B2B Tactics Playbook: What is Search Retargeting?

What is search retargeting?Let’s face it, your business cannot have enough new customers, and it’s great to have those customers come directly to you to your website. But, what about those potential customers who are unaware of your business?  What could you potentially offer them?

No matter how much traffic your website generates, it’s paramount to attract unique visitors — potential buyers that have never visited.

It’s great to have high SEO rankings, but to truly maximize search results, marketers are turning toward search retargeting. This targets user audiences based on previously used keyword searches through Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.

For example, say someone searches for frozen pizza dough, that search data can be used to target that potential customer with display ads for varying types of related products, ranging from commercial to consumer use, once they have left the search engine.

This provides a uniquely coy, yet powerful approach to display advertising – the intent has been shown by the customer simply based on that quick search.

“Search retargeting allows for you to stay in front of clients after they have done their initial search.  Historically, once a person left the search engine, there was not a viable way to stay in front of that user,” says Carl Robitaille, senior manager of ad operations metrics at MultiView. “Targeting by keyword level allows you to make more granular optimizations and campaigns then you would with larger audience and keyword segments.”

According to one expert, there are five keys to success in search retargeting:

  • Do not overtarget at the start: Using a broad range of keywords yields a greater return than if you start narrowing the field down to specifics. Use an array of combinations, such as branded terms, competitor terms and phrases, lower funnel phrases, and upper and lower funnel keywords – let the data tell you which terms are performing best.
  • Get that pixel down quick: There’s a plethora of data that’s obtainable by using your existing customer base. When people fill out a form or make a purchase on a client site, select companies can maintain an extensive history of searches performed by these customers over the last 30 days. Don’t discount what might appear to be useless or unrelated data. Sometimes a phrase or word that appears meaningless at first may turn out to have a specific significance once you dig into it.
  • Don’t ignore certain segments going to other credible sites: Consider car review sites as destinations filled with people who are interested in new car purchases. Such sites might be worth retargeting as a dealer. Contextual capabilities driven by keywords provide an ability to gain impressions from audiences viewing content that matches specific phrases.
  • Play nice with algorithms: When working with automated systems, take advantage of those thousands of data points instead of trying to work around them. Start broad by using look-alikes and then allowing for optimization.
  • Have the right attribution model: Have performance-based goals so you can actually measure whether your campaign is working or not.

Search retargeting is still in its infancy, yet it remains as exciting as it was when it burst into the marketing spotlight in 2012.



MultiView Team Expert Stephen Peters

Stephen Peters

Senior Email Marketing Strategist



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