Taking Search Marketing to the Next Level through Post-Search® Retargeting
About The Author:Michael Benedek is President and CEO of Datonics LLC, a leading online marketplace for search, consumer purchase-intent, life-stage, and demographic data. Michael can be reached via email at [email protected]
Search marketing turns the traditional “average viewer” media model on its head by facilitating advertisers’ exclusive engagement with consumers who have searched for and therefore declared an interest in their products/services within the contextual environment of a search engine page. Despite accounting for approximately 50% of total Internet advertising spend today, search has only scratched the surface of its potential as it still remains for the most part confined to the search engine pages where consumers spend an extremely small proportion of their Internet media consumption time and remain in purchasing mode after leaving without converting.
Retargeting, the next evolution of search marketing, enables advertisers to remain engaged with consumers who recently searched for their product/service-related keywords, when those consumers are outside the search engine environment, browsing ad supported content. While Post-Search® Retargeting can produce significant return on investment when it is done well, it must be executed in a thoughtful and appropriate way. A disciplined development approach to Post-Search® retargeting strategy is critical and there are four essential steps to navigating the Post-Search® retargeting waters.
1. Put the Consumer First.
With consumers becoming increasingly aware of online advertising practices, make sure that you are thoughtful about messaging and frequency, with the goal of giving the consumer a nudge in the direction of your brand, rather than the feeling that they’re being followed. Think of it this way, would you be more likely to plan a night out next week at Rondo’s Restaurant after a) Rondo the restaurant owner runs up to you as you’re passing by the entrance, begging you to come in, telling you it’s about time you stepped inside? Or, b) Rondo compliments the bouquet of flowers you are holding and happens to mention that his restaurant offers a wonderful date night deal for couples? It’s all in the approach.
It is also important to be time sensitive. If someone searched for “sneakers” two weeks ago, it doesn’t mean that they’re still interested. If they searched for a “luxury car” on the other hand, you may have more time to engage with them..
Finally, make sure you’re tracking conversions to avoid targeting customers who have already made the commitment to your product or service.
2. Work with an Experienced Partner.
One of the reasons why Post-Search® retargeting has yet to reach its full potential is because marketers have a tendency to attempt to navigate the ever-changing terrain on their own. By aligning with an experienced partner, marketers can be confident that their campaigns are leveraging the highest quality data to bring about optimal results. Working with an experienced partner will help you avoid the pitfalls, since there is a good chance they have already corrected the inevitable rookie mistakes of the past, allowing you to tread on a safely paved road.
3. Privacy is Paramount.
When embarking on any online advertising campaign, it is vital to ensure that you’re keeping your customers’ privacy top of mind. This means staying away from targeting based on any personally identifiable or sensitive information. You also want to make sure that your Post-Search® retargeting partner collects data in a privacy-sensitive way that allows consumers to opt-out. Nothing will hurt your campaign more than negative word-of-mouth feedback from annoyed consumers.
4. Work with Baby Steps, Slowly and Deliberately.
While doing a search takes less than a second, putting together the campaign should take much more thought and effort. Since targeting is done based on keywords, it is important to ensure that all the right keywords have been programmed into the campaign. Once this foundation is in place, be sure to keep updating the campaign as new keywords and trends become relevant, as you do with traditional search engine marketing.
With any emerging marketing strategy, the first instinct is to take it to the highest reaches straight out of the gate. While Post-Search® retargeting is so effective in its ability to connect marketers with in-market consumers, there always lies the possibility of improper implementation. By following the above-mentioned four crucial steps, you will help ensure that your campaign is an effective one, and that your brand is seen as intelligent, courteous, thoughtful, and most importantly, one step ahead of the competition.