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The most important things to know about the latest Google Analytics update

Google recently made remarketing lists for search ads available in Google Analytics. Here's how you can use it to drive business.

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When it comes to the modern marketing toolkit, Google Analytics is one of the go-to platforms for understanding user behavior. Recently, Google updated Analytics with another feature to make advertising a little easier.

On Thursday, June 25, Google announced that you can now use Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA), rebranded as "audiences," to customize your ads based on visitor activity on your website.

Google defines a remarketing list as "a collection of cookies from people who visited your site." This update allows you to better remarket to people who have previously visited your site, or people who have used your application.

Admins can have up to 2000 remarketing audiences per Google Analytics account. If you want to get started with remarketing in Analytics, you must first enable it. Under the "Admin" tab on your dashboard, click "Property." Then, click "Tracking Info" and then "Data Collection." Click the toggle to make sure "Remarketing" is showing the blue "ON."

Once remarketing is enabled, you can start building out your audiences in one of three ways:

  1. Build an audience manually under the "Admin" tab by clicking the "Audiences" option under "Remarketing."
  2. Turn an existing segment into an audience by clicking the down arrow and choosing "Build Audience" from the drop-down list.
  3. Import audiences directly from the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery.

Once you build an audience, you'll need to share it with AdWords in order to target that audience with the relevant advertising campaign. Under "Remarketing Audience," you should see two drop down menus — one that says "View" and one that says "Sharing." Under the View menu you'll be able choose which users will view your ads. Under Sharing, you can choose which advertising account to share your remarketing audience with.

After it's shared, that audience will show up in your Shared Library and then you can see users that fit within the audience. The audience must have at least 1,000 users before it's eligible for remarketing. In order to use the same remarketing audience for another AdWords account, you'll have to recreate the audience for the additional account as well.

Now that you have taken the first steps, it's time to define your audience and figure out who you want to target. If you want to choose a preconfigured definition, you can choose from the following options:

    • Smart List
    • All Users
    • New Users
    • Returning Users
    • Users who visited a specific section of my site/app
    • Users who completed a goal conversion
    • Users who completed a transaction

    If none of these appeal to you, there are two other options for defining an audience. Above the list of suggested definitions, you'll see "Create New" and "Import Segment." Clicking the "Create New" button will let you set filters and customize each aspect of the audience. Clicking "Import Segment" will allow you to bring in an existing segment and turn it into an audience.

    As you set out to make use of these newly-created audiences, there a few things to remember. Once you have set the filters for your audience, that applies to current users only. So, if a user later performs an action that would take him or her out of that definition, they will not be removed from the audience. To remedy this, Google suggests making multiple audiences with different parameters.

    You can set the time for your remarketing list to run, but the maximum amount of time for a remarketing list in Google Search ads is 180 days. Additionally, according to Google, lists built on the following data can't be used in remarketing in search:

    Age, Gender, Interests, Language, Location, OS, OS Version, Browser, Browser Version, Screen Resolution, Screen Colors, Device Category, Mobile, Tablet, Mobile Device Branding, Mobile Device Model, Mobile Device Info, or Mobile Device Marketing Name.

    Hopefully, all this information will help you quickly get on board so you can start leveraging Remarketing Audiences with Google Analytics.

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    About Conner Forrest

    Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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