Retargeting: Advances in Search Engine Marketing

Lately Iave been stuffing my brain with as much Search knowledge as possible. It takes me back to the days of college general education courses, which pried me from my element and exposed my weaknesses. I’m really into literature, words, and language. Let’s discuss the internal conflicts of Fahrenheit 451 . Please, though, donat make me mess with fractions. Evolve has been a beneficial experience for me. I’ve strained my brain capacity by poring over Search-related articles, digesting new terms like “web analytics” and completely altering my perception of how the SEO industry operates. In a more concise fashion: I’ve learned and I continue to learn. Recently, I noticed a pattern in the banner ads I have seen on various web sites. I’ve always understood that paid search campaigns are based on specific keywords that users search for. I’ve got that. It makes sense. I also realize that on a search platform, such as Google, various businesses will display advertisements on the search engine result pages. (Or as the experts call it, the SERP.) One of the brands we have the privilege of working with is Comfy Sacks. I’ve researched them a lot and have explored their site a boatload of times.



Following my research, I was surprised to see the paid advertisements at the top and sides of the various blogs or web sites I visited. I wondered- embarrassingly- aloud, why are these ads appearing on a blog about social media? I had no idea how PPC worked beyond the SERPs. I’ve seen banner ads on specific sites, but I always figured that the site owners received payment from whomever the ads represented. Turns out, there’s a little feature called retargeting that search engines use to maximize companies’ PPC investments. After I had viewed Comfy Sacks’ site, the engines followed my tail, dropping hints of the brand as I moved to other pages. Retargeting acts as a subtle reminder: Psst! Remember us? You like us. It works. It works because the banner ads are directed to people who have already showed an interest. Retargeting works when web sites insert a cookie into the user’s browser. Cookies are nothing new; they’re used on nearly every site for remembering passwords and usernames. Now they’re also used for personalizing banner ads on sites.

Retargeting is really an advanced form of direct marketing. What better way to advertise than to focus in on a particular niche? Traditionally, this was (and still is) initiated with the purchase of lists from database-creation companies like Acxiom. The lists purchased include contact information of consumers that fall into a specific category. Often these lists are compiled via credit card swipes or entry forms online. Did you recently receive an e-mail blast advertising a subscription to Popular Photography magazine? Could it be because you recently purchased a camera? You bet. It’s all about sending the right message to the right person at the right time. Due to retargeting, the chances of hitting “the right person” are greatly increased when the scope is significantly narrowed. Retargeting is great news for businesses. It’s been said that a customer needs to be contacted multiple times before following through with a sale. Retargeting banner ads can provide that persistence. It certainly improves the chances of a sale. And that’s always a good thing.

Written by Emily Wisely.