Australia's oldest department store partnered with performance and experience agency Columbus to launch fresh remarketing strategies targeted at digital shoppers. David Jones achieved first-to-market milestones and saw substantial increases in return on advertising spend (ROAS).


  • Implement latest remarketing strategies to transform David Jones website visitors from browsers to buyers
  • Achieve first-to-market success by positioning David Jones at the forefront of product and strategy innovation
  • Drive incremental revenue at a more efficient rate than previous remarketing strategies


  • Used remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA), Google Display Network (GDN) dynamic remarketing, and dynamic creative to increase ROAS while reaching new consumers
  • Rolled out funnel-based remarketing strategy aimed at engaging consumers further along the purchase funnel


  • Google Shopping remarketing lists for search ads saw a 97% increase in conversion rate and a 72% increase in return on ad spend
  • GDN dynamic remarketing increased conversion rate by 642% and decreased cost per sale by 74%
  • Optimised remarketing list for search ads delivered a 34% increase in return on ad spend and a decrease in cost per sale by 23%
December 2015

Founded in Sydney in 1838, David Jones has grown to 39 stores, with a strong ecommerce presence throughout Australia. As the country's oldest department store, David Jones' heritage and reputation are unmatched, but it sought to improve its digital sales by establishing better relationships with online shoppers. In partnership with its agency Columbus, the brand implemented three innovative remarketing strategies, which led to an increased return on advertising spend (ROAS) and first-to-market milestones along the way.

"Combining dynamic creative and bid multipliers with on-site audience groups across Google Shopping, Google Display Network, and Search, David Jones has seen ROAS increase by 286% and conversion rates increase by 642%. We've seen the uplift in conversion and ROAS justify up to a 150% increase in bid to display the right message to the right audience at exactly the right moment in time," explained JP MacCormick, a business director at Columbus.


Improving ROI with remarketing lists

The brand partnered with Columbus to revolutionise its remarketing strategies. The goal was to find a way to get website visitors who were leaving the brand's website without purchasing to return (or to make another purchase). David Jones embraced the opportunity to be at the forefront of innovation by testing new digital products and strategies.

It focused on three strategies—remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA), Google Display Network (GDN) dynamic remarketing, and Google Shopping RLSA—to drive incremental revenue at a more efficient rate than previous remarketing attempts. The results were increases in ROAS and conversion rates across the board.

RLSA. In February 2015, David Jones rolled out a remarketing strategy, aimed at reaching consumers further down the purchase funnel. Prior to this, the brand ran blanket remarketing strategies that broadly targeted all website visitors with a +50% bid modifier.


In comparison to previous audience strategies, this new RLSA approach got impressive results—a 34% increase in ROAS, in addition to a 10.5% lift in conversion rate (CVR), with both the cost per click (CPC) and cost per sale (CPS) decreasing by 14% and 23%, respectively. Even more impressive is the fact that these performance improvements occurred during Australia's off-season for retail brands. Retargeting gave the brand the flexibility to optimise in real time based on performance, and David Jones did just that after a month into the new strategy.

GDN dynamic remarketing. Next, the brand utilised GDN dynamic remarketing with funnel-based bid modifiers. It was the first Australian fashion retailer to participate in a trial run of international Alpha, a new AdWords targeting feature, which uses Google Merchant Center (GMC) feed data for keyword-based auto-targeting. Here, too, David Jones saw better results.

Compared to the GDN prospecting the brand had done previously, this new funnel-based remarketing strategy benefited GDN activity immensely. The Alpha feed targeting improved relevancy, resulting in a 66% increase in sales and a 642% increase in CVR. Additionally, David Jones saw a 286% ROAS and a 74% decrease in CPA.

Google Shopping RLSA. The brand also revamped its Google Shopping strategy by introducing RLSA, which was equally fruitful. The brand improved conversion and click- through rates by increasing bids and impression shares on search with product listing ads for users who had previously shown an interest in specific products.

The results for this channel exceeded expectations, and the funnel-based strategy likely played a big part in that success. David Jones saw a 97% increase in CVR, a 35% increase in CTR, and a 72% return on ad spending using Google Shopping RLSAs, while CPA decreased by 32%.

"Implementing audience strategy delivered a more relevant, customer-centric experience by targeting people based on their purchase funnel and individual behaviour."

Capturing consumers with RLSA

David Jones saw incredible results by combining several remarketing techniques. The brand plans to continue leveraging these methods moving forward. It will focus on serving offers to consumers who are further down the purchase funnel, using more dynamic creative on search RLSA. It also plans to work with Columbus to utilise local inventory ads in conjunction with funnel-based remarketing strategies to gain even stronger results. "Implementing audience strategy delivered a more relevant, customer-centric experience by targeting people based on their purchase funnel and individual behaviour. We immediately experienced significant incremental sales, improvements to ROAS as high as +286%, additional new customers to the business, and increased numbers of existing customers returning to checkout," said a David Jones spokesperson.