In the current age of the Internet, search is still the behemoth, the channel we cannot live without, accounting for roughly 50% of online ad spend. While search sites do undoubtedly serve as the predominant online aggregation point for consumer purchase-intent data for marketers, consumers spend a very small proportion of their online time on these sites.
Moreover, for the vast majority of commercial products and services, consumers frequently browse before they buy following their visits to search sites, leaving marketers with tremendous opportunities to reach in-market consumers when they arrive to display inventory during the vast majority of their online time browsing the web. The opportunity to locate, identify and engage with aggregated, in-market consumers outside the search page within display inventory is commonly referred to as search retargeting.
As a consumer myself, I am constantly being bombarded with ads for items that I don’t want or need. Frankly, I find these untargeted ads intrusive, since they provide no value to me and interrupt my enjoyment of the relevant content that I am consuming. I rest easy knowing that as search retargeting gains in popularity with marketers, I’ll begin to see more relevant advertising wherever I go, based on my previously demonstrated interests on search and other vertical sites. The marketers who deliver ads to me will benefit from engaging with an interested, in-market consumer and the publishers on the sites where I see these retargeted ads will benefit from providing me with an enhanced and more relevant browsing experience, where both the content and the advertising on their sites aligns with my interests. At the end of the day, however, it is me, the consumer, who is the primary beneficiary, and if I feel otherwise I can always opt out.
How effective is search retargeting? There is no shortage of available case studies. For example, a leading ad network reported a dramatic increase in view-throughs when leveraging gaming data to deliver targeted ads over a one-month period. Prefer click-throughs to view-throughs? A leading DSP reported a 200 percent increase in click-throughs from targeted auto ads that leveraged auto data. How about conversions? A leading travel site reported a 500 percent increase in click-to-conversion rates.
How does this work? With search retargeting, ads are delivered everywhere based on search behavior collected from aggregated, third party data-providing sites that are compensated when their data is used. With this information, marketers can reach completely new audiences that may not be familiar with their product or service, or even reach out to customers who already love their products and will respond to an ad for a related, relevant product with which they can associate.
In fact, a recent study by Bizrate Insights found that 85 percent of consumers had a positive or neutral attitude towards retargeted advertisements. According to Hayley Silver, vice president of Bizrate Insights, “Display retargeting is an effective way to reengage with customers who have shown a direct interest in specific products.”
So search marketers, take note, and don’t leave search retargeting out of your quiver.