Search retargeting – the new kid on the block

Search retargeting, this is how it works; A consumer searches for products or services on a search engine, data is collected based on their keywords, identifying them as a customer prospect, the display network technology allows you to exhibit an ad to that consumer as they browse the Web, this allows the consumer to click on your ad and visit your website in relation to something that is already TOMA (top of mind), introducing them to your purchase funnel.

I see this new advancement in behavioural retargeting as very beneficial for businesses with a poor or developing SEO footprint, as it’s designed to find new customers which have likely never visited a site, to which they have now been lured. These prospects can now be targeted purely based on their search behaviour, as they move away from search query result pages to other online activities and websites. Now that’s pretty cool.

 So where have we come from and where are we now?

Display Networks

So display networks have been around since search and advertising existed on the web. For advertisers the benefits are that you can create specific ads, place those ads on websites that are relevant to your brand’s products and services, and ‘display’ those ads to a segmented target audience. The technology using display networks allows you to manage your campaigns and spend, based on CPC or CPM. There are multiple display networks, each network is made up of associated websites that you (generally an agency) purchase site real estate (banners, leader boards, rectangles, half page ads etc) from.

Site Retargeting

Retargeting has been around for some time and for many businesses, this proves to be very successful; the practice purposely displays targeted ads to people browsing the web based on websites they have previously visited. The vast majority of overall web traffic does not convert to sales, so retargeting helps companies promote their products and services to visitors who leave a site without some form of conversion. When you browse across the web, you leave cookies; the amount of cookies can determine the amount of engagement in the original brand. When you visit another website that has ad space, then ads will be served to those people that have left “cookie” engagement with the original brand of interest.

Search retargeting

So now I have just discovered, search retargeting, the new kid on the block.

Search retargeting is another form of behavioural retargeting but it aims to be even more innovative, with the intent that it can be leveraged to drive new customers that have not even visited a brand’s website before. These web users are being targeted, not by their cookies, but by search terms (key words) typed into their browser.

It must be very new, as I can’t find anyone in Australia that allows tailored specific ads to be served, based on individual products being previously searched. For example, if someone is browsing the Tyreright website for a GT Radial Adventuro Mud Terrain, 225/75R16 tyre, to be exact, then I would love to serve them an ad (for the exact same tyre) if they did not make the purchase, perhaps even an up-sell by throwing in a free a car safety kit if they purchase online today.  I am sure these advancements are just around the corner; therefore I am very keen to follow the capabilities and the cost versus ROI.

The introduction of search retargeting represents major progression for direct response and brand marketers who are keen to acquire new audience acquisition and engagement. There is a great opportunity for using search retargeting to complement display, SEM and SEO performance by increasing the exposure through search.

Combining site and search retargeting into your suite of search tactics can place your brand at the fingertips of consumers repeatedly while they are bouncing around the modern day purchase funnel. This builds forefront of brain awareness with the right consumers at the right time.

If anyone knows of some innovative companies using this technology on Australian based display networks then let me know.

Dominic Byrne

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Dominic Byrne Content Marketing