Would you like to learn how to do upsells just like this for your own business(es)?

Upselling a product

While there are plenty of companies out there doing upsells like this to increase their company’s revenue,

Sample of Amazon's upsell strategy

Amazon generates 30 percent of their revenue just from upsells.


most of them are still only doing it with email, believing that is all that is possible using the purchase information they have.

You see …

If these same companies would offer these same upsells to their targeted prospects with a paid ad instead of just using email like this, then they would give themselves literally hundreds of chances to make that upsell instead of just that one.

Bar Graph for Succesful Upsells

And this doesn’t just apply to selling products either. Pretty much anything can be upsold at a higher rate with ads, including most services, even if customers complete their purchase offline, all of which I will show you in this article.


If you say to yourself at any time “this process is just to complicated for me to do” and you would like for me to set it up for you so you start getting 30% more repurchases too, then you can request that from me here


My Step-by-Step Process for Creating More Upsells Opportunities Using Remarketing Ads


Step 1: Finding Out What Is Selling the Most Frequently Together

To generate more upsells than you are right now, you will begin the process by reviewing your prior years’ sales data to see what has most often sold in pairs, so we will know exactly what kind of upsell products and services to promote with an upsell.

You are looking for customers who have purchased:

  1. more than one item
  2. and in multiple engagements.


Even if you haven’t been tracking your customers or clients’ purchase activity before, you can easily do that using merchant data by digging through it the hard way and recompiling a data set like this, or using a shopping cart customer profiling plugin or other user profiling software on your site to do this data collection for you, as well as export this from your bookkeeping software or CRM system where this might exist:

2013 Purchase History

process in creating more Upsells Opportunities (1)

Process in creating more Upsells Opportunities (2)

In this case, we would ultimately create an ad for item 121 to be shown to all 22 purchasers to run our upsell campaign tests.


To take this one step further, you can learn more about how these upsells happen if you have enough of them to figure out not only what you should be upselling but also how you would upsell it.


Out of all the things we can use, the most important thing you can determine will be the average amount of “time” that normally passes between each purchase/upsell:

process in creating more Upsells Opportunities (3)

As you will want to know how to time limit your campaigns with this information:

Adwords define audience feature

And plan accordingly based upon that information.


The second most important thing you will want to identify will be the demographic trends, as you can use that information to filter your campaigns down even further OR create unique ads for each demographic type:

Upsell Demographic Trends (1)

Upsell Demographic Trends (2)

As just one example, if it’s mostly men picking up gifts for women, then of course this makes a huge difference to get this granular.


To show you how this data analysis works in practice, here is one case study we will use as an example. The company in this case study was a local professional services company …

For this client in question, our firm analyzed over 5,000 of their most recent booked appointments to find the services that were most often booked together to run our ads.

Two services we identified in this case were as follows:

Thompson Tax Services Ads (1)

Thompson Tax Services Ads (2)

After looking at the results that were generated by running these upsells, we learned to dial back our upsell campaigns to run within just two days of each person’s initial booking, to greatly improve our upsell campaigns’ profitability by limiting the amount of ad spend needed to generate a similar amount of upsells.

Upsell Campaigns

Lesson Learned: While our client’s campaigns eventually were a huge success, we could have initially done much better by using ALL available data at our disposal first before launching our client’s new upsell ad campaigns.



Step 2: Offer / Incentive Development

While we could go ahead and market our products and services to each person, we want to upsell at this point, knowing what we need to offer with no other further critical thinking,  You will have a much greater chance of success running those upsells along with a good incentive as that will significantly increase your uptake/response rate and decrease your opportunity cost:

Remote Starter product advertisement

The easiest way to get this right is to check with the person in charge of your email marketing program, to see what upsells they have been running in the past, as what worked there will also work here.

For those of you who have never run upsells before, you can typically avoid going into this thing blind by signing up for your competitor’s email autoresponder sequence and finding upsells they have been using first:

EmailInsights Home page

Email Insights allows you to see what your competitors have been upselling to their own customers or clients by email, something I regularly do myself.


You can also outright purchase all your competitors’ stuff to look out for the actual ads that they run, if you have the capability to do it, which I generally highly recommend before starting out …

By my account, it seems the remarketing upsell utilization varies a lot by the size of the company in question, so you may or may not be able to find a competitor you can mimic while rolling this one out …

  • For small to medium-sized companies, 1-5 percent are actually doing any kind of PPC upsells as I mention in this article.
  • For larger companies, upsell campaign implantation rate seems to be 20% percent or more.


Here are some sample upsell offers I have run in the past, to give you even more ideas on how to actually upsell your prospects, whether that be B2B, B2C, or eComm:

Sample of Upsell offer(1)

Software Support Service Upgrades (professional install)

Sample of Upsell offer (2)

Offering the same thing again on discount for current customers (for physical products)

Sample of Upsell offer (3

Upgrades to the service level itself (hotels)



Step 3: The Campaign Setup

Now to actually get your upsells in front of your purchasing audience, you will need to tag everyone who comes to your site with a general remarketing tag first (if you are not doing so already), so you can actually target any of these people who purchase later.

Campaign Setup (1)

Having tagged everyone for remarketing, we can narrow down the people we will actually want to target AND the things you will market to them using several different sub-audiences from within our same main remarketing audience that we set up before:

Campaign Setup (2)


Sample for Google Analytics setup (1)

Example Setup in Google Analytics


Customers who have already purchased one of our upsells already can be taken out of our upsell campaign sequence each time by setting up a unique suppression list for each unique upsell, similar to the one I have set up here:

Campaign Setup (3)


Sample for Google Analytics setup (2)

Example Setup in Google Analytics



Upselling Offline Purchasers

Webform Leads Upsells

Believe it or not, you CAN also upsell people who have purchased offline too if they either filled out a form on your site or placed a call to your company from a number that was listed on your site.

They don’t just have to have bought something online.

Sample for Webform Leads Upsells(1)

In order to upsell your customers or clients who have contacted you via your site’s webform first, you will simply store the “client ID” of every person who fills out your webform, along with each person’s information until they have made a purchase later on, when you will actually need it.

Sample for Webform Leads Upsells (2)

When each user purchase occurs later on, you will send this client ID information, along with each purchaser’s activity, in the form of a “custom dimension override” (which is really just the product or service they purchased that was also input with your same CRM record) back over to Google to trigger your upsell ads.

Sample for Webform Leads Upsells(3)

Here is a graphical representation from the Google Analytics blog that shows how they use the purchase data you give them to:

Sample of Google Analytic Blog

If you want to know the technical setup process to accomplish this, you can find this on Google Developers Blog.


If you are currently using Salesforce CRM, this process is made seamless with the use of the salesforce JavaScript script to automatically export and upload your sales product data into your AdWords ad account via their API in real time without having to do anything at all once it’s set up.

In this case, your ad will be triggered as soon as a sale is marked down as closed by your sales staff in the CRM.

Sample how data parity occurs using Salesforce CRM to Analytics Integration (1)

Sample how data parity occurs using Salesforce CRM to Analytics Integration (2)Example of how data parity occurs using Salesforce CRM to Analytics Integration with the exact data points that are at play.

Source: More on this process can be found on the e-nor blog here.



Upselling Leads Who Purchase by Phone

Now, in case you want to upsell ads for someone who called in first, you will need to use a third-party call tracking software to capture each person’s client ID when they call, in order to later trigger your ads when they purchase … Invoca (call tracking) is one software that allows for this.

But unlike the process of doing this with a webform, however, where you would push this client ID and custom dimension override directly to Google yourself, Invoca will in this case send over the client ID information to Google on your behalf, since they are now the ones that hold the client ID of each call-in lead that was generated

Upsell leads purchasing using phone (1)

Invoca will then tell Google Analytics which of these call-in users converted after you informed them of using the “Signals” function of their service:

Upsell leads purchasing using phone (2)Signals may be uploaded to Invoca using a manual upload or via their built-in API, whichever you prefer.


Third-Party Lead Tracking Systems

Call data can also be posted to Google Analytics using even more sophisticated systems, including inbound/outbound call systems such as Five9, if that is what your company uses to handle call-in leads, as well as the most popular marketing automation systems for form lead processing, if that is what your company uses.

Lead handling softwares

In-Store Purchases or Any Other Non-web Originated Purchase

With an upsell ad, you can also target customers online who have never otherwise visited your site, if you can alternatively collect each customer or client’s email address at the time of purchase.

My favorite way to do this is by offering a post-sale discount, which requests this information if you are so inclined to do so.

Sample of Paper Rebate Form

This rebate can capture who bought what by purchase type to build a database in the backend.


Facebook, as well as AdWords and even AdRoll, allow you this capability to target a list of email addresses based upon their purchase activity:

Screenshot on creating a Custom Audience

This process of uploading emails to these advertising platforms can be automated using third-party tools, such as Driftrock, in real time if you have a participating CRM:

Driftrock tool for uploading emails to advertising platforms

Bonus: Tier 2 Upsell Ads

If you wish to really ratchet up your results …

You can take all the people who have already taken advantage of your upsell or cross sell ads and try to upsell them again with even more upsell ads, to further increase your upsell numbers …

Tier 2 Upsell Ads(1)

This doesn’t even have to stop with two upsell ads either …

We have found that about half the people you have successfully gotten to upsell or cross sell will also take advantage of your second upsell if what you offer them is also highly relevant.


If you do more than 1,000 unique transactions a month, then I would usually recommend that second upsell.

At 5,000 transactions or more a month, you should likely be doing three upsells or even more.

We have found no limit as to how many upsells we have found profitable, as long as the upsells or cross sells remain relevant.

Tier 2 Upsell Ads(2)


Corey Zieman

Paid Search Strategist

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