DoubleClick Lead Architect Launches Search Retargeting Platform


Ad retargeting typically conjures up images of display ads, but one seasoned ad executive has developed a retargeting platform based on search.

Magnetic Founder Josh Shatkin-Margolis will launch Monday a retargeting platform that relies on search data to determine intent. The former DoubleClick and Yahoo lead architect designed the platform to more accurately retarget ads for display, video, and more.

The platform relies on a semantic Web design to generate keywords that map to related words. Each have been assigned a "unit weight" to aid in determining intent and targeting precision. For example, the words "car insurance" might have a unit weight of 80 and map to the words "automobile insurance."

Think BlueKai and eXelate to understand the retargeting model. Magnetic has been testing the platform by selling search data to about 40 ad networks, publishers and ad exchanges that provide target criteria. Each provide Magnetic with a retargeting pixel.



Shatkin-Margolis believes Magnetic could aid publishers in getting a higher CPM for ad inventory. He explains that publishers can create retargeting strategies for display ads based on site search data by simply requesting a retargeting tag from the trafficker, setting the parameters in the Magnetic platform and embedding the pixel tag in the Web site.

The platform compiles data from search engines and Web site partners that serve search ads and applies the campaign data to Web sites. It ties these search terms to the terms people use on sites to target display, video and other types of ads. "We find that with search retargeting, which is different from search engine marketing, you can cast a wider net," Shatkin-Margolis says.

That "wider net" enables marketers to build ads that attract people searching for credit reports, as well as information on bankruptcy and home loans, a tactic that is not feasible in SEM.

For example, if Experian runs a credit report search campaign on Google, the company would only buy keywords specific to the words "credit report," although marketers would want to buy words that reach people searching for home loans, car leases or bankruptcy.

Shatkin-Margolis says it cost too much, and Google requires marketers only to purchase keywords relevant to the person's search.

Building the platform did not come without challenges. Merging the two forms of advertising proved difficult, Shatkin-Margolis says. Search focuses on keyword lists. Display relies on creative pieces. Search targeting serves ads to the person searching based on keywords at the moment they search. Retargeting expands the reach to people who have searched on specific keywords in the past. All these factors led to tests, trial and errors while developing the platform.

Magnetic also plans to announce today a seed funding round of $1.25 million led by venture capital firms NYC Seed, and IA Capital Partners.

5 comments about "DoubleClick Lead Architect Launches Search Retargeting Platform".
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  1. Kevin Lee from Didit / eMarketing Association / Giving Forward, March 22, 2010 at 9:25 a.m.

    Clearly the best search retargeting opportunities are the advertisers existing site visitors. And that's been done for ages with new flavors empowered by the ad Exchanges. The jury is still out on the scaleability and value of third-party search data sources.

    Early tests we've run have been encouraging... If CPMs stay low then many of the the auction-media specialists will have a leg up. But not every retargeter who raises a boatload of money will be the same.

  2. Jim Brock from privacychoice, March 22, 2010 at 1:59 p.m.

    Privacy often ends up being the last thing that early-stage targeting companies worry about, and it looks like Magnetic is no exception:

    No effective opt-out, incomplete privacy policy, etc.

    Is this one reason why there's so much distrust of the industry and so many calls for regulation?

  3. Jim Brock from privacychoice, March 24, 2010 at 9:24 a.m.

    To their credit, Magnetic jumped right on the questions about their privacy statement, corrected their opt-out process and provided useful clarification for consumers.

  4. Kimberly Dixon from Horn Group, March 24, 2010 at 11:30 a.m.

    Wanted to let everyone know that Magnetic's new website is in case they were having any trouble finding it. Thanks!

  5. Josh Shatkin-margolis from Magnetic, March 25, 2010 at 1:14 p.m.

    Thank you Jim for pointing out these privacy concerns and helping us resolve them. We are very happy to see that our policies and privacy protection is now inline with PrivacyChoice's recommendations.

    Thank you also Kevin for the comment. I agree that the potential customers that are most likely to convert (other than those already on your site) are the ones that previously visited your site. The benefit of re-targeting all users that have searched for a keyword, beyond those that have visited your site, is that you can reach more potential customers including those that did not visit your site and those that visited your competitors sites. My most recent blog post has a graphic that speaks to this at

    Please take a look and reach out with further questions and comments as your feedback is very helpful.


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