Search retargeting has been part of the pay-per-click (PPC) campaign menu for some time now (2010, to be exact), but Google is putting an interesting spin on the oft-used search retargeting program – and it’s creating a good bit of chatter among the web-marketing set. With the new Search Companion from Google, you can make use of the same search-query-to-ad-trigger technology made available in a typical search retargeting program, but you’ll have access to the entire Google Display Network as part of the retargeting effort.
Search retargeting – for those who are unaware – is a brilliant and incredibly useful tool that utilizes recent search query results to trigger targeted advertising on web pages that are subsequently visited. In short, if you Google “Amazon Kindle Fire HD” and soon begin to see numbers of ads for the Kindle Fire from Amazon on the sites you typically frequent – that’s search retargeting in action. But as well as search retargeting has performed over the last few years, Google has taken it up a notch with Search Companion in Adwords.
Not satisfied with merely altering the way that search retargeting efforts are utilized and displayed, Google decided to let Search Companion change the search retargeting game in a number of other ways. First, with Google Search Companion, there are no minimums. In the past, search retargeting required advertisers to spend at least $15,000 a month to get access. Google Search Companion opens up this new technology to many more advertisers and allows for testing with minimal financial risk. Second, with Google offering Search Companion through the Adwords interface, the resulting data is expected to be much better. All previous search retargeting networks relied on third-party websites to track which keywords brought users to their sites. And, unfortunately, much of the resulting data was not true search engine data. With Search Companion from Google, the traffic data is going to be more relevant and true when it comes time to crunch the numbers and figure your return on investment (ROI).
From the client (advertiser) perspective, the Google Search Companion allows them to maximize relevant traffic from every paid search effort – for all current and past search keyword terms. This means a larger audience, more leads, and more conversions (sales) than could ever be gained from traditional search retargeting. In addition, Search Companion allows advertisers to display ads on sites like Gmail, About.com or CNN.com – but only for users who have searched for one or more of the target keywords in the past. Given that About.com ad space is much cheaper than Google.com ad space, budget is also maximized and ROI is more likely.
In the end, it can be easily stated that the time has come for a change in the way that PPC ads and search retargeting programs are developed and deployed. Given that web audiences have short attention spans, a retargeting program that truly follows searches from engine to page across a vast network of web pages, news sites, blogs, and other specialty sites is expected to return higher conversions than those that do not. In addition, Google is making search retargeting more cost-friendly to a variety of advertisers helps to level the playing field across the web.