Marketing Patterns

RLSAs for Broad Keywords

Quick Summary

RLSAs allow you to bid on broad keywords but only for a specific audience that’s already familiar with your brand, therefore increasing the likelihood of a conversion outcome.

Paid Search Retargeting Social Ads

Why it's a good idea

RLSAs (retargeting lists for search ads) are a type of retargeting on Google Ads that enables you to bid on keywords but only for a specific audience.

If you sell prescription sunglasses, you would probably find it difficult to bid on a generic keyword like [sunglasses] with a decent ROAS (return on ad spend), since only a particular sliver of that audience would be a good fit for your product.

However, you’d be much more likely to have success if you had some way to only show ads to people who need prescription sunglasses when they searched for [sunglasses].

This provides an edge for two reasons:

  1. We’re able to be more specific in our ad copy than competitors.
  2. The user is already going to be familiar with our brand, and us with the characteristics of that user.

That’s what RLSAs do. You provide the list, and Google will show your ads to those people on any query you want.

This pattern is valuable because many users lack specificity when performing queries on Google. To continue the above example, a user who ultimately wants to purchase prescription sunglasses may begin by searching [sunglasses] and then trying to filter down to prescription upon arriving at a site. This method allows us to get ahead of that and be more direct.


Full pattern includes:

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  • Recommended tech and tools
  • Real world examples

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Last updated: September 25, 2020

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