By Laura Jones

NOTE: This feature has been removed by DoubleClick for advertisers within the EEA in line with GDPR. Please consult your legal team regarding potential implications for GDPR.

This blog explores how to use labels in DoubleClick Search to create remarketing lists based on what campaign, ad group, ad or even keyword searchers used to find your site. Using these labels, audience lists can then be created and targeted through Display Remarketing campaigns to re-engage these high-intent users and encourage them to take further desired actions on site. 

Back to blog home

We’ll only be looking at Search to Display Remarketing in this post, however it’s also possible to use Search audiences within social campaigns and create social audiences for use across Search and Display. If you’re interested in these lists the principles below still apply – so read on!

Recap on Display Remarketing

Search to Display Remarketing campaigns using Paid Search audiences allow you to serve targeted Display ads across the web to people who’ve previously visited your website after clicking on a Search ad, ensuring you stay connected with these users even after they’ve exited the site. Visitors who come to your website through Search ads have typically shown higher intent and interest levels compared to people arriving from a social platform, for example, because they’re actively seeking information, a product or service on a search engine using Search terms.

Remarketing through Display allows you to re-engage lapsed users while they’re browsing across more than 2 million sites, mobile apps and video content that make up the Google Display Network (GDN), reaching over 90% of all internet users. Serving ads across the network to people who’ve already expressed interest in the products or services you offer allows you to keep your brand at the forefront of past-visitors’ minds and draw them back to site to complete a desired action.

Why should I use DoubleClick over AdWords?

Setting up Display Remarketing campaigns using the AdWords remarketing tag is all well and good if you’re only interested in gathering lists of people who visited a certain page over varying time durations, but you have no information on what steps that browser took before landing on that page. A browser’s journey navigating a site post ad click isn’t always straightforward; it’s difficult to tell what their initial intent was before they landed on the URL you want to target. For example, if you were to create remarketing lists consisting of people who’d visited your page on women’s jeans, there’s no way of knowing how these people found your ad in the first place. Did they have no affinity with the brand and find your ad through a generic Search query such as “buy women’s jeans”? Or did they search with the intention of buying a pair of jeans from your company specifically, arriving to site after clicking on an ad from a brand campaign you’re running? Using this information, you can alter your approach to Display Remarketing for both scenarios. Because people searching using brand terms typically have a higher affinity and are more likely to become regular customers, perhaps you want to serve a tailored and relevant Display ad offering a special discount code to encourage future purchases?

Using DoubleClick, we can easily integrate Display and Search audience lists, creating lists based on what campaign, ad group, keyword or even ad a browser used to find your site. Through this approach we can provide a more seamless customer journey and experience and, with a good strategy put in place, Paid Search audiences will be served highly relevant ads.

To find the remarketing section within DoubleClick Search, head to your account and select Remarketing along the menu on the left-hand side of the page in the interface:

Where to Find the Remarketing Tab in DoubleClick Search

How it works

To build lists based on which campaigns, ad groups, keywords or ads a customer clicked through to reach your site, you must first apply labels to these items in DoubleClick to align with your strategy. Labels can be applied to these items directly, or they can be inherited based on hierarchy, e.g. a label applied at campaign-level will automatically be applied to the ad groups and keywords that sit within it unless otherwise specified. When the labelled item results in a click on a paid ad, browsers who clicked on that ad will automatically be added to a remarketing list. Labels can be used in multiple remarketing lists and remarketing lists can use multiple labels.

How Search to Display Remarketing Works

Strategy Ideas

As discussed earlier, labels can be applied at multiple levels within the account; instead of using a simple brand or generic split at campaign-level, why not be more granular in your approach and label ads and keywords?

Let’s say you have keywords within your account relating to sales, discounts, offers and so on. One idea could be to apply a label to these keywords and re-market Display ads to people whose Search term matched those keywords. Because people searching for these types of terms are looking for a bargain or a cheaper priced product, perhaps you could offer a special discount code within the Display ad, tempting them back to site and shop.

Display Remarketing is also a great way to amplify your brand’s messaging. Labelling your ads that use the same ad copy enables you to then create remarketing lists targeting people who clicked through these ads. Using these lists, you can serve creative across the GDN using the same text as your Search ads to really exaggerate your point and align your messaging between both channels.

Maybe you’re targeting some broad, upper-funnel keywords such as [buy mobile phone]. People searching for this term are in the research phase and don’t yet know what brand or model of phone they’re looking to buy, which provides us with a great opportunity to remarket to these users further down the funnel. Using an audience list of people whose Search query matched these broad keywords, we can re-market some of the best-selling or newly released phones through Display, making sure we remain at the fore-front of the browser’s mind as they continue their research process.


As previously mentioned, the main benefit of creating remarketing lists in DoubleClick Search (DS) is that you can label items within the account such as keywords, ad groups or campaigns. Below is a step-by-step guide on how this is done:

  1. Create the labels in the DS interface to reflect your strategy. You can find labels in the left-hand side menu within the interface. If you want to serve a specific Display ad to people who reached your site using a brand term, then create a label for brand and another for generic and label each campaign as brand or generic. If your strategy is to re-market to people who’ve clicked on an ad that includes a promotional offer, label your ads as either “promotional offer” or “no promotional offer”. 
Creating Labels in DS
  1. Once your labels have been created, start applying them to your campaigns, ad groups, keywords or ads. To do so, go to the campaign/ad group/keyword/ads tab in the interface (whichever level you want to apply the labels to), select the items you want to label, click Edit and then Change label.
Assigning labels in DS
  1. In the navigation panel on the left-hand side of the interface, select Remarketing, then + Remarketing list
  2. Give your list a name – use something descriptive and easily identifiable to avoid confusion
  3. Select a membership duration that makes sense to your business. This is the length of time (in days) a user’s cookie will remain in your remarketing lists, so it should reflect the typical conversion or buying cycle.
  4. Select the labels you want to use to create your remarketing lists in the Source labels box. Remember, it’s possible to add more than one label to a remarketing list, providing you with a great level of granularity.
  5. Choose the Display advertisers you want to share the remarketing list with in the Display advertisers section
    1. If you’re sharing these lists with an AdWords account, simply select the applicable accounts from the menu
    2. If you’re sharing the lists with DoubleClick Campaign Manager (DCM), advertisers will only appear in the list if they share the advertiser’s Floodlight configuration and are linked to DBM. To select the advertiser, select the DCM Floodlight configuration ID to share the lists
  6. Click Save and you’re done! The lists will then begin to populate and they’ll be ready for use across the GDN once enough users have been added to them.

Creating these lists for use across Display should be a no-brainer if you’re set up on DoubleClick. The strategy you decide to implement, remarketing to Paid Search users on Display, will not only serve as reminders of your product/service offering, but also amplify your brand messaging and enable you to deliver highly targeted, relevant ads across the Display network.

Share this article