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YouTube Remarketing Ads: How to Retarget on YouTube

YouTube Remarketing Ads
Table of Contents

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 
  • 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

In this section, you will learn how to remarket to 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. 

Want us to do your video ads marketing? Or do you want to learn it yourself?
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Remarketing to Google’s Automatically-Created Audiences

We’ve discussed how to create remarketing audiences to target your website visitors, app users, YouTube users, and email lists. 

However, we have recently discovered that some of the best Google remarketing audiences are not the audiences that you create.

Allow me to explain.

These audiences are automatically created by Google. We have seen these Google automatically-generated data segments consistently generate positive results for us across multiple client accounts. 

Here are some Google automatically-generated audiences that have worked for us:

  • AdWords Optimized List: combined audiences based on available data sources connected to your Google Ads account.
  • All Visitors - (Google Ads): People who visited pages that contain your remarketing tags.

If you don’t currently see these Google-generated audiences, you will need to make sure to have the Google tag and Google Ads (Remarketing) Tag installed on your website/funnel and start spending with Google ads. 

The great thing about Google auto-generated audiences is basically that you have no control over it, it's created by Google: the only requirement for this audience to auto-generate is the Google remarketing tags into the funnel.

Test it out and see if this strategy works for you. 

YouTube Remarketing Ads Examples

If you are looking for YouTube retargeting (remarketing) ad examples, you are in the right place. The following 4 examples are some video ad ideas you can use for your remarketing ad creative. 


This is a great way to give that extra push to warm and hot traffic and get them to buy. If you’re doing an eCommerce testimonial ad, you should have the product in the video. Ideally, ask the person giving the testimonial to hold or show the product in their video. 


These are great for warm but skeptical traffic. If your audience is getting cold feet at the very last moment, you need to find out why and then address the objections that held them back from completing a purchase. Objection buster ads address the most common objections that your audience has about your product. You can get information about your audience’s objections from sales calls and surveys.


If you have traffic that’s on the fence about whether or not to buy your product, you can set up a promotion selling some of your products at a discounted rate for a short period of time and then market it to them. 

This is a great way to convert warm traffic because the flash sale will create a sense of urgency and your audience will have to quickly decide whether or not to purchase your product at the discounted price. 


If you have an online course, you can take your audience behind the scenes and give them a preview of what they are going to get when they buy. You can also include a couple of testimonials in this ad.

Learn how to spy on your competitor's ads here.

YouTube Remarketing Ads: Best Practices

Here are 3 best practices to consider when creatin your remarketing ads on YouTube.

Tip #1: Constantly show up with Remarketing Ads

There is a saying that the average person requires at least 7 touchpoints with a brand before making a purchase. 

We have seen this statement to be especially true for high-ticket offers with a longer sale cycle. Showing up with remarketing ads is the perfect way to increase the touchpoints a prospect has with your offer. 

Tip #2: Remarket sooner than later

The further out a customer is removed from your funnel, the less likely they are to convert. So Strike While the Iron is Hot. 

Tip #3: Make Remarketing Ads For Each Step of Your Customer Journey

Each step of your customer journey requires a different remarketing approach. 

Let’s break this down by Top of the Funnel, Middle of the Funnel, and Bottom of the Funnel Customers:

Marketing Funnel Chart via WordStream
Top Of The Funnel Remarketing Ads

For this stage of the marketing funnel, the main goal of your remarketing ad is to re-engage the customer

For example, if you have a free webinar training, and your customer left your funnel without finishing the webinar, you can gently remind them to finish watching your webinar. 

Middle Of The Funnel Remarketing Ads

At this stage of the marketing funnel, your remarketing ad should have 2 main goals, which are a) re-engage the customer and 2) push the customer towards a purchase

To accomplish this, here are the guidelines to follow: 

  • Make remarketing ads that reiterate the problem your product is solving
  • Focus on results
  • Use testimonials and social proof to emphasize that your product works. 

Bottom Of The Funnel Remarketing Ads

At this stage of the funnel, there is just something holding people back from converting/purchasing your product or service.

Perhaps they added an item to their cart but did not proceed to checkout. 

Or maybe they booked a product demo or sales call with your SaaS or Info-Product company, but didn’t follow through. 

For Bottom of the Funnel Remarketing Ads, what you want to do is to list common objections that people have before purchasing your product, then make an ad for every objection.

  • Example objection: Price is too high. Remarketing Ad = discount. 
  • Example objection: Scared about the level of support: Remarketing ad = Re-emphasize the support factor, one-on-one coaching.
  • Example objection: Now now, maybe later. Remarketing Ad = Scarcity - limited time offer, prices increase soon, low stock. 

*Important Tip: Make sure to not bombard your bottom-of-the-funnel customers with remarketing ads. You want to keep ad frequency low to prevent ad fatigue.

Work With Us

At Linx Digital, we set ourselves apart by delivering data-driven results through our team of experienced professionals who are knowledgeable in the latest YouTube advertising best practices. 

Our end-to-end management of YouTube campaigns, including thorough target audience research, creative ad creation, unique optimization approaches, and comprehensive reporting, sets us apart from the competition. We customise our media purchasing and advertisement creative approach to fit your objectives, guaranteeing that you receive precisely what is required to scale your brand.

Our commitment to transparency and collaboration has helped us build a strong track record of delivering exceptional results for clients across various industries. We take pride in our approach and invite you to browse our portfolio of successful campaigns.

Choose US for your YouTube advertising needs and experience the difference that data-driven strategy and expert execution can make; schedule a free strategy call today!

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