Google Analytics RLSA Now Available

June 10, 2015


If you’re familiar with Google AdWords and Google Analytics you are probably aware that both tools have Remarketing capabilities each with their own strengths and weaknesses. I have always recommended that advertisers use both to get the full range of targeting options available to them.

In short, the Google AdWords Remarketing tag comes with Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) capabilities. This means that you can incorporate a Remarketing list with your keyword-targeted search campaigns.

The Google Analytics variation allows you to choose certain conditions and/or sequences based on the vast range of dimensions and metrics available in the reporting platform. This allows you to create very specific audiences and tie other marketing channels to your strategy. However, this was initially only available for display advertising.

Another potentially huge benefit with using the remarketing lists from within GA is the ability to quickly copy and share lists across multiple linked accounts. Previously, this would have required implementation of multiple AdWords Remarketing tags but now can be easily accomplished within one interface without the need of additional tagging.

Google Analytics Remarketing Lists for Search Ads Finally Here!

Finally, after quite a long wait, the Google Analytics team has unveiled the RLSA functionality as part of the GA Remarketing option. GA-RLSA? Ya, I’m going to go ahead dub them that right now.

google analytics search remarketing rlsa

What does this mean for you? It means that, if you are currently using Google Analytics for Remarketing, you can begin creating new audiences or using existing audiences to more effectively target your search ads.

You could also even remove the Google AdWords Remarketing tag from your site (GASP!). This means less pixels on your site and faster page load times; however, I would wait until your new GA-RLSA audiences have acquired the necessary 1,000 members before stripping the AdWords Remarketing tags from your pages.

Maybe the AdWords and GA teams should work to create a merging tool to combine the two separate audiences into one. You guys listening?

Enabling Remarketing within Google Analytics

In order to use remarketing (for display or for search listings) you’ll need to enable remarketing.  There are a few ways to accomplish this, either through your Property Settings, under Tracking Info > Data Collection or by editing your tracking code itself. If you’re using GTM, this is as simple as a checkbox!

GA-RLSA Restrictions

Just like Google AdWords Remarketing lists for search ads, Google Analytics RLSA audiences also have a max life of 180 days and must accumulate at least 1,000 cookies before eligible to tailor your search ads. If you have selected a membership duration to a value beyond that it will be automatically shortened to 180 days.  The 1,000 cookie threshold helps to mitigate user privacy concerns.

rlsa audience size

Although the beauty of using Google Analytics for Remarketing lies mostly in the ability to incorporate a wide array of data points from various sources, any GA-RLSA based on the following dimensions will be ineligible for use in search remarketing (also because of privacy concerns):

Google Dislay Network Demographics dimensions

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Interests

Google Analytics Demographics & Technology dimensions

  • Language
  • Location (Region, Continent, Sub-continent, Country, City, Metro)
  • Operating System
  • Operating System Version
  • Browser
  • Browser Version
  • Screen Resolution
  • Screen Colors
  • Device Category
  • Mobile
  • Tablet
  • Mobile Device Branding
  • Mobile Device Model
  • Mobile Device Info
  • Mobile Device Marketing Name

In addition to these restrictions, for those of you targeting the European Union, there’s more. Here’s Google’s official quote from inside of GA and their support document.

Regarding your use of Remarketing Lists for Search Ads with Google Analytics, you must also use commercially reasonable efforts to obtain consent from your visitors in the European Union, according to applicable laws, for the use of cookies or other information stored on a visitor’s device and any data collection, usage, and sharing.

Learn more from Google Analytics help and let us know how GA-RLSA works for you.