Using Event Tracking Audiences to Improve Your RLSA Ads

This is a guest post by Joe Martinez, Director of Paid Media and Community for Granular.

I’ll admit it. I’m still guilty of slapping the target keyword as a first headline in my text ads, but I hate doing this. Keyword headlines can lead to very boring search results with no obvious winner.

Check out these headlines.

See what I’m talking about? If all the headlines are the same there’s no clear winner. No easy chance for me to stand out. I want my text ads to connect to a user’s needs, wherever they are in the funnel, and guide them to the next step. And do help do just this, I use Google Tag Manager to help create hyper-targeted text ads in AdWords.

This post will show you how I create audiences based on user actions and utilize those actions to target the same users in search.

Start Tracking User Interactions with Google Tag Manager

Do you have any idea what people are actually doing when they land on your website? If not, Google Tag Manager is here to help. Take some time to get familiar with what Tag Manager can actually do. It’s more than a tool to add Google Analytics and remarketing to your site. The event-tracking capabilities offer marketers a chance to learn a lot more about their target audiences by looking at the actions people are taking.

Pretty much anything a user can do on your site can be tracked (If your site is coded properly). Here is an extremely small list of tags you can create for your account.

  • On-Page Element Clicks
  • Outbound Link Clicks
  • Form Abandonment
  • YouTube Embedded Video Stats
  • Menu Selections
  • Scrolling

Find out which actions you want to track. If you didn’t see an action on the list you’d want to track, research it. Odds are the solution you need already exists. Once you can confirm the events you’re tracking are recording properly in Google Analytics, we can head to the next step.

Build Event Tracking Audiences in Google Analytics

When logged into Google Analytics, head over to the Admin section. In the Property column, you’ll find Audience Definitions. Here is where you can create remarketing audiences from almost any combination of information recorded in Google Analytics. And you guessed it, we can create remarketing audiences from event categories, actions, and labels.

Page visit audiences can sometimes be too broad for my tastes. With event tracking audiences, I can target users based on the actions they took instead of pages they visited. Action shows more intent, and I intend to use this information to my advantage. The basic event tracking audiences can be used in Display, RLSA, and YouTube. Certain channels may be ineligible if you start layering on different conditions to the initial audience.

Before you can create an audience in Google Analytics, you have to link your Analytics account with the proper AdWords account. Once this step is complete, any audience you create in Analytics will automatically be sent to AdWords. You won’t have to manually import any of your Google Analytics audiences.

Use IF Statements to Call Out Your Audiences

You may have used IF statements in AdWords to change your ad message depending on what device the user was searching. It’s pretty straight forward. Users on desktop see one message. Users on mobile see a completely different message. Well you can use IF statements for more than device audiences. You can use IF statements for any audience you’ve created in AdWords or Google Analytics. And since we just learned how to create audiences from the events we’re tracking, we can use those audiences in our ads.

Let’s take a look at one example.

In this example, we’re telling Google the following: If the user is in the audience “Email Signup” show them the first headline of “Upgrade for Free” Everyone else will see the first headline of “Have You Tried Premium?” As the advertiser, I know everyone who completed the event action of “Email Signup” is already a member. I want to let them know they can upgrade for free. To everyone who most likely isn’t a member, I want to plant the seed to hopefully get them to consider signing up.

Think of all the different audiences you can track and import into Google Analytics. Now think of all the new ways you can change your ad message to better market to each of these audiences. Pretty amazing, right?

Final Point

Event tracking gives PPC advertisers an effective way of speaking to potential customers. We can use the information in Google Analytics to find out what users were doing when they visited our sites and our landing pages. Now we can improve our ad message by changing our ads to focus on actions users took. Build a sense of familiarity. Connect with your target audience. You’ll be able to better target users with custom ads no one else will be able to replicate.  

About the Author:

Joe Martinez is the Director of Paid Media and Community for Granular in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is also the current and founding President of MKEsearch. His focus on marketing psychology and user experience help his clients achieve record growths and lifetime customers. While he is hands-on in all aspects of PPC, his true passions lie in Display, Remarketing, and YouTube. He has written for PPC Hero, SEMrush, Leadpages, Optmyzr, and AdStage. He has hosted webinars for SEMrush, Unbounce, and Bing Ads. He has also spoken at SMX, HeroConf, Confluence Conference, The Summit on Content Marketing and more. In 2017, he was named a Top 25 Influential PPC Expert by PPC Hero.

Comments (3)

  1. Very interesting approach. Have you tried different headlines/copies based on site engagement? Not clients vs prospecting but maybe users that have visited your site vs completely new users. Any data that you could share on how that improves CTR and/or conversion rates? I’m sure I will try this on my accounts. Keep the good work!

  2. Hey Patricia! I definitely try switching the headlines up to match the actions the engagement actions previous visitors have performed on my clients’ sites and landing pages. One thing to keep in mind is the minimum audience list size for Google search. You need to have a minimum list of 1,000 for search (only 100 for Display Network). So if you don’t have 1,000 people performing a specific action like an email link click, you’ll have to use either a different event audience or just stick with ones we can create in Google Analytics. Thanks for reading!

    While these ads definitely have lower volume due to lower audience sizes, my CTR noticeably increases. Conversion rates vary depending on if I’m using the same landing page as the other ads, or if the client has the ability to create a new landing page to match where the user is within the buyers funnel. Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply