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How does search re-targeting work?

Many buzzwords have been doing rounds across the region and everyone is getting excited about the word ‘Re’. However, while it sounds like the marketer’s wishes have come true, re-marketing or re-targeting has been around for a long time; just under a different name. 

Re-marketing basically captures the user at a stage where he or she has dropped off from completing a designated goal on your website and you as a marketer will like to reach out to him/her again with a proposition which is more likely to result in completing the goal.

To set up search specific re-targeting; let us first illustrate how it actually works.

The following chart illustrates a usual path that we want the user to follow while navigating through a website, these can be independent pages or sections of a site

What you need to start to do is start building cookie (audience) pools of each such interaction. Imagine, these are the guys who are visiting your store and you are virtually tracking them where they are going and what they are likely to do next i.e. complete the purchase or abandon. So, what you get is something like this -

You also know, that your paid search ad is a combination of keywords including your brand terms, your product terms, category terms and competitor terms etc. You can then map these keywords across the Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action (AIDA) model.
Once you have mapped out the audiences based on where they are on your website and where they are at in the consumer purchase journey, you need to jack up your creative and sales skills. Your ultimate objective is to get the user to buy/sign up/accept something that you have to offer, but he or she did not do so. Here is what you do:

The messaging matrix can itself become very complex over a period of time. However, you get the gist of approach to take while building you re-marketing audience. So where do these ads show up, within the Google Product – your ads can be re-targeted to the audiences within the Google Display Network. There too you can further add filters of targeting options such as age, gender, behavior to ensure that you are constantly reaching out to the audience. We also notice that excessive re-marketing gets users offended thus it is important to have a frequency cap. No one wants a sales guy chasing them throughout their browsing experience.

Edited by Ankit Bhatnagar


Prabhvir Sahmey

Prabhvir Sahmey is the search and mobile director at Mindshare Singapore. With 10 years of experience in digital marketing, Sahmey has spent more than seven years in paid search and has played a critical role in integrating search as critical to every media and marketing plan as well as taking search out of the silo. Sahmey has recently established the Mindshare Center of Excellence for Search at Mindshare Singapore.