users based on their activities on YouTube, such as engaging with your YouTube Channel, or previously watched your YouTube ad. 
  • Customer list remarketing: For this method, you can directly remarket to your email contacts list. To be eligible you need to have a $50K minimum lifetime history of ad spend on Google.
  • Remarketing on YouTube to mobile app users

You can use max conversions for retargeting but if you’ve got a larger audience of more than 40 or 50,000 people, you should use target CPA.

To ensure that your ads find the right kind of people and to minimize wasted ad spend, you’ll need to use exclusion targeting to filter your audience. You’ll want to exclude people who’ve already purchased and if you’re targeting a certain funnel step, you may want to exclude people who’ve already completed that step.

How to Build Remarketing Audiences Inside Google Ads

Before we go over how to build remarketing audiences inside Google ads, if you haven’t already done so, you will need to set up Google Analytics (Google tag) for your website, and link your Google Analytics to your Google Ads account.

Now, here is step-by-step, how to create a remarketing audience inside Google Ads: 

STEP 1: Click on the tools icon

Inside Google Ads Editor, go to Tools and Settings

STEP 2: Go to Shared Library and click on Audience Manager

Shared Library>Audience Manager

STEP 3: Click on the blue + icon to create a new remarketing list (aka data segment)

Click on Blue Icon at the top left corner to create a new data segment

STEP 4: You’ll be presented with various target options. Namely:

  • website visitors;
  • app users;
  • YouTube users;
  • customer lists; and
  • custom combination

Choose from dropdown menu: Website visitors, app users, YouTube users, Customer list, or Custom combination

STEP 5: Create Your Data Segment

When you click on your preferred remarketing option e.g website visitors, you’ll be able to choose specific rules for when this audience should be added to your remarketing list.

Fill in the form fields and create your remarketing audience data segment here

You will also be asked to fill in the following fields:

Pre-fill options: You can choose to create your remarketing audience from scratch, or have Google “pre-fill” or populate this list with people who have matched the rules you have set for this audience in the last 30 days.

Membership duration: You get to choose how long you want a visitor to stay on this remarketing audience list.  The maximum membership duration is 540 days.  Google recommends that you choose the membership duration based on your product's typical sales cycle.  

After you create this remarketing audience (or data segments, as Google calls it), it can take anywhere from 24-72 hours for this remarketing list to start populating. 

Now, let’s go over each YouTube Ads Retargeting Option in greater detail. 

Retargeting Website Visitors on YouTube

These are some of the audiences you can target:

  • You can target members of your audience who’ve been to your website in the last 7 days or 30 days.
  • Add to cart - if you have an eCommerce store, you can target people who hit the cart page.

Ensure you set up separate campaigns for add-to-cart and website visitors because then, you’ll be able to see the ROI on each one.

Why should you distinguish between website visitors and add-to-cart page visitors?

You see, general website visitors are your warm audiences. However, the people who not only visited your website but also added an item to their cart = hot audiences.

Additionally, if you have multiple offers, you should segment your audience so that you can show them different ads based on the pages visited.

Some of our favorite website retargeting campaigns are:

  • 30 to 60-day add to carts
  • Past purchasers based on pages visited (if they visited a different page and bought a product, you can advertise another product to them)
  • 15 to 30-day website visitors
  • Visited a specific product page but didn’t buy (you can show them ads for that product)

Retargeting YouTube Users

There are several YouTube users you can retarget, ranging from people that have previously viewed your YouTube ad, to people that have engaged with your YouTube channel in one way or another. 

Different segment options to choose from when creating a remarketing audience of YouTube users

Your YouTube traffic ranges from warm to cold. A person who watched a video 2 months ago is a cold lead but a person who’s recently subscribed or watched your video in the last 3-7 days  is pretty warm so you'll want to test these audiences and set up exclusions to find what works.

When you segment your audience, you can play this to your advantage by acknowledging that the viewer is being targeted intentionally in your ad. For example, you can say ‘Hey, I’m only showing you this ad because you watched a video of mine and I want to offer XYZ’.

Here are some of our favorite YouTube retargeting campaigns that you can test:

  • People who have viewed any video as an ad in the last 2,3,7 days
  • 2 to 3 day recent YouTube video views
  • Subscribed to a channel (30, 60, 90, 540 days)
  • 30 days since they visited your channel page

In our video below, we go over a recent remarketing strategy we have implemented that has produced incredible results for our clients who were previously struggling to break even with YouTube ads. 

For this strategy, we first targeted a broad audience on YouTube with ad #1. Secondly,  we created another campaign to target people who have viewed ad #1,  with ad #2. 

Check out the video below for a detailed tutorial on how to launch this YouTube ad remarketing campaign from start to finish.

Retargeting Customer Lists

In this section, we are going to be talking about retargeting your email list, or customer lists, as Google calls it. This audience is also referred to as Customer Match Audiences. 

As we mentioned before, to be eligible for this remarketing option, you will need to have a $50K minimum lifetime history of ad spend on Google.

This Google remarketing ads option can be a very powerful and effective retargeting strategy. 

With customer match audiences, you can target certain segments of your email list, past buyers, engaged users, and recent email subscribers. 

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