Commentary

To Retarget Or Not To Retarget? When It Comes To Search, There's No Question

Target-B

Retargeting will become a necessary tool for online marketers as the advertising industry moves into cross-channel ad targeting, serving up consumers a consistent message across computer, mobile and TV. Believe me, it's just a matter of time. Yesterday, I wrote about a white paper, "When Money Moves to Digital, Where Should It Go?," published by comScore and ValueClick Media. Today I'm revisiting the topic because marketers should consider viewing search retargeting as a mandatory tool, rather than an option, especially when it comes to branded keyword campaigns.

Since searching on trademark terms demonstrates a clear interest in a brand, it makes sense that retargeting should generate the highest lift in search queries. Retargeting generated the highest lift in trademark search behavior at 1,046%, among six different media placement strategies, according to the study released Wednesday.

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Many companies have used campaigns that serve up ads to the same person across multiple media channels -- PC, mobile and TV. NBC Universal, ESPN, Google, and Microsoft-to name a few, but Kenshoo CMO Aaron Goldman isn't aware of any company specifically targeting the same ad to the same consumer across all three channels. "It would be pretty cool if they could track people across each of those screens and show coordinated ads," he says.

Don't worry, Aaron, we'll see it soon. It will work similar to Google call on Gmail where you can start the conversation on your PC and push the asterisk button to transfer the call to a mobile phone and head out the door.

Online advertising continues to mature and has begun to see the next phase of platforms built on sophisticated technologies and innovative ideas. Aside from Microsoft working on targeting ads based on behavior across three screens, the online ad industry recently reached a tipping point.

By a "tipping point" I mean visionaries like DataXu CEO Mike Baker, who started mobile ad network Enpocket sold to Nokia, or Paypal and Slide Co-founder Max Levchin, who sold one company to eBay and the other to Google, moving on to create the next generation of ad and social media platforms. Then there's Jeff Keni Pulver, co-founder of Vonage and founder of #140conf. These visionaries, along with others, push the industry forward.

Another reason, consumers have begun to tap a variety of mediums for information. Forrester Research continues to monitor the amount of money consumers spend on the Internet, as use continues to grow in similar rates to connection speeds and options for connecting outside the home. A study released this week points to different age groups and the way each relies on the Internet for information. With age comes a more functional use of the Internet, according to the study.

The Forrester charts below provides insight.

Forrester 

Brands like ESPN have managed to build a cross-channel media strategy to keep up with consumers who do the same. Forrester notes that cross-channel behavior isn't limited Gen Y, and that cross-channel use of media for those who watch the Food Network seems highest among boomers and seniors.

The growth of search and social network has influenced other online behaviors and the way consumers gain access to information across PC, mobile and TV devices.

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