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Marketing 360® Blog

Tips On Using RLSA Ads (Remarketing Lists for Search)

Post By Scott Yoder | Paid Search | Remarketing

What are RSLA ads?

RSLA stands for remarketing lists for search ads.  These are search-based ads that only show to audiences who have already visited your website.

Say, for example, you are an interior designer in Dallas.  A couple is eyeing a new home they might try to move in within six months.  In their anticipation, they start looking at interior designers and find your website.  They like what they see, but aren’t ready to get a consultation yet.

A few months later, the house goes up for sale and is a great deal.  They contract for it and immediately go back to searching for interior designers, this time with high intent to hire one.

With RSLA, you can bid to appear at the top of their search, gaining high position for someone who’s behavior demonstrates they are much more likely to convert.


Why is RSLA an effective tactic?

Retargeting search ads work well for several reasons.

The first is that online, people rarely convert on the first visit to a website.  Consumers research, surf, get distracted, and simply hesitate.  If you are running PPC ads expecting first-time visitors to convert and deliver ROI, you’ll likely be disappointed.  Even for search conversions, you need a plan for multiple touches.

Wordstream’s Larry Kim does a good job of explaining how you can create a memorable piece of content, then promote it through SEO and social media channels to drive traffic to your website.  This follows the pattern of how people usually take time and multiple touches to convert:

This is a really important concept to understand with online advertising.  Your best marketing strategies are designed around targeting an audience, pulling them into your content, and going aggressively for the close.

RSLA ads not only create another touch, they create a very targeted one.  When a lead does a refined, follow-up search, they’ve usually moved further along in the buying cycle.  These clicks are more likely to convert.

Also, they are already familiar with your brand, which biases them towards you.  Data consistently shows that RSLA gets better click through rates, which improves Quality score (making them cheaper) while having significantly higher conversion rates.

You can also target your ad copy to connect with the previous visitor.  For example, say your list is people who visited your website and signed up for your newsletter.  Your ad can address them directly:

Dallas Top Rated Interior Designers

Thanks for subscribing to our newsletter!
Are you ready for a free consultation?

Our happy couple, ready to hire an interior designer to look at their new home, sees a firm they’re familiar with – yours – substantially improving your chances of winning the business.


How can I grow my RSLA audience?

The biggest drawback to RSLA campaigns is that they work off an audience list of people who’ve already visited your website.  You need that initial visit to get them on the retargeting list.

In other words, if your site doesn’t have any other traffic sources, this tactic won’t do much for you.

What you need is a low-cost strategy to get people to your site initially so they get cookied (the code that attaches to their browser) and added to your RSLA list.

You can start by expanding your organic search results.  Blogs that target informational queries and long-tail keyword phrases can be a powerful entry into your sales funnel.  You’re looking to draw in people who are in the research phase of the buying cycle, with content that probably has no promotional or conversion goal.  Your goal is to gain trust and retarget.

If you are a local business, make extra efforts to expose your website url and get initial visits to your website.   Make sure it’s on your business cards, trucks, shirts, pens, etc.  This is a good practice anyway but is even more effective with RSLA campaigns running.

Next, look for low-cost ways to use paid media.  For example, create Facebook Ads with a catchy headline, funny story, or compelling idea.  If your golf game is hurting, this ad would probably get you to click:

facebook ad This is just useful information – not a sales pitch.  Because your goal is only a click-through to your website, you don’t have to spend as much as you would on a conversion based ad.  But now if I search on golf tips or instruction, this site’s RSLA ads can target me.

Again, online marketing is rarely about getting the conversion on an initial touch.  Instead, you have to plan around the inevitable hesitation, the “maybe later” feeling we all get before we commit our money.

RSLA ads are an effective way to address that issue.