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Site RetargetingAs an online advertising you have probably heard the terms “search retargeting” and “site retargeting” talked about quite often. But if this is your first foray into digital marketing, you may think these terms are interchangeable – but they are not. Here’s why.

Search Retargeting

Most people still think of search retargeting as site retargeting; the practice of targeting users who have already visited your site in the hope of getting them to come back and make a purchase. But search retargeting is entirely different.

Search retargeting targets users with display ads based on keywords they’ve entered into Google and other search engines. It doesn’t matter if they’ve never heard of your company or product. All that matters is that they’ve searched for your campaign’s keywords and then browsed to other sites with display inventory available. Take a look at ExactDrive's Search Retargeting Brochure for additional information about how search retargeting works.

Benefits of search retargeting

1. Intent: Search retargeting works incredibly well because it’s based on search keywords, which are uniquely effective at capturing the intent of a consumer.

2. ROI: Search retargeting lets markets capture the power of intent at a tremendous discount because you can skip over the SEM bidding wars. In fact, search retargeting can save you up to 96% per click over SEM.

3. Natural Extension of SEM: Most importantly, search retargeting speaks the language search marketers understand: choosing your keywords, real-time bidding, optimization. Search marketers therefore come to search retargeting with a head start.

search retargeting

Site Retargeting

Also known simply as ‘retargeting’, site retargeting enables you to target individuals who have already visited your website. This is a critical distinction, because where you are targeting potential customers with search retargeting – with site retargeting, you target users who already know about you. After the user leaves your site without converting (i.e. completing a purchase, filling out a contact form etc.) they can be targeted with your advertisement as they navigate the web.

Benefits of search retargeting

1. Brand Awareness: Retargeting can aid significantly with the development of brand awareness. As people searching for specific content will be repeatedly exposed to your retargeted ads, you can make a big impact on your brand awareness over time, for a modest investment.

2. Greater understanding of your audience: Facts, figures and data from visitor behavior will give you a greater understanding of your audience. You can then optimize your website, social media profiles and marketing campaigns accordingly. You can also personalized your display advertisements with great acuracy, especially with dynamic ads.

3. ROI Easy to Evaluate: Like many other forms of online advertising, evaluating the ROI of a retargeting campaign is an extremely simple task. Impressions, site visits, hits, click throughs, and sales are all tracked, which makes it easy to know whether the strategy is working for your brand.

Note: Despite all of the benefits of site retargeting there are a few key mistakes to avoid when building and running a site retargeting advertisement campaign. Learn more.


Topics: Online Advertising, Dynamic Display Ads, retargeting, Search Retargeting, Brand Awareness, SEM

Tim Nichols

Written by Tim Nichols

Tim Nichols is a founding partner at ExactDrive, a digital media buying agency with white label, reseller and managed service options available. ExactDrive plans, manages, and optimizes online advertising campaigns with the objective of delivering measurable value and empowering clients to find precisely targeted audiences. ExactDrive has offices in Minneapolis, MN and Milwaukee, WI.

Tim Nichols is also a contributing author on Forbes.com.