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What is Search Retargeting? - Definition & Overview

Instructor: Danielle Reed

Danielle works in digital marketing and advertising. She holds a bachelor's degree in English and an MBA.

In this lesson we cover the definition of search retargeting and also present an overview of search retargeting. We discuss keywords, the concept from the consumer's perspective, the concept from the marketer's perspective, and its benefits.

Defining Search Retargeting

Pay attention to advertisements on your social media feeds, or even ads when you search on Google. Do you recognize the business names or product types you're seeing? Whether they're for a specific product you've looked at or a competitor to a service you've searched, these ads are likely a product of search retargeting.

Search retargeting is a form of retargeting where online marketers focus on an audience based on previous searches conducted online and on other websites. The majority of search retargeting shows up in display advertising examples. Display advertising refers to ads that incorporate pictures or images with text and/or company logos.

The Purpose of Search Retargeting

The purpose of search retargeting is to get new customers from a potential audience group, thereby reaching a specific target group. Companies do not need an existing relationship with the audience, unlike other strategies that require Facebook likes or email information.

Retargeting Depends on Keywords

For a campaign to be effective and attract relevant customers, a company or business needs to know exactly which keywords are most relevant to them. For example, if a business attorney specializes in partnerships and business incorporations, campaigns should focus on these keywords rather than general business. Retargeting can be set for searches in a certain geographic area as well.

Search Retargeting from a Consumer's Perspective

Imagine you're a consumer searching online for dog toys, and getting ideas for products you might prefer. You click on a few sites, explore a few options, and even add something to your cart. After this search, you might begin to notice advertisements for dog toys on social media, search engines, and other websites.

Search Retargeting from a Marketer's Perspective

Companies make the decision to run search retargeting campaigns based on keyword searches and target audience parameters. So if a marketer for a pet supply company has decided to target customers based on keywords like 'dog toys,' an add will be served to the consumer who performed that search.

Benefits of Search Retargeting

There are several reasons companies use search retargeting in their digital ad strategies. Whether a customer has visited your website or they just fit into a specific audience category, search retargeting will reach them. You can select a very targeted audience (narrow, but focused), or stick with a broader audience to get the highest number of hits.

The benefits of search retargeting include:

  • Focusing on specific keyword phrases and keyword strategies
  • Monitoring cost-per-clicks and sticking to a finite budget
  • Achieving a high amount of impressions based on highly searched keyword strategies
  • Raising awareness and exposing a brand to a large potential audience

Important Metrics in Search Retargeting

When running search retargeting campaigns, companies often look to the metrics to see if a campaign is going well. These numbers are consistently measured. Companies can look at them daily, weekly, monthly, or more. Some of the most important metrics in search retargeting for various companies are:

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