Day 3 #AnalyticsWeek Presentation – Retail Analytics Hacks

Category: Analytics


Thank you for attending Day 3 of #AnalyticsWeek covering Retail Analytics Hacks! In the first Day 3 presentation, Jordan Levy, Director of Digital Communications at glo Professional, presented how glo Professional, a mineral makeup and clinical skincare company, used custom dimensions in Google Analytics to sort their customers into consumer and wholesaler groups for their reporting. You can check out this presentation now to learn how glo assigns customer types using GA, and how you can then easily view information based on these consumer types to better understand who your customers are and how they spend. At the end of Jordan’s presentation, Don Rodriguez, Director of Analytics at NetElixir, gives a step-by-step walkthrough of how to set up custom dimensions in Universal Analytics.

In the second Day 3 presentation, Melissa Anunson, Digital and Direct Marketing Strategist at pc/nametag, presented how pc/nametag, the world’s largest distributor of meeting and registration supplies, successfully used YouTube advertising and expertly planned RLSA ads to promote their business. You can also view this presentation now to learn how pc/nametag leveraged YouTube ads to spread awareness of their brand, and how they planned an RLSA strategy to target more consumers—and, how a similar approach could work for your company.

Don’t forget to register for tomorrow’s final day of #AnalyticsWeek presentations, as we give you the first look at our original research into understanding attribution models for your business!

Day 3 Q&A

1. Have you thought of any other interesting applications for RLSAs?

A: Melissa Anunson of pc/nametag, a purveyor of high quality nametag supplies for meetings and events, uses remarketing to target prospects and customers who have long breaks between purchases, as some of her customers purchase only once or twice a year. For example, consider someone who runs an annual event of some kind and only needs nametag supplies for that event. With AdWords, you can set your audience’s membership duration to as much as 540 days so you can target the once a year audience using regular remarketing on the Display Network. The idea here is to build remarketing lists based on the month of the year, e.g. January, and then remarket to that audience the following December. You could build the audience by product categories viewed, or even specific product viewed if you have enough traffic to warrant it. For those that purchase 2 or more times a year, RLSAs can be used for that as well, with an audience membership capped at 180 days.

One recent enhancement for RLSAs is that they are now available to be built using the Remarketing capabilities in Google Analytics. There are some significant limitations in the dimensions that can be used to build these audiences for privacy purposes, e.g. Age, Gender and Interests. This article details how to enable and build RLSAs in Google Analytics:, as well as details these limitations.

Check out the view below of the audience builder screen for Remarketing Lists in GA.  You will note that it looks just like the screen used to build a custom advanced segment.


2. What are the primary benefits of RLSAs?

A: To start, let me first quote one of our partners at Google who told us that “RLSAs are a no-brainer. They are the one Google product I would recommend to every advertiser I speak with, regardless of their business type or condition.”

The reason she says this is because of the flexibility that RLSAs offer you for tailoring and optimizing your regular AdWords campaigns that appear on the SERPs. It’s the same principle of remarketing using the Display Network, but applied to the SERPs instead, and the ad format is your usual SERP text ad. The most common application is to adjust ad copy and bids for previous site visitors that have gone back to enter a query into Google.

For example, if you build an audience for users who abandon their shopping cart, you have the ability to bid higher to specifically target those users when they are back on Google. You can even offer an incentive to just those users that the general search public won’t see. If you want to get really granular, you can segment the cart abandonment audience by type of product and then tailor your ad copy to promote that product type in the ads they see.

Here are two good overviews of RLSAs to learn more: and


3. What are some other uses for custom dimensions?

A: Jordan Levy of glo Professional, a manufacturer and marketer of mineral based skincare and makeup products, mentioned quite a few ways you can use custom dimensions during the Day 3 #AnalyticsWeek webinar.

Some other ideas include:

  • Inbound phone calls
  • Offline transactions – eg brick and mortar retailers could load loyalty card data, POS data, foot traffic data, etc.
  • Buyers of individual products or product categories to see how well you retain or upsell them over time. For example, using the razor and razor blade analogy, the marketer of razors could build a custom dimension called ‘razor buyers’ that gets populated when someone buys a razor. Then that marketer could look at future purchases of that segment to see how well they are doing capturing their razor blade refill business.
  • Here is an entry on Google’s blog of a company that used Universal Analytics to correlate the consumption of caffeine and productivity in their office.  If you really want to get geeky, check out this entry about a recent GA Hackathon in London.  So you can see, there is really no limit to what you can track with Google’s 20 custom dimensions at your disposal.


4. Can you use hashtags in your ad copy, and use hashtags on trademark terms?   

A: We have used hashtags before in the Display URL of some of our paid search ads. We also found this tweet from Google stating that you can use hashtags in your ads if they reference a twitter thread:

 Yep, our Editorial policy now allows the use of hashtags in your ad text if they are used to reference a Twitter thread -Tash

As for using the hashtag in a trademark term, we did a quick test of adding a #trademark term to an AdWords campaign to see how Google treats the two in the SERP.

With respect to AdWords, we were able to add the #trademark term to an account as a phrase match.  That said, when we compared the traffic estimates of our “#trademark” and “trademark” terms, the numbers came back identical.  Similarly, when we added both terms to an ad group, the suggested first page bid came back with the same amount.  These 2 facts lead us to believe that the algorithm for matching search query to AdWords ads ignores the hashtag.  We’ve seen a similar situation with other special characters. For example, pc/nametag’s trademark includes a special character, the ‘/’.   In AdWords, the term “pc/nametag” gets matched the same way as if the user entered “pc nametag”. 

Interestingly, with respect to organic results, Google does in fact treat the hashtag version differently.  Below are 2 screen shots we took in 2 different incognito windows.  Notice that the ads are the same, but that the organic results differ with Lenovo’s twitter page listed first in the results for #lenovo.



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