FAQ: Remarketing in Paid Search

FAQ: Remarketing in Paid Search

Remarketing in paid search lets you target your ads to people who have visited or interacted with you website before. Here, find some common user questions, tips, and best practices when getting started with remarketing.

Remarketing in paid search lets you target your ads to people who have visited or interacted with your website before. Here, find some common user questions, tips, and best practices when getting started with remarketing:

How are UET tags, conversion goals and remarketing lists related? Do I need to create a goal for remarketing lists? How do I create a UET tag?expando image

A UET tag records what customers do on your website then Bing Ads starts collecting that data allowing you to create conversion goals to track conversions or target audiences using remarketing lists. UET is a prerequisite for conversion tracking and remarketing in paid search. You create one single UET tag in Bing Ads and then add it to your website once.

It is important to note that the only thing common between conversion goals and remarketing lists is that they share the common UET tag. Beyond that there is no need to have goals created to define remarketing lists or vice versa. During the creation of a conversion goals and remarketing lists, you select what UET tag to use. We recommend that you install one UET tag across your website and use that tag for both conversion tracking and remarketing.

What is scope? When should I pick this On account # vs Across all accounts?expando image

When you create a remarketing list, you can use Scope to determine whether to add the remarketing list to the current account or allow the remarketing list to be shared across all accounts under the customer.

  • Across all accounts: The remarketing list can be associated with ad groups belonging to any account under the customer. This is useful when you want to set up multiple accounts to manage campaigns for a single website.
  • On account #: The remarketing list can be associated with ad groups under the current account only.

Once you set scope, you can't change it. If you want to change the scope, you need to create a new conversion goal and pause the old one.

What are the scale limitations - max # of remarketing lists and max # of associations? expando image
Number As of February 23, 2017
# of remarketing lists 1,000 per account, 5,000 per customer
# of associations 20,000,000 per account
# of associations that can be created in bulk Refer to limits in bulk upload
# of associations that can be viewed, edited, or deleted by Bing Ads Refer to limits in bulk upload
What is the ad delivery behavior when multiple bid boost settings are in place? What other types of bid adjustments are possible? expando image

If someone qualifies to be part of multiple remarketing lists AND the remarketing lists are associate with the same ad group with different bids, the highest bid will be applied.

If you set different bids for device, ad schedule, location and demographic, the bids get multiplied when your ad is shown.

This is the same as Google AdWords. Note that there are complex ad selection algorithms that optimize for revenue and relevance.

It isn't always guaranteed that the highest bid wins. Bing Ads allows bid adjustments to be defined based on Device, Ad Schedule, Location and Demographic at both the campaign and ad group level.

Does Bing Ads honor user opt-outs as part of remarketing? expando image

Yes, Bing Ads does. People can opt out of personalized ads in two ways - from choice.microsoft.com and from Windows Settings. When someone opts out the expectation is that they don't receive any ads that are targeted based on their demographic/geographic attributes or their inferred interests based on their online behavior.

Does remarketing work across devices (PC, Tablet, and Mobile)? expando image

Yes, remarketing works across devices. Meaning if a user uses different device + browser combinations (and hence may have different MUIDs), all their MUIDs and ANID are associated with the remarketing list that their actions qualify them to be part of.

So, when they come back to your website, our ad delivery engines apply your specific bid boosts. Or if a user previously visited your website on a device, they will be qualified to see your ads on any other devices, as long as they have signed in with a MSA account. All this is possible because Microsoft uses a heuristics based approach to associate users MUIDs and ANID across devices.

Please note that any heuristics based approach is ultimately an approximation science and cannot guarantee good results all the time. There are ongoing efforts to make optimizations.

UET tag only supports browsers, which means that user actions on your apps can't be used to add them to remarketing lists.

Does remarketing work across both search and content network? expando image

No, remarketing works only on the search network (including syndication). Remarketing lists can be applied to ads distributed on the search network but not on the content network. If your ad group is associated with both the search and content network, the remarketing list will only apply to the ads distributed on the search network.

What happens when you edit a remarketing list? expando image

There are 2 parts to this question:

  • What happens to the audience: Users that are already part of the remarketing list continue to be so for one day. Those users that exhibit the behavior specified in the new definition of the remarketing lists will get added to the list within minutes. However, old users are not flushed out for one day. Until that, the ad delivery engine will apply bid boosts/customize ads/broaden keywords to existing and new users.
  • What happens to the reporting data: All the old impressions, clicks, and conversion counts that were associated with the remarketing list will continue to be associated. After the changes, the impressions, clicks, and conversion counts coming out of the new set of users will get appended to the old numbers.

Note that changing the name or description of the remarketing list will not affect the audience or the reporting data.

How long does it take before users are added to remarketing lists and remarketed to? expando image

When you create remarketing lists, you specify what user actions on your website qualify them to be part of the remarketing lists.

When users perform qualifying actions, they are added to the remarketing lists within minutes. If the remarketing list minimum size of 1,000 (minimum cookie pool) is met, and you have associated the remarketing list with an ad group (including ad group exclusions) and set a specific bid amount, the ad delivery engine will start serving remarketed ads to those users on the Bing Network.

Note our reporting pipelines are slower and take one day to reflect the list size. When you create their remarketing lists, we try to provide an estimation of the list size in the first 6 hours based on some sample data. The data is then replaced with the actual list size when the reporting pipelines execute.

I don't see any impressions associated with my remarketing lists in either the Audiences tab or the audience performance report. Why? expando image
  • Have you instrumented your site with a UET tag either directly or via a tag management/container solution?
  • Does your UET tag status on the Conversion Tracking > UET tags page show up as Tag active? If not, you have not installed the UET tag properly. You can use the UET tag helper to troubleshoot and validate that tag has been implemented correctly on your website. If you know how to, you can also use any network sniffing tool (for example, fiddler) to make sure that the UET tag is firing. Also make sure that you are using the right UET tag (you can look up the UET tag for each remarketing list in the Shared Library > Audiences page.
  • Are you using a valid criteria in your remarketing list? It is possible to define rules that will not evaluate to true and hence your lists may be empty.
  • Do you have more than 1000 users in your remarketing list? That is a prerequisite for remarketing to be applied. Verify that your membership duration is not so small that less than 1000 users would not have performed the actions that you specified in your remarketing list definition in that period.
  • Did you associate remarketing lists with active ad groups?
  • Is the association itself marked active?
  • Are you seeing any impressions attributed to those ad groups from the ad groups tab? If not do the needful for the ad group to win the auction (increase bid, bid boost for specific remarketing lists, improve quality score etc).
  • If you are set up correctly (1-7 above) and still not seeing any impressions, contact support. Please be aware that there is always a possibility for users in your remarketing list to not have returned to Bing Network and performed relevant searches in the time frame you are looking at.
My remarketing list size is too small (or too large). I see different numbers in Google AdWords / Google Analytics. What could be the reason? expando image
  • Have you instrumented your site with a UET tag either directly or via a tag management/container solution?
  • Does your UET tag status on the Conversion Tracking > UET tags page show up as Tag active? If not, you have not installed the UET tag properly. You can use the UET tag helper to troubleshoot and validate that tag has been implemented correctly on your website. If you know how to, you can also use any network sniffing tool (for example, fiddler) to make sure that the UET tag is firing. Also make sure that you are using the right UET tag (you can look up the UET tag for each remarketing list in the Shared Library > Audiences page.
  • Are you using a valid criteria in your remarketing list? It is possible to define rules that will not evaluate to true and hence your lists may be empty.
  • Verify if the membership duration is too large or too small. Larger duration translates to higher possibility of more users performing actions you specified in your remarketing list definition and hence becoming part of that list.
  • Note that the system has user activity logged from the time the UET tag was first instrumented. So regardless of when you create remarketing, as long as the system has data for the membership duration specified, it will add all those users, who performed specified actions, to the remarketing list.
  • General explanation of number mismatch with your estimation

    All platforms (Google, Microsoft etc) use browser cookies to track users online. These cookies are specific to a device + browser so it is commonplace for a single user to have several cookies based on device + browser combinations they use. These platforms have components in place to identify multiple cookies of the same user as duplicates and de-dup. It is commonplace hence to see variation in the counts b/w these platforms given the differences in the logic used by those components.

    A greater or smaller list size is not always a bad thing. A list is ultimately a collection of user cookies. Even if one user is represented multiple times in that list, it is still the same user. Depending on which device + browser combination the user uses, the system will identify the corresponding cookie to be associated with a remarketing list. It is impossible that a user that is not actually part of a remarketing list will ever get remarketed to.

  • If you don't think it could be 1-6 above in your case, please contact Support.
How can I create and edit associations in bulk? expando image

Creating associations in Bulk: While the Audiences tab allows creation of associations, it can only be done for one ad group at a time. In order to support the creation of large number of associations across ad groups in bulk, we have extended the Ad Group tab to support associating selected ad groups with one or more remarketing lists. Simply filter for and select the ad groups you wish to associate with remarketing lists and click on Edit > Associate with Remarketing lists on the action bar.

Managing associations in Bulk: Please note that once created, associations can only be edited from the Audiences tab. You can pause, enable or delete associations in bulk from the Audiences tab by clicking on Edit option on the action bar. You can also convert any existing targeting association to exclusion and vice versa, through the Edit option. Similarly, bid adjustments can be edited in bulk by selecting Edit > Change bid adjustments. Please read the next FAQ for editing targeting setting.

Why can't I set different targeting settings for each association in an ad group? expando image

The targeting setting determines if an ad group must serve ads only to people in the associated remarketing lists (Target and Bid option) or to everyone (Bid only option). It is not logically possible for an ad group to be associated with one remarketing list using Target and Bid and another using Bid only. That is why when you create an association and select an ad group that already has a remarketing list associated with it, you see all the remarketing lists and can only select one targeting setting that applies to all of them.

How do I edit targeting setting for an association? expando image

Targeting setting can be edited one ad group at a time from the Audiences tab by clicking on Create association and then selecting the relevant ad group. The updated targeting setting is applied to all the associations of that ad group. If you want to do this in bulk for multiple ad groups, please use Bing Ads Editor.

Is retargeting allowed for sensitive categories? expando image

All retargeting must comply with all laws and regulations, including any prohibitions to creation of remarketing lists based on sensitive data. It is the advertisers responsibility to ensure they comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

We recommend that advertisers follow industry best practices where retargeting on sensitive categories is not prohibited by law. Advertisers can find more information on industry best practices in the NAI code of conduct. Additional information about our remarketing policy can be found on the remarketing policy page.

What is a sensitive data/sensitive categories? expando image

Sensitive data is, among others, information about a person's physical or emotional health, sexual orientation, religion, or financial status. Some examples of sensitive categories are listed below:

  • Sexually transmitted disease
  • Mental health conditions like anxiety or depression
  • Termination of pregnancy
  • Termination of pregnancy
  • Bankruptcy
  • Bad credit score
  • Sexual orientation or gender identity
Are there any vertical-level restrictions for retargeting like alcohol, pharmaceutical, or religious/ethnic dating advertisers? expando image

No, there are no vertical-level restrictions for retargeting provided that the ads comply with Bing Policies. Advertisers are responsible for compliance with applicable regulations and industry best practices.

Will an advertiser experience rejection due to a specific retargeting category which may be sensitive in nature? expando image

As an advertiser, you are in full control of the retargeting categories you create and Bing Ads requires that you to comply with any applicable restrictions. Upon receipt of an escalation or complaint for a sensitive retargeting category you created, we may reject your campaign. Ad review will otherwise work as usual.

Can advertisers create an audience for users under the age of 13 or implement retargeting on a site directed to children under the age of 13? expando image

No, advertisers cannot create a remarketing list, retarget, or otherwise profile users under the age of 13 (or a different local age requirement). In addition, advertisers cannot target users under the minimum age required for the product they are advertising. For example, alcohol ads cannot be targeted to individuals under the minimum drinking age in the location(s) targeted.

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