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. 

May the Fours(quare) be with you.

Are you using Foursquare? We all love “checking in” to places because it’s a fast, easy way to alert friends and family of what we’re up to, whether it’s shopping at a trendy outlet, ordering drinks at a dive, or attending a concert. Essentially, it’s a way to shout out to the world how popular and social we are. “Be jealous,” we might as well say, “because we’re here and you’re not!” Actually, though, Foursquare is more than that. When used correctly, Foursquare can allow your business to unleash a powerful strategy that requires minimal work on your part. As customers “check in” to a location, they have to option to share it with Foursquare friends, Facebook friends, or Twitter followers. This results in an extremely valuable promotion of your business. Foursquare allows the business manager (you) to customize the way your business is displayed on the app. By logging in and clicking on the “edit” button on your business listing, you can personalize your phone number, address, Twitter handle, URL, and even details that any potential or current customer would want to know- such as hours of service, the house special, or a particular promotion. Another fantastic aspect of Foursquare is the use of Specials. By announcing a particular incentive for checking into your location, your business can reel in new customers effortlessly. Specials might consist of discounted purchases (20% off your hair cut with a first-time check in!), freebies (check in to receive free chips and salsa!), loyalty rewards (your first drink’s on us when you check in for the third time), and more. The Specials feature allows you to showcase your personality while offering a great incentive to current and potential customers. It only takes a few minutes to set up Specials. Immediately following, your business will display an orange graphic (symbolizing the Special) in the search results. A Special can be the single deciding factor of whether a customer chooses your business or another. Foursquare also provides your business with valuable insight to who your consumers are. Through enabling the Merchant Dashboard, you’ll be able to identify crucial information, such as who checks in, how often, the age and gender of your customers, and your most popular hours. This awareness will allow you to adapt your business accordingly and provide potential for growth in your weaker areas. Finally, Foursquare enables consumers to leave “tips,” for others. As a business owner, it’s important for you to be aware of what is being said here. We call this Reputation Management because it requires action on your part to monitor the activity. Whether the tips are negative or positive, you can use them to improve the customer’s experience. For example, if a tip is, “Ew, the bathrooms are gross!” then perhaps you should immediately give your attention to the facilities. Hopefully you’ll yield better tips, like “incredible beer selection!” This type of positive response will shed light on what your customers enjoy most about your company, thus allowing you to incorporate that as a unique selling point in the future. Will Foursquare be around forever? We don’t know the answer to that. What we do know is that it currently has over 100,000 regular users. It’s free for businesses to use. And it generates valuable promotion, new business, and trendy interaction with customers.