Why Smart Search Marketers Are Using Search Retargeting

How Search Retargeting Can Benefit Search Marketers

A lot of search marketers are missing out on a big opportunity: Search Retargeting.

First, a quick primer: Unlike Site Retargeting, which is designed to bring users back to   previously visited sites, Search Retargeting serves display impressions to users based on their search terms. And this means that, unlike Site Retargeting, Search Retargeting leads to new visitors and harnesses the same power of user intent that makes search marketing so effective. Simply put, Search Retargeting can be a phenomenal tool for generating leads, increasing brand awareness, and competitor conquesting.

Indeed, Search Retargeting is now one of the most effective ways to buy media, and it’s rapidly changing the way display campaigns are run. Chango’s “Search Retargeting Barometer, Q3 2012” found that two-thirds of our clients are moving money from conventional display budgets to finance Search Retargeting campaigns. And those who try Search Retargeting seem to like what they see.  Our survey found that two-thirds of clients think it’s likely that they’ll increase their budgets for Search Retargeting over the next six months.

You might think that search marketers would be ahead of the curve on Search Retargeting. After all, when done properly, Search Retargeting works a lot like a PPC campaign. Search Retargeting campaigns are set up and optimized at the individual keyword level, and they generally begin with keywords from an existing PPC account.  And the similarities don’t end there. Search Retargeting campaigns rely on real-time bidding, a concept most search marketers should know a lot about.

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But despite the considerable overlap between the two marketing practices, most search marketers have been hesitant to experiment with Search Retargeting. And, it’s not as though search marketers have never heard of Search Retargeting.  A full 70% of respondents to the 2012 State of Search Marketing Report released by SEMPO and Econsultancy indicated that media retargeting is either a “highly significant” or “significant” trend in the context of search marketing efforts.

So, what gives? Why are so many search marketers not, at the very least, experimenting with Search Retargeting campaigns?

One theory is that, even though they recognize retargeting is an important trend, many search marketers don’t want to deal with the complexities of display ads. The PPC units that dominate search are simple and plain, whereas display ads can come in all shapes and sizes.

But if the nuances of the creatives are holding search marketers back from trying Search Retargeting, they shouldn’t be. Most display units are relatively simple. Flash units, homepage takeovers, and other dramatic units make up a minority of total impressions. Search marketers may need a little bit of extra knowledge to get started with Search Retargeting, but they will already understand the general principles.

And that fundamental understanding of how Search Retargeting works should give search marketers a huge boost. The same 2012 State of Search Marketing Report cited above found that the top three factors in evaluating fresh ways to reach clients are cost to implement, ability to manage in-house, and time to implement. Search Retargeting, meanwhile, is relatively inexpensive (especially when factoring in the impressive performance); it can be run by current staffers; and it’s quick and easy to start for someone already schooled in the art of search marketing.

In other words, there’s no reason why search marketers should be standing on the sidelines as display campaigns begin to integrate the fundamental concepts of  search marketing.  Search marketers shouldn’t just be jumping on this bandwagon. They should be driving it.

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