"Cocos in Murrieta, California," my future mother-in-law typed into a Google search engine query on her mobile phone while traveling through the area from out of state. During her stay at a local hotel, she turned off her phone for the night. When she turned it back on in the morning, a message popped up on the phone's home screen asking for a restaurant review.
Mobile accounts for about 27% of search engine traffic, according to Rimm-Kaufman Group (RKG), although marketers largely still allocate dollars toward digital campaigns on desktop. Search retargeting will become one of the most widely used media in 2014, connecting brands with consumers not just in specific market searches, but for those that are partly related to the keywords or brand names. Mobile will make it probable -- and possible -- to bridge the gap between apps and search engines without using cookies.
Since my future mother-in-law didn't click on any links in the Google query, Magnetic CEO search retargeting guru James Green said: "If you searched for a restaurant on the Web on your phone and never clicked on a link, then you were retargeted by the search engine -- anything else is impossible." The message likely came from the restaurant through Google.
After searching for a hobby store, another message popped up. With the amount of searches I do, it would certainly become annoying.
One of the more interesting scenarios -- and certainly the most complicated one that Green described -- is the ability to retarget ads to consumers on the Web after they search for something in an app, or vice versa. He said it's done by associating the app-related IDs with cookies, and explained a variety of ways to accomplish the task. None of them are perfect, but some have the advantage of accuracy with less scale, while others are the reverse.
J.P. Morgan Equity Analyst Doug Anmuth, who follows the growth and decline of public
companies, believes mobile advertising will become a "very large opportunity for Criteo," partly because of its retargeting capabilities. The focus for many retargeting companies that once pulled back
consumers will become to draw in new customers, tying together the benefits from branding and direct-response campaigns.
"Person with Smartphone" photo from Shutterstock.