Most online marketers today are familiar with retargeting—the practice of serving display ads to users based on their online behavior. The most common form of retargeting is known as site retargeting: The ads are displayed to users who have visited an advertiser's site, with the ads seemingly following the user around as he or she travels around the Web.
But, contrary to popular belief, site retargeting isn't the only form of retargeting. In fact, a newer retargeting method, known as search retargeting, is on the rise and it's changing the way people think about retargeting.
Search retargeting serves display impressions to users based on the keywords they've typed into Google, Bing, Yahoo, or other search engines. So, for example, if you search for "Nike Air Jordan" in Google, that search data can be used to target you with display ads for Nike shoes once you leave the search engine.
It's a uniquely powerful approach to display advertising, because it's based on the intent that's revealed when someone performs an online search. In other words, it works for the same reason that search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns work. And because search retargeting doesn't rely on visits to an advertiser's site, it can be a great tool for bringing in new customers.
If you're unfamiliar with ad technology, search retargeting can sound complicated. And there is certainly a lot of complicated technology behind it. But for marketers who want to take advantage of this new tool, the process is relatively straightforward.
Let's take a look at six steps that can help you launch a successful search retargeting campaign.
1. Choose your DSP carefully
In search retargeting, or any other form retargeting, your campaign is only as strong as the data behind it. A display side provider (DSP) that runs search retargeting campaigns collects data from partners. These partners, in turn, drop cookies onto the browsers of users who arrive on their sites via search engines. The top search retargeting vendors capture billions of search terms, but some DSPs capture more than others. And the more search data you have, the more customers you're going to be able to target.