How To Use Search Retargeting Data For Site Retargeting

Retargeting Campaigns Walk Hand-in-Hand

Sometimes the devil is in the details. That’s definitely the case with search data and search retargeting.

Search data is the basis of search retargeting. But it is also the intersection of search and display. At that intersection is site targeting, and this detail is often overlooked.

Above all targeting strategies, site retargeting goes hand-in-hand with search retargeting. Search data captures users who may have not visited an advertiser’s site but have expressed interest in a brand or service.

Site retargeting captures users that have visited a brand’s website, therefore, also signaling intent through online actions.

Let’s explore how search data can be used to increase the personalization and efficacy of site retargeting.

Make Site Retargeting Creative Unique With Search Retargeting Data

Brands need to make site retargeting creative unique with search retargeting data. The most straightforward use of search data to bolster site retargeting creative is to include the term that the user searched for in the creative. In an ideal world, the site-retargeting pixel will gather category level information from the page.

For example, if a user visits Best Buy’s TV & Home Theater section and then leaves the page, the data trail that shows the user visited the TV & Home Theater section should be readable in the pixel, as opposed to just

This obviously helps with site retargeting, since the creative can dynamically display products pulled from the TV & Home Theater section to the user when they’re browsing the Internet.

Let’s look at another example. What if we knew the search term the user entered? We could then tailor the ad not only to the specific product category, but also put in a very strong call to action.

With site retargeting that includes search data, instead of having a Best Buy ad that just showed TVs, it might capitalize on the fact that the user searched for “50 inch plasma,” and the creative might have the text “Looking for a 50 inch plasma? Click here for deals!” in addition to the product listing.

This enables display ads to take the shape of search in terms of personalization while maintaining the creative opportunities of display advertising.

Tailor Product Feeds Using Search Data To Capitalize On Brand Preference

To take it one step further, what if we wanted to actually change the products being displayed in the creative feed by using the user’s search data?

Using the above example, a user has visited the TV & Home Theater section of Best Buy’s site. Therefore, a site retargeting campaign is going to show ads that include products from that section on the site.

If the data shows that this particular user recently searched for “Sony TV.” It would make sense then to filter the product listings to only include Sony TVs, or perhaps a close competitor. Instead of just showing a generic product feed of TVs, we can customize the product listings to match the user’s existing brand affinity and therefore push them down the funnel.

Compensate For Lack Of Detail In Site Retargeting Pixel

Focusing on these details will compensate for other holes in the data set. For example, what if we aren’t able to get the valuable product-level data that we assumed we had in the previous examples? We can use search retargeting data not as an enhancement to the product feed (as we did above), but as the basis for it.

If we’re running a site retargeting campaign without insight into the category pages that the user has visited, we’re taking a shot in the dark if we include a product feed since we don’t know what the user is actually interested in. However, if we include the user’s search data in the campaign, we can match the search to a product category.

For example, a user has visited Best Buy’s site and then left, and that’s all we know about their interaction on the site. However, we look at that same user’s search history and see that they’ve been searching for TVs. Therefore, we know to call Best Buy’s TV product feed, and show “TVs” in the dynamic creative.

Search data provides detail into what search term the consumer preformed, and site retargeting enables advertisers to see which pages within a site the consumer visited. These two strategies work together because one drives customer acquisitions the other drives retention.

With the retargeting duo working in tandem, marketers can achieve a higher level of ad personalization, serving up ads that tailor specific messages to consumers based on search and site activity. Next time you’re planning your digital campaign, remember which targeting strategies go hand-in-hand.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Display | Search & Display


About The Author: is Director of Product Management at Magneticand is responsible for the strategic direction and innovation for Magnetic's product offerings.

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  • tarekreda

    Thanks for the insightful post.
    Really tackles the “why” but I would like to know more about the “how”. Is there a tool that would combine data from search and site and serve ads accordingly?

  • Dax Hamman

    Hi Tarekreda – good question. Most site retargeting options and vendors dont provide this as they simply dont have the type of data Aaron is referring to. So there are tools but it would mean working with someone like Magnetic (where Aaron works) or Chango (where I work). I suspect that some other tools will catch up in the future, but a tool like Google Remarketing is too ‘simple’ I feel to move in this direction.

  • Aaron Doades

    Hi Tarekreda – Dax beat me to it! Couldn’t have said it better myself :)


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