Smart Lists Makes Way for Smarter Remarketing with Google Analytics

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Jay Dillon

Director of Strategy and Creative at Inbound Experts
Jay is a digital marketer and producer whose creative and technical skills have developed digital brand strategies and sales campaigns using a range of complex internet applications from stand-alone websites through to Facebook API integrations.
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When it comes to remarketing lists, marketers have come to enjoy hundreds of dimensions to create and manage them. Sometimes, however, endless options can become overwhelming and in this remarketing case, they create time-consuming tasks for the marketer.

Smart lists Google Analytics

Successful remarketing = accurate predictions on which users are most likely to convert upon revisiting your website is key to business growth and higher profits. No one can predict this better than Google, and the latest addition to Google Analytics (GA) proves it.

Introducing: Smart Lists.

Smart Lists is an automated list creation and management tool in GA. It is a remarketing list type powered from the millions of websites that have opted-in to share data with Google. Using the power of big data, such as page depth, location, device, referrer and browser, Smart Lists apply machine learning to the conversion data. This enables this new remarketing list tool to better predict which users are most likely to convert when they return to a site. AND THE BEST PART IS, the work is done for you. All you have to do is select the option under Remarketing Type:




Then, based on those visitors’ on-site actions, GA can calibrate remarketing campaigns in AdWords to align with each visitor’s value.

For sites with fewer than 500 monthly e-commerce transactions and 10,000 daily pageviews, Smart Lists are modeled after similar businesses that share anonymised data with GA.

For sites with at least 500 monthly e-commerce transactions and 10,000 daily pageviews (and using e-commerce tracking in Analytics), the Smart Lists will automatically be “upgraded” to rely on the sites’ own data rather than that of similar businesses. Only that site will have access to the list and any new data shall not be shared even if the list is never used. The list will be marked as [My Smart List].

Need more convincing? Melissa Shusterman, the Engagement Director of says:

“For practitioners, the promise of big data is also the burden – there are so many analyses to run, so much opportunity. With Smart Lists, as with Data Driven Attribution, Google Analytics is operationalising statistical analysis – making us not just smarter marketers – but faster and more nimble.

While we might have been able to achieve similar results with ongoing statistical analysis and a complex cookie structure, Smart Lists are simply plug and play. This speeds us along, so we can focus not on list management, but on growing the business.

Smart Lists users should ensure their transactions and goals from Analytics are getting imported into AdWords. Google recommends combining Smart Lists with Conversion Optimiser using Target CPA or ROAS in AdWords.

The GA team assures that they are working on deeper integrations for advanced users to tie this machine learning tool into their current lists as an optimization signal in Adwords bidding. Google also states that they are working on surfacing these signals in other reporting to help marketers better understand what factors help predict remarketing conversions.

If you’re new to remarketing, this new tool is just a great way to get started with strong performance results. Also, refer to best practices for remarketing as you become more comfortable with GA.

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