How to Increase Average Order Value With Google Remarketing Campaigns

Providing a personalized experience to your target audience is one of the keys to success for ecommerce companies. 

On your end, providing such an experience can lead to huge things for your company.

Case in point, Certona found that personalization can lead to an increase in Average Order Value (AOV) of up to fifty percent. In turn, this means generating more revenue for less effort (and lower costs), and increasing the lifetime value (LTV) of your average customer.

There are multiple ways to implement personalization into your marketing campaigns as well as many ways to increase your AOV. However, in this article, we’re going to focus on using Google remarketing campaigns to do both at the same time.

Let’s get started.

What is Remarketing

Remarketing is the process of targeting certain members of your audience with ads based on actions these individuals have taken in the recent past.

As SpyFu explains in a recent tutorial on starting an Adwords campaign from scratch:

“A visitor comes to your site and browses your sunglasses page. They move on to other websites, and your ad for the same tortoise shell sunglasses that they saw appears while they’re reading a news article or scrolling through videos. That’s remarketing in action.”

retargeting takes multiple campaigns


This, of course, is only one (very basic) way to implement remarketing into your Adwords campaigns.

Five Ways to Use Google Remarketing Campaigns to Increase Average Order Value

While a basic remarketing strategy can lead to an increase in sales (and a decrease in lost sales), we’re going to discuss a handful of advanced remarketing tactics that will allow you to:

  • Target specific individuals with highly-relevant ads, based on specific actions they’ve taken
  • Target prospects and customers that have a high probability of converting and/or increasing their spend
  • Increase the ROAS from your remarketing campaigns

Without further ado, let’s dig in.

1. Focus on Big Spenders

Simply put:

It’s much, much easier to get your loyal customers to spend more than it is to bring new customers aboard (or to convince your sporadic customers to do more business with your company).

With this in mind, let’s focus on how to remarket to these individuals first.

The Targets

There are two types of customers you can focus on, here:

  • Those whose individual AOV is greater than your overall AOV
  • Those whose monthly, quarterly, or yearly spend is greater than your average customer’s

In either case, you’re looking to reach those who clearly appreciate the value your products bring to their lives. This group of customers will spend more money to receive said value.

The Goals

In targeting these two types of customers, your goal is actually two-fold:

  • Keep your highest-value customers engaged and making consistent purchases
  • Inherently increase your overall AOV in doing so

Here’s how to accomplish these goals:

The Process

Your first order of business is to determine who your highest-value customers are (i.e., those whose AOV is above your overall AOV). Additionally, you want to determine which search terms they used to begin sessions that ended in a conversion.

Then, you’ll navigate to Google Analytics’ Audience Builder, and click on the Ecommerce tab:


Once there, you’ll want to set “Revenue Per Session” (using the drop-down menu) to “greater than (your overall AOV).”

You can then create new Adwords campaigns featuring big-ticket items to be displayed to your high-value customers when they use specific search terms related to said items.

To do so, you’d specify the campaign as Target and Bid – allowing you to increase your bids on search terms only when used by these high-value customers.

Since these targeted customers typically spend more than your average customers, you don’t necessarily need to increase their AOV to increase your overall AOV.

Rather, you just need to get them make purchases more regularly. This tactic serves to keep your brand on the top of your high-value customers’ minds. In turn, you increase the chances that they’ll engage more often with your company.

2. Upsell Low Spenders

On the opposite end of the spectrum, of course, are your low-value customers. You won’t be able to increase your overall AOV simply by getting these individuals to make purchases more often.

In this case, you will need to get them to increase their spend per transaction through upselling.

The Targets

As you’ve probably surmised, your main targets here are:

  • Your repeat customers whose individual AOV is less than your overall AOV
  • Your repeat customers whose average monthly, quarterly, or yearly spend is less than your overall average

While you likely aren’t going to get these individuals to drastically increase their typical spend per transaction (at least not immediately), this is a case in which every little bit counts. The more they spend during their next transaction (and thereafter), the higher their LTV becomes – and the faster they approach a level of profitability for your company.

The Goals

Again, your goal here is two-fold.

  • You want to get your lower-value customers to spend more than they usually do in a given transaction
  • You also want to get them to maintain (and, hopefully, steadily increase) this new level of spending whenever they do business with your company

The Process

Before implementing any changes to your ad campaigns, you’ll first want to determine:

  • Who your low-value customers are
  • What items (or item categories) they typically purchase
  • Which items of greater value you want to showcase to these customers

Again, you’ll then navigate to the Ecommerce section of Adwords’ Audience Builder:

However, you’ll now want to define “Revenue Per Session” as less than your overall AOV.

You may also want to create multiple audiences, identifying specific products or product categories for each. You can then create multiple ad campaigns showcasing higher-value products that are relevant to your individual low-value customers.

When creating the ad campaign, you’ll want to specify “Target and Bid,” so that your ads (featuring higher-value products) appear to your low-value customers when they enter a specific search term.

For example, if a customer had recently purchased a $20 pair of shorts from your store, and then searches for “men’s shorts” in the weeks to follow, you’d want your ad showcasing a $30 pair of shorts to pop up.

As we said earlier, while it’s certainly beneficial to get your low-level customers to go above their normal spend range one time, your hope is that your ad serves to permanently increase their typical spending limit. Using the example from above, your ultimate goal isn’t to get the customer to buy one pair of $30 shorts – but to never again drop below that $30 threshold.

3. Cross-Sell Recent Visitors and Customers

Another option akin to – but not synonymous with – upselling is the cross-sell.

Cross-selling is the act of showcasing complementary items to individuals who have purchased (or shown interest in) a given product. For example, a customer purchasing an iPhone might be interested in buying a phone case or a portable charger.

Again, you can use Google’s remarketing campaigns to implement this strategy.

(Note: A successful cross-sell done in this manner doesn’t technically increase your AOV, since the subsequent purchase is, of course, a separate transaction. Still, a successful cross-sell equates to a transaction that otherwise would never have occurred in the first place.)

The Targets

Rather than focusing on high- or low-value customers (which you certainly can do, separately), you’ll want to focus on customers who have recently interacted with your brand in one way or another.

This can mean focusing on any of the following:

  • Recent customers who have made a purchase
  • Customers or prospects who have recently browsed your site
  • Customers or prospects who have abandoned their shopping cart on your site

The Goals

Your goals, here, depend on which of the above categories a customer falls under.

For those who have made a recent purchase, your goal is to showcase additional, supplemental items that will enhance their overall experience with the product they initially purchased.

For those who have yet to make a purchase (whether they were just browsing, or they abandoned their cart), your goal is still to showcase these additional items. The hope is that the prospect of an enhanced experience prompts them to move forward with the purchase they had originally been mulling over.

The Process

First things first, you need to have a clear understanding of which of your smaller items go hand-in-hand with your larger, more valuable products.

You’ll then want to create a new audience depending on the above-mentioned criteria:

For customers who have converted, you’ll click on “Advanced Conditions,” then select “Transactions” from the drop-down menu. Make sure to change the value to “greater than 0.”

For those who have visited a certain product page, you’ll again navigate to “Advanced Conditions” and select “Page Title” from the drop-down menu:

From there, you’ll need to type in the actual page title of the product page in question.

(Note: You can combine these two tactics to get laser-focused on individuals who have viewed a specific page and purchased the item on said page using the “Add Filter” option.)

Finally, for cart abandoners, you’ll select “Event Action” from the drop-down menu in “Advanced Conditions,” then input the action “AddToCart.”

Then, click “Add Filter,” then select “Transactions Per User” from the drop-down menus, and input “0” as the value.

After set up, you can then use Adwords to identify specific products you’d want to cross-sell to your customers.

For example, for those who checked out the product page for welted buck shoes in the screenshot above, the company may decide to display an ad showcasing a matching belt or pair of socks.

4. Keep Seasonal Customers Onboard

It’s no secret that most ecommerce companies see their sales numbers increase rather drastically during certain points of the year.

(Of course, there are also times in which sales dip – but we’re not going to focus on that, here.)

For ecommerce business owners, you have two options when these times come about:

  • Celebrate them for what they are, and move on once the times are through
  • Hold onto as much additional business as you can moving forward

Needless to say, the latter choice will certainly be more beneficial to your company.

The Targets

Here, you’ll want to target individuals that fall into one of two categories (or both, simultaneously):

  • Customers whose AOV during the defined seasonal period is greater than their overall AOV
  • Customers whose AOV during the defined period is greater than your company’s overall AOV throughout the year

The Goals

The goal here is quite simple:

Get your seasonally-high AOV customers to continue making purchases that are above their “normal” AOV.

The Process

To create an audience made up of seasonally-high AOV customers, you’ll again venture over to “Advanced Conditions,” then filter by “Session Date,” as selected from the drop-down menu.

From there, you can either select a specific date (such as Black Friday of the past year), or a span of dates as decided by your marketing team.

You’ll then add another filter, “Revenue per session,” and modify the filter to include only transactions which were above your overall AOV.

When you apply this new list to an already-existing ad campaign, you’ll want to select Bid Only. In turn, you’ll automatically bid more when high-value customers (those who apply to your created list) use the search terms connected to the campaign in question. At the same time, this will keep your bid steady for those not included in this newly-created list.

5. Incentivize High-Value First Purchases

Finally, it’s important to note that getting first-time buyers to increase their order value is an incredibly effective way to increase your overall AOV.

As we alluded to earlier, the more your customers spend from the get-go, the quicker you’ll be able to reach profitability with each of your newcomers. In turn, your cost per acquisition will plummet – and your customer’s lifetime value will inherently skyrocket.

The Targets

Though your overall target are individuals who have yet to make a purchase, we can break this down further to:

  • Individuals who have merely browsed your site for the first time (or multiple times)
  • Individuals who have actively taken steps toward engaging with your brand – but haven’t yet made a purchase

The Goals

Your goal here shouldn’t just be to get a new customer onboard.

Rather, you want to focus on getting your brand new customers to come onboard with a bang! To do this, you’re going to get your customer to make a higher-than-expected first purchase.

The Process

The process for creating a new audience depends on which of the two aforementioned categories you’re focusing on.

For those who have visited your site, but have yet to engage further:

First, look at your existing data to determine how many sessions it usually takes for a newcomer to convert. 

You can check this data in Adwords by clicking on “Conversions” on the left side of the screen, then clicking “Path Length.” What follows is a report regarding the relationship between touchpoints and conversions for your customers:



You’ll then go into Audience Builder and click “Behavior.”

From there, define the number of sessions to be equal to the path length that shows the most number of conversions (in the example above, this would be either 1 or 2). Additionally, set “Transactions per user” to zero.

For this ad campaign, you’ll want to select “Bid Only.” This will increase your bid when those who have visited your site an optimal number of times use search terms related to your campaign.

For visitors who have taken a specific action (e.g., signed up for your mailing list):

Within Audience Builder, click “Advanced Conditions,” then select “Users” from the filter drop-down menu. From the drop-down menu below, select the specified action you want to focus on.

From the remaining drop-down menus, select “Per Users,” and “≥ (greater than or equal to),” then input 1 as the value. (This will ensure that even those who took the same action twice will still fall into this audience).

Next, add another filter, and select “Order Complete,” “Per Session” and define the value as equal to zero.

To reiterate, the goal is to pinpoint those who have taken a specific action (in this case, signed up for your mailing list), but have not yet made a purchase.

Again, you’ll want to select Bid Only for this audience. This will allow you to maximize your bid for individuals who fall into this category.

Within your actual ads targeting these individuals, you have a number of potential tactics at your disposal.

You can choose to upsell customers once they’ve checked out similar, but less-valuable ones or cross-sell them on related items. Additionally, you can simply provide a one-time discount for high-value products to your new customers.

The choice for how to best target these individuals is up to you.

Wrapping Up

There’s no denying it:

There’s a lot to keep track of when it comes to analyzing your customers’ actions.

Which is why it’s essential for online store owners to take full advantage of Google remarketing campaigns.

Not only can doing so enable you to reach individual customers with highly-relevant ads and marketing content, but it can also help you learn more about what really presses your best customers’ “buying buttons.” In turn, you can ensure that the highly-relevant ads you do create reach your customers at the exact moment their likely to make a purchase.***


A 10-plus year veteran of the digital marketing industry, Anthony Capetola has built and managed successful SEM and Social PPC campaigns for hundreds of small to large-sized businesses in various industry verticals including national franchises and eCommerce. As the current Marketing Manager for Sales & Orders, which provides management software for Google Shopping, Anthony manages the entirety of paid search and inbound marketing efforts.