Search & Display explores the intersection of traditional display media with search advertising and how online advertisers can leverage targeted keyword advertising alongside a branded display campaign to achieve greater lift, maximize click-through rates, conversion and engagement metrics. We’ll explore best practices and tactics for re-targeting, as well as share insightful data and meaningful case studies to help you navigate through the challenging, converging world of search and display.

How Facebook Exchange (FBX) Can Help Search Marketers Improve Reach & Performance

Since its launch a few months back, the Facebook Exchange (aka FBX) has created lots of buzz amongst companies involved in Real Time Bidding (RTB). While much of the initial discussion about FBX was centered around low-funnel tactics such as site retargeting, more companies (including my company, are now complementing site retargeting with upper funnel tactics such as search retargeting on FBX. I have written prior articles about the opportunity that search marketers have to leverage their expertise with keywords into success with real time bidding in general, and in particul [...]

What Does The Re-emergence Of Display Mean For SEM?

The ‘90s – the good old days, when the Internet was new, IPOs were easy, and $50 CPMs were normal. Unfortunately, from the height of the ‘90s we saw display CPMs crater in the post bubble pop that followed. Many predicted the demise of the “banner” ad and consequent death of display, but thankfully, things have turned around in recent years. Now, display is growing at a healthy rate. I recently attended the AppNexus Summit in New York City where Joanna O’Connell, Principal Analyst at Forrester, shared insights predicting programmatic buying revenues will continue to increase thr [...]

Would You Pass The End Of Year Digital Marketing Quiz?

[caption id="attachment_143052" align="alignright" width="300"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] 2012 has been another big year for digital. And in such a fast changing industry, how do we really expect everyone to keep up? Being ahead of the game on the topics that matter will put you head and shoulders above the competition, so take the quiz below and see how you would fare. Then check out my responses below to see if you agree – extra points for disagreeing and commenting with your own opinions. What is the difference between Search Retargeting and Site Retargeting? How/Whe [...]

The Most Common Misconception Of 2012: Display Looks Like Search

The most common misconception over the past year has been the commonly heard statement, display looks like search. While we have all heard this a number of times (albeit it might be partially true) it’s largely based on one main factor: the rise of the auction-based marketplace in display. However, there are a number of reasons why I see this reason as misleading... read on: Display Is About Audiences & Reach The growth of ad targeting has actually led to display becoming more audience-driven than ever before. Behavioral advertising and search retargeting both focus on mid to upper [...]

Reflections On Real-Time Bidding & Search Retargeting In 2012

Looking back, 2012 was a big year for both real-time bidding (RTB) as well as search retargeting. According to a recent report by eMarketer, RTB display ad spend was estimated to grow 98% in 2012 from 2011 levels. My guess is that many in our industry (me included) feel that estimate is low. As 2012 wraps up, it is a good time to take stock of what we learned and also to make observations that can carry us into 2013. Here are some of my thoughts as I think back over 2012: Real Time Bidding Is Safe For Brands As I look back over’s 10 largest campaigns for 2012, I see that 9 of [...]

Can Search Marketers Own ‘Programmatic Marketing’ & ‘Big Data’?

Let’s keep this BS free. For years now, we (as an industry) have been talking about some mythical overlap between search and display, demonstrating how both channels should be managed by the same team. The theory goes that when they are put together, we start defying the laws of math, and that 1 + 1 equals 3. The reasoning behind such an argument, in part, comes down to simple efficiencies and management fees, but also because search marketers can contribute a unique type of thinking to media because of their background in auction-based buying. I am yet to see it really be proven true. [...]

Unstructured Data Brings Search Effectiveness To Display

Music lovers are able to buy individual songs without buying the whole album. Investors are able to buy individual stocks without buying a mutual fund or ETF. Search marketers are able to bid on individual search terms without buying pre-packaged bundles of terms. Until recently, however, display marketers have been mostly confined to targeting audience segments, without the ability to identify and bid on the individual components within those audience segments. This is now changing with the advent in display advertising of targeting with unstructured data. A Perfect Pair: Unstructured Dat [...]

The Most Frequently Asked Questions In Search Retargeting

Since we first brought true Search Retargeting to the market several years ago, we have seen a shift in the questions that prospects want answers to. Two years ago, the market was fuelled by excitement and intrigue, ‘how does it work?’, ‘how much does it cost?’ and ‘how do we get started?’. But driven in part by imitators confusing buyers, the questions have become much more sophisticated, and as we continue to move along the adoption curve, this will likely continue. Beyond the basics, there are 7 questions that are most commonly asked of us: Where do you get the search [...]

Boo! Are You Unintentionally Scaring Your Customers?

Targeting in online marketing has gotten really good – scary good, in fact. Think for a moment about the level of granularity that AdWords now provides SEMs. If I wanted to, I could create a targeted campaign that only shows ads to people: In San Mateo, CA Using their iPhone Using WiFi On AT&T Online between 7:00 and 7:15PM Who have previously visited a specific page of my website Who typed in the query “Dracula costume” With all that data, I could create ad text and landing pages that might make someone wonder if I’ve hacked into their device and stolen some [...]

See You At The Voting Booth: Political Search & Display Strategies

Political ad campaigns are far from a new concept. A quick scan of The Living Room Candidate provides a look at the rich historical legacy of television ads for presidential campaigns, ranging from the earliest days of television to today's sophisticated :30 spots. Even before television spots were the norm, the DNC pioneered the use of the newfangled moving picture to produce Woodrow Wilson’s famous 1912 campaign film "The Oldway and the New." A recent article in The New York Times even explained that in ancient Rome, negative campaigning was a well-established practice through the use o [...]

How To Jump Start Display Ad Campaigns With Look-A-Likes

Advertisers will tell you that they don’t like to waste money. This is especially true heading into the holiday season. However, that is exactly what many advertisers do by not taking advantage of Look-a-like technology, which has made great advances in recent years. Look-a-likes can reduce waste, save time, and improve performance by defining highly effective targeting parameters before the first impression is even served. What Are Look-a-Likes? It is a method of profiling the behavior and actions of existing site visitors and customers (sites they visit, searches they perform, sub [...]

Search Retargeting: The Must-Have Media Tactic For Q4

As we rapidly enter the busiest period for the year for retailers, many are turning to Search Retargeting as the keystone for their digital marketing programs. Whereas in Q4 2011 many dipped a toe into the pixeled waters to test out its effectiveness, this year they have embraced it at scale. In its simplest form, Search Retargeting allows a retailer to find those individuals who have searched for a relevant term on Google, Yahoo! and Bing, but have not yet visited their site. This latter point is critical – Search Retargeting is unlike a typical retargeting or remarketing program in that [...]

Part 2: A Bird’s-Eye View Of The Search & Display Lumascapes

Welcome to Part 2 of the "A Bird’s-Eye View of the Search and Display Lumascapes." In Part 1 last month, we covered two main topics: There is no à la carte targeting data in SEM Display is not catered to the long tail My third topic is an important one; it encompasses both the defining similarities and differences in the operation and infrastructure of search and display landscapes: display looks like search. This is an extension of my last point in the previous article, which explained that display is not catered to the long tail. However, since search caters to the long tail, [...]

How Dynamic Audiences Can Maximize Display Advertising Performance

I’m often asked whether it is better to change an ad to fit an audience, or to change an audience to fit an ad. Many in the online advertising industry are familiar with the concept of dynamic creative, which customizes the content of an ad to match the interests of the user seeing the ad. Dynamic creative is used heavily in the site retargeting space, where there is a fixed audience that has been defined as a group of users who have visited the advertiser’s site. Typically the ad is customized to show the user a product that he/she has recently viewed on the advertiser’s site, [...]

The Simple Truths About Why Retargeting Is Broken

As a parental co-founder (or dad) of 3 girls, I often have to teach them hard truths for their own good – ‘no, your science experiment can’t be asking your sister to stick a fork in an outlet’, 'no, you can't marry your 8 year old boyfriend' and ‘you are absolutely not going out in that!’. Sometimes, as marketers, we also need to hear similar truths – I particularly find myself telling those about the myths of ‘retargeting’. ‘No, site retargeting is not a prospecting tool’ ‘No, using 5 simultaneous site retargeting vendors is not a good idea, even if they all thin [...]

A Birds-Eye View Of The Search & Display Lumascapes

Ah, the Display Lumascape. While I’m not an expert in Slideshare, I’m pretty sure that no other ad-tech related slide has received close to the amount of views as Terry Kawaja’s ubiquitous representation of the digital ad industry.   But despite how helpful and how many views the Display Lumascape has received, few people seem aware of the existence of Terry’s other fine piece of work: the Search Lumascape. As separate entities, the Search and Display Lumascapes are explanations of two distinct industries with different types of media channels and varying companies. H [...]

What Do Audience Segments, 8-Track Tapes & Pay Phones Have In Common?

Yup…you guessed it. Audience segments are going the way of the dinosaurs. This may not come as much of a revelation to search marketers, who wouldn’t dream of running a search campaign where they couldn’t see the performance of each individual search term and vary bids on each search term as needed. Search marketers know that the ability to optimize their search campaigns at the keyword level is an integral part of making search campaigns successful. In online display advertising, audience segments are a relic that pre-dates the real time bidding (RTB) era. Prior to real time [...]

View-Through Attribution For The Search Marketer

Ah view-through! Rarely does a topic in our industry solicit as much debate as this seemingly innocent metric. Display planners rely on it, search marketers don’t trust it (but would secretly love to get credit for it from PPC), and the clients are confused and uncertain. When 3 CMOs all asked for help on this topic within the space of a single week, I decided we needed a new resource that looked at the arguments ‘for’ and ‘against’, and so have published a new white paper on the subject: View-Through Attribution Exposed: What Last Touch Isn’t Telling You. In order to reach a [...]

How To Extend & Improve Your Retargeting Efforts

Invariably, when people get a taste of a good thing, they want more of it. This is definitely the case with online advertisers and their use of first party data in site retargeting. Site retargeting has been one of the hottest sectors in the online advertising space over the last couple of years, as advertisers with Web properties have experienced high return on their advertising spend (ROAS) by targeting ads to users who have already visited their site.  Because of the excellent performance of site retargeting, networks, advertisers, and their agencies often ask us how they can extend [...]

A Different Type Of Industry Confession – Or A Rant?

There has been a fascinating and brilliant series of secret confessions taking place over on Digiday, and everyone from a ‘startup CEO’ to a ‘junior copywriter’ has had their turn. Some have criticized what seems to be mostly negative commentary that paints a picture of everyone being unhappy, underpaid and cheating their way through the display workdays. I see it differently; I see it as the tough love this industry needs to be able to grow at our full potential, and the smart ones of us will be listening and learning. Like ‘Undercover Boss’, this is our window into what’s [...]

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