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search_retargeting_strategySearch retargeting (not to be confused with site retargeting) is an exciting and often effective way to grab your audience's attention, and keep it. If you've ever wondered, as a consumer, why sometimes you see advertisements for websites that you've visited in the past show up on other pages across the web, this is a targeting methodology called retargeting at work. Often, these ads will display as you surf around the Internet and serve as a frequent reminder about pages or products that you viewed at an earlier time. To some people, this can be the prompt they need to complete a purpose, or a reminder to simply check back on a purchase they had been considering.

If you're running creative ads online, opting for search retargeting can be a great way to get a target audience that has already expressed interest in your brand to visit your website again. In other words, instead of simply trying to get attention from anyone and everyone, (and paying for the privilege too) - you narrow your search parameters and target an audience that is more likely to actually convert - meaning you use your budget more wisely.

What Is Search Retargeting?

Before we get into the reasons why search retargeting is likely to be sticking around for quite some time, it's best to better understand what this strategy is all about. At a simple level, search retargeting means targeting your audience according to a keyword or phrase. Search retargeting allows you to pick out the audience that you want based on searches they have made in the past that may include a keyword that is relevant to your brand or your website.


In a lot of ways, search retargeting is highly similar to any other retargeting strategy, because you only show a display advertisement to users after they have begun to take a specific action. In standard retargeting practices, advertisements are shown to users after those users have already visited the client website. For search retargeting, on the other hand, the advertisement is shown to users who have previously searched for certain keywords or keyword phrases. This strategy can offer up a great way to draw in and keep your audience members, especially if you align it with other forms of display advertising and search engine marketing.

Why Is Search Retargeting Here To Stay?

Search retargeting offers a host of benefits that are tough to accomplish with any other marketing strategy. For example, when you run a standard display advertisement online, you're left in a position of not really knowing who's going to end up seeing that creative. It could be someone that you need to buy from you, or it could be a random person who has no intention of pursuing your services. By using retargeting, you leverage more control over who your ads target. You can even pick and choose between different settings when deciding on your ideal audience. For example, if someone has already visited a certain webpage on your site in the past, you can set your ads to show only to these people, and so on.

As well as being more effective, search retargeting is more economical, as retargeting ads are generally less expensive in cost-per-click advertisements than other forms of online search ads. You can set up your bids in a number of ways using this strategy. The first charges you with every thousand views your ad receives, while the second allows you to pay for each click you receive. Using the right method, you can run a more successful campaign, and reduce the amount that you pay out in your budget at the same time.  It's a win-win scenario.

High Impressions And Branding Benefits

search_retargeting_benefitsAs long as you have what it takes to build a significant retargeting list, you can start to achieve higher amounts of impressions with your retargeting campaigns. As increasing numbers of people visit your site while you run the campaign, your list will grow larger, giving you more opportunities, and more potential customers. At the same time, search engine retargeting offers unique branding benefits, by giving you the opportunity to expose your brand to the people you most want to see it. By having your advertisements shown across the Internet, you can improve your chances that potential customers will keep your brand in mind, even if your audience isn't planning on purchasing something straight away.

At the same time, it gives you a new way to reach out to your current customers, by allowing you to show off new and exciting advertisements about promotions and products that are going to appear within your website soon. You can easily let your current customers know about updates, and give your past customers a reason to return to your house time and time again for further purchases.

Topics: retargeting, Search Retargeting, Site Retargeting

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.