These days, the number of digital marketing opportunities seems endless. With more insight into end-user details than ever before, there is a wealth of information that marketers can tap into to make their advertisements more effective. This article will focus on search remarketing as one of the major opportunities, and will explain benefits, applications and cautions associated with it.
Search Retargeting vs. Search Remarketing
While each serves to more accurately reach specific audiences, search retargeting and search remarketing are two very different practices. With all of the ways to retarget users in digital media, things can get confusing quickly. Here’s how it breaks down:
Search retargeting uses display advertising to target users that have performed specific searches. For example, once a user performs a search within a publisher network (e.g., mortgage), the user is then tracked as having performed mortgage searches. From there, advertisers that have purchased “mortgage searchers” from the publisher can show their ads to this user across the publisher network.
Search remarketing uses website behavior to change bid rules associated with paid search ads, a process also called remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA), as dubbed by Google. With RLSA, advertisers create new campaigns based on user on-site behavior. From there, the advertisers would define keywords associated with user segments and set bids. Paid search ads are only shown to previous site visitors based on segmentation such as visitors in the checkout process, visitors with at least one item in their cart, etc.
Search Remarketing Benefits and Applications to Consider
Search remarketing is applicable to any marketer that would consider paid search, but it is especially beneficial to marketers in high-cost per click (CPC) industries, such as auto insurance (CPC ~ $30) or higher education (CPC ~ $20). With high volumes of searches and such high CPCs, daily budgets are depleted very quickly, and some keywords are just too expensive for many advertisers. With low conversion rates, the cost of a lead might be too high for even less competitive industries. Because rearch remarketing limits exposure to only include previous site visitors, volume is smaller, allowing for smaller budgets. Most importantly, because previous visitors, shoppers, etc., have much higher conversion rates, advertisers can afford to pay high CPCs for these users.
Marketers Beware: RLSA Mistakes to Avoid
While it is a great opportunity for marketers, search remarketing needs to be done with a few cautions. For example, compared to traditional campaigns, volume will drop dramatically when you select “target and bid.” With this option, marketers are switching from targeting all searchers in a specific geography to just those that have visited their site and/or taken some specific action.
If companies do not use separate campaigns for search remarketing, it is relatively easy to have typical campaigns (bid only – targeting all users) get switched to target and bid (targeting just previous visitors). This is because AdWords Editor has some rough edges when working with Targeting Settings. There is no option to change Targeting Setting.
The Final Word
Every company will have its own way of reaching its audience on digital channels. I would advise those who are not doing so already to consider search remarketing as a smart, cost-efficient way to reach a target audience. While there are cautions to consider, Search Remarketing is one of the most effective ways to expand a digital footprint.