Search Retargeting Explained

There is a multitude of different companies in our world and each one is vying to get your attention. The way they usually try to do it is from what you look for in a search engine. If you’re looking for a product online a company has already gone out of its way to show you how its product is deserving of you and your wallet. Businesses can reach a wider audience by understanding search retargeting. In this article, you will learn just how helpful search retargeting is and why you should use it for your business.

how do responsive display ads use automation

How Is Search Retargeting Used?

Companies use search retargeting to reach out to a customer who has visited their website or exited the website before completing a conversion. It’s all based on keywords they’ve entered into a search bar. They’re all throughout the web and the moment you click on them, companies’ websites are alerted that someone is potentially in the market and will “target” you based on your needs and/or wants.

Google retargeting ads are very effective at this. Visitors often become customers after six visits to a website. The moment you leave a website, you may start to see ads from that company. Their goal is to convince you to purchase something within those visits if not sooner. If you browse other options through SERP it shouldn’t be all too surprising to see promotions from far-ranging companies within the topic you searched. 

How Does Search Retargeting Work?

Retargeting searches is a tactic in which you can create a custom audience of users based on their keyword search behavior. It then uses that audience in your digital advertising campaigns to serve display ads to users as they browse outside of search results.

As for display ads, there are responsive display ads (or RDAs) that will examine through automation a combination of keywords that will allow the most conversion. It will then display that ad. RDAs are a machine learning technology to test multiple inputs by advertisers and then optimize for the best-performing combination to display to an audience. It searches through different options of headlines, descriptions, images and logos to show the audience. This leads to one substantial benefit of retargeting display ads, you can decide who should be applied to your retargeting list.

Search retargeting is a type of behavioral targeting in which companies could theoretically have their advertisements appear on search engine results pages (SERPs). This includes social media sites after a user types in certain keywords. This can occur even if they’re looking at other sites. 

Say you’re looking for an “oil change.” As stated earlier, businesses are vying for your attention. They’ve most likely included keywords on their websites that search engines could potentially retarget search engine users pertaining to the topic. 

From oil changes, keywords including terms such as “prices,” “services,” and “locations” will appear. A search engine can assume you’re in the market for that service. If you happen to continue to look up these keywords, you’ll begin to see display ads showing you other services you can get from a myriad of competitive businesses in that field. 

retargeting search

What Are the Benefits of Retargeting?

Why companies usually find success from retargeting search ads is that they usually offer a hefty return on investment alongside a plethora of customizable and affordable formats. Theoretically, you could utilize a marketing automation tool that uses information from places such as Yahoo to retrieve data for a competent retargeting ad campaign. Responsive display ads use automation, too. Google Ads has what’s called keyword contextual targeting that provides a coherent and cohesive understanding of your target campaign. Through this, your work is made easier as most of the advertising will be done by the program and all you would have to do would be to provide the assets. 

With search retargeting, businesses can have their brand awareness improve almost drastically. When customers look up keywords pertaining to their topic, those keywords could direct them to a possible new company. People won’t generally need to know a company’s name or to have even clicked on their website to receive their ads. Of course, returning customers should be the goal, though there is always an untouched demographic that could benefit after having known a particular business exists. 

Of those curious customers, some will make their way to your website. You would be correct in thinking it was because you took a chance on retargeting. Ads are filtered through a customer’s intent and previous searches. Everything has a reach through online searches. 

Comparison to Traditional Advertising

A downside to traditional advertising, such as fliers, is that the ad is static. You’ll print out multiple copies of the same ad and that’s what everyone will see. Whereas for digital advertising, with help from search retargeting, no single customer will have the same experience. As ads can be customized to fill the niche of more people, instead of the limited accessibility and reach of traditional marketing. 

Google retargeting ads

How Can This Apply to Your Business?

When starting off, you may be met with an almost impulsive need to start using keywords immediately. Try holding off on exuding more than you have to at first. It’s been recommended that you start off broad and gradually make your way down to more specificity. The joy of programmatic advertising is that the work is automated, however, only if you know your targeted demographic. To find exactly what or who that target is will take patience. It’ll be better to start large and gradually narrow down your choice. Not the other way around. 

What term many future online business hopefuls should familiarize themselves with are pixel rankings. This is what correlates your visibility on SERPs and how high you’ll appear on them. Your task is to strive to get as low of a pixel ranking score as possible. The number of keywords you use could have a direct negative effect on whether you appear below the fold. The fold is the visible portion of SERP before you have to scroll down. The way you can prevent this from happening is to do your research. What writing has probably taught us is that you can get more out of saying less. The several keywords someone might use to describe their website or product could be gotten across via a phrase or a keyword that fills multiple descriptions.

What Are the Downsides of Search Retargeting?

There’s no such thing as whatever is good for you if used in excess is still good for you. Just as there are benefits to retargeting, there can also be downsides to it. For instance, it’s the main reason why people think search engines are listening to them. In a sense, it is. If you by any chance searched for something online about a topic previously and a few days afterward, start seeing ads for it, it’s because search retargeting has taken note of your previous searches. People may feel that having their information documented for future use is a breach of their privacy. 

Not having a limit on who sees what could lead to viewers being irritated by seeing the same ad twice. Or if there’s a loyal customer seeing the same basic offer that new users might come across, it could make them feel as if the company they’re loyal to doesn’t care. 

However, an issue on a much grander scale could be what tanks your customer retention. You may run the risk of overgeneralizing your audiences. Attempting to relate to the customer could come off as disingenuous and fraudulent. The last thing a person would like is an obviously mass-sent message from a company. Proper use of segmentation by acknowledging your audience’s unique traits and characteristics could help prevent such from happening. A continuation of that could also be using common, overused, contemporary jargon to give off the facade of being in the know. 

what is search retargeting

How Can SEO Design Chicago Help You?

Potential marketable keywords and phrases are coming up every day. Trying to find the right ones to promote your business could appear like an albeit lengthy, but easy process. However, if not properly prepared it could overwhelm anyone who’s just getting into the thick of it. You should not be alone when it comes to starting your business. There are many avenues that a person can go to get the ball rolling. But even then, they may not know exactly where that ball should be rolling to in the first place. At SEO Design Chicago, we have experts that can help direct where the ball should go. 


  • What is search retargeting?
  • How could search retargeting help my business?
  • What are the disadvantages of search retargeting?
  • How do you apply search retargeting?
  • What are responsive display ads?

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