If you’re reading this and have just gotten into search engine marketing, be aware of a few things.
a) RLSA just means retargeting — of course it performs well because the visitor has been to your site prior. The general strategy is to bid on upper funnel terms (and all terms) against your RLSA audience. Also be sure they have not already purchased, most people botch their cookie list mgmt to one degree or another, inadvertently.
b) the idea that you can inflate your cookie pool and get similar conversion from the new expansive list is outrageous. If I sell pool covers and have a viral post about finding Pokemon underwater, nobody is going to buy my pool cover and it’s doubtful that they’ll even search for anything within my keyword list that is running against my remarketing list for search audience.
Only if you can say with some assurance that your audience “expansion strategy” will result in a comparable visitor set (behaviorally, etc…), then is this a valid strategy. Typically, the only audience that will behave similarity is more of your existing search and direct audience…which is scarce.
c) To Larry’ larger point, non-brand paid search for companies in a market where there are a half dozen or more well capitalized advertisers, has gotten really expensive. The top bidders are not making money, they’re stretching budgets and using CAC / LTV metrics to justify spend in addition to the opportunity cost of preventing the competition from “getting in the game”.
d) One theme that has rung true throughout a decade in SEM and digital, it’s rare that you find loopholes…sometimes the best defense is a strong and consistent offense, hammering away at what works and combining smart targeting with good on-site promotions and actually trying to understand how you can separate yourself from the competitors.