Reduce, Reuse, Remarket: Unleash The Power Of Google Analytics

November 12, 2015

Google ,

Analytics , PPC ,


As has been made abundantly clear over the years, Google Analytics and Google AdWords go hand in hand. GA can provide a wealth of insight to inform and benefit brands PPC strategy and ultimately increase their ROI. Our latest Harvest Digital blog, will take a look at how GA can help in this case with brands remarketing strategy. For a slight refresher on what remarketing is and why it’s so important head over to AdWords Help.

At Harvest we believe remarketing isn’t necessarily limited just to AdWords, we abide by the motto that joined up digital thinking must play a part in creating successful performance marketing campaigns for our clients. Leading into all the benefits of GA in one blog could be a little ambitious, so we are starting with the foundations that all digital marketers would need to take note of in creating and measuring a successful remarketing campaign.

Reports to Inform Your Strategy

Frequency & Recency

These reports can be found in the Audience section under Behaviour and show you two things: for a given time range, how many people came to the site for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc. time and the days since their last session. This can be very useful to see how often users come back to the site naturally and what you can do to ensure that they keep doing so and encourage others to do the same. For example, if you saw that users tended to return after a week or so that could give you a good indication of when to start to target users with remarketing. If you can also line up why users tend to come back weekly, this could inform your message as well.

New vs. returning

Frequenct & Recency

This nifty report, also in the Audience section under Behaviour, allows you to see performance for new vs. returning visitors (clue’s in the name, isn’t it?). This can give you an indication of how important your remarketing can be: if you have very few returning users but the ones that do come back have a great conversion rate, you know that getting more of your visitors to come back is crucial. If, however, you saw that returning users have a very low conversion rate, you could bid down or exclude them entirely from your search ads to ensure you’re not wasting budget on non-converting users.

In our experience over the 14 years of working with our clients and their campaigns, we’ve seen that returning users who have a significantly higher conversion rate are more likely call than complete other conversion types. This can influence the call to action we use in the ad copy and the landing page we send them to.

Time to conversion

time lagtime lag result 2

In the Multi-Channel Funnel section, there are a couple of reports that will give you a big hint in the right remarketing direction. Time Lag shows the delay between the first visit and conversion in days. This will tell you how many people convert immediately and how long it can take some people to make the decision. If you’ve set up conversion values, you can compare the percentage of conversions of a given time lag with the percentage of conversion value. What we’ve seen for a number of clients is that the majority of conversions occur on the first day but the higher-value conversions take longer.

The next report shows Path Length. This lets you know how times users interact with your site before they’re ready to convert. This is similar to the time lag report but takes into account users who visit multiple times in the same day.

Both of these reports can be used to decide at what time intervals users should be targeted with remarketing ads. If you see a spike in conversion value around day five, that’s a clear indication that your remarketing should pick up then or slightly before.

Google Analytics Remarketing

As we’ve seen, GA can be incredibly powerful when it comes to informing strategy but it’s important to remember that GA now has its own remarketing functionality: now we can build lists directly in GA and send them straight through to AdWords for use either on the GDN or on search campaigns as remarketing lists for search ads.

Building remarketing lists in AdWords relies on grouping users by the URL that they’ve visited (or by the ones they haven’t) or the tags on that page. As you can imagine, this is severely limiting and there is no way to distinguish between someone who spent 10 minutes reading every scrap of information on a given page and someone who visited but bounced straight off. With GA, this problem is solved as you can build lists based on all the metrics you can filter by.

Google Analytics

So if you want a list of everyone who has spent more than five minutes on your site and first visited your site during your summer sale and has viewed a certain page, you absolutely can.

A few things to consider: make sure you’re not filtering your lists too much. It’s great to get specific but you still need 100 in your list to target on the GDN and 1000 to target through RLSA. You also can’t use lists which contain age, gender or interest filters with RLSA. You will only be able to use these lists on the GDN.

In short, with GA remarketing lists, you can now get incredibly specific with your targeting using a range of audience and behaviour data and frees you from the limits of AdWords’ ridged URL-based criteria.

Smart lists

GA also provides another type of list: the aptly named Smart List. Using machine learning, GA determines which of your users are more likely to convert on subsequent visits. This means that you get a self-updating list of people who are most likely to convert. The official blurb is on Analytics Support.

This can be a really useful to hone in to your key audience and can even be used with RLSA now as well.


If you haven’t delved into the world of Google Analytics yet, you’re missing out on a free way to improve your remarketing strategy and maximise success. These reports and features are out of the box solutions which don’t require any fancy coding so there’s no excuse not to give them a go.


  • Analyse the behaviour of your users to the site to set your foundation.
  • Compare and contrast New vs Returning users and how well the conversion rate can indicate users paths.
  • If remarketing is done right, analysing the results via the Multi-Channel section of Google Analytics can help measure your success.
  • Create remarketing list in Google Analytics that can send reports directly to Google Adwords, moving forward these list will help you create specific targeted ads.

If you would like to hear more from us on this particular subject please contact or call our office on 0207 479 7500


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