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E-Marketing Performance Blog

Search Retargeting: Grow Search Marketing Beyond Search Engines

In my last post, I talked about why people who search on your site keywords but don’t visit your website aren’t necessarily lost forever.  It is possible to have a second chance to make your first impression by doing search retargeting and showing display ads to those users after they have searched.  This is huge because, even if you rank first and/or have multiple listings (organic, PPC, shopping, etc.), only a small portion of those searchers make it to your site.  This is a huge pool of prospects that you can re-engage.


Search retargeting

Many more chances to start the conversation

Not only can you re-engage them, but you can do it in a different context and on a larger scale.  Instead of competing against 10-20 other listings on a search engine results page (SERP), you can be seen next to relevant content on your prospects’ favorite websites that permit display ads.  Plus, since page views are growing exponentially faster than searches on search engines, your prospects can be exposed to you on a larger brand-building level.

For example, if there are 100,000 unique searches for your keywords, that’s about the number of impressions that you’ll get if you’re on the first page of search results for every single search (although unlikely because of personalized search, location factors, etc.).  But, if you retarget those searchers on publisher sites, there are many more impressions to be had.  Since you don’t want to stalk your prospects, let’s say you serve them an ad an average of five times after they have searched.  That’s 500,000 impressions next to relevant content with more engaging display ads. Compare that to the 100,000 in a sea of competitor links on a SERP.  Increased exposure that’s targeted and effective can lead to increased results.

From rankings to exposure

Because of this possibility, search retargeting is re-shaping how marketers think about search.  Instead of simply going after organic rankings and bidding on keywords with paid ads for exposure, the value of search is both on and OFF the SERPs.  The fact that you can engage a web user with a targeted display ad almost immediately after they’ve performed a search is behavioral targeting through display at its best.

This technology is causing projections for display media buying to explode.  Just check out the eMarketer chart below.  Search spending is on pace to almost double in the US by 2016, whereas display almost triples.  If the trend continues as shown, display will take over search by 2020.  When it comes to search retargeting specifically, each of the top three vendors (Chango, Magnetic and Simpli.fi) are growing very quickly.  They’ve all had recent press releases announcing expansion.


Where search retargeting fits in

How will search retargeting fit into the web marketing landscape of the future?  I like how Josh Shatkin-Margolis, CEO and founder of search retargeting firm Magnetic put it in this search retargeting article

“Soon, not doing search retargeting will be a fire-able offense for an advertising agency… The advertiser will ask: ‘You mean a user went on a search engine, raised their hand saying they want a new cell phone, and the user only received one text ad via the search engine, next to our competitors text ads, and on a page that the user likely only spent 30 seconds? You never followed up with that user beyond the search engine, in a one-on-one setting on their favorite publisher, and with a picture of our product?  You’re fired!'”

The time has come to grow your search marketing beyond search engines.

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