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What is Search Retargeting?

Search retargeting

AdWords campaigns just got a whole lot more interesting. Imagine being able to run a search campaign and display retargeting ads just to those that click on your link? Enter a new marketing strategy called search retargeting.

Search retargeting allows you to show banner ads to potential customers based on their keyword searches in Google. Take this easy example: when someone searches “Tips to make curly hair shiny” in Google, Pantene Pro-V can show curly hair shampoo ads just to those that click on that article.

Read on to find out how it works.

How to set up a search retargeting campaign

The two key components you will need to set up a campaign are an active Google AdWords campaign, and a RetargetLinks account.

Once you have both, follow these steps below to implement the retargeting component of the campaign:

  1. Edit the campaign by clicking the edit/pen icon as shown here.
    AdWords Campaign
    To insert a retarget link in your Google AdWords campaign, click the edit button as shown above.

    In this case, we are using Dave Knox’s campaign for his new book on Corporate Venture “Predicting The Turn”. The ad points to the Amazon store where the book is sold.

  2. Once you are in the ads dashboard, click on “Ad URL Options” (Advanced) to insert a retargeting link. Remember, you can generate a retargeting link within your RetargetLinks dashboard.
Search retargeting
Click on “Ad URL” to insert your retargeting link in the short URL field.

In this case, we inserted the retargeting link: re.tc/amazon-dave-knox-predicting-the-turn.

Note one rule to remember: The domain name that appears in the ad (https://www.amazon.com/dave-knox/predicting-turn) must be the same as the destination domain name of the short link.

In this case (shown below), the domain names are both Amazon so the test will succeed.

search retargeting
Make sure the domain name of the AdWords ad is the same as the domain used to generate your short link (shown above).

Combining “content” with “search retargeting”

AdWords ads appear at the top of a search result and typically direct readers to a brand’s website. Search “Google AdWords” and no doubt you’ll see an ad to take you to a Google landing page.

But what if the search results show an ad that takes readers to educational third-party content instead? We know you are probably wondering why you would spend your AdWords budget to send traffic to places other than your site.

Our logic is simple. Since non-sales content is clicked on 10-20 times more often than ad content, you have a much greater opportunity to display ads to your target audience through content search retargeting. (Here’s the math: a RetargetLinks campaign shows 15 ads per click x 10-20 times the clicks = 150-300 more retargeted ads shown based on direct customer intent/interest.)

In the case of Dave Knox’s book campaign, we searched for content that we thought the readers of his book would be interested in. The list we came up with is:

Corporate Venture Capital is on the Rise” – in Forbes

Corporate VCs invest $1.8 billion in 2017” – in The Wall Street Journal

8 Make or Break Rules for Corporate Innovation” – in Fortune

We chose to test our strategy using the article in Forbe. As shown below, Dave places a link to a Forbes article in his AdWords campaign.

Place the retargeting link in the short URL field of the Ad URL options, shown here.

Through his campaign, Dave Knox enticed readers to click on an article from a trusted source (Forbes) and then was able to display targeted ads to those that clicked (shown below).

retargeted ads
Dave Knox’s retargeting ad creative showcasing his book.

So what kind of results are we talking about?

According to the publisher, sales for the print and Kindle books increased by 50% during the month the campaign ran.

Check out the numbers in more detail:

content retargeting, campaign results
Conversions increased by 50% by using RetargetLinks in Google AdWords.

As you can see, Dave saw an +80% increase in display clicks to landing page by displaying 15 ads for each click on a retargeting AdWords campaign. Combine that with third-party content, the increase in paid traffic was +650%.

Even more impressive, when the third-party link mentions the brand in their article, results are even higher. RetargetLinks customers have seen up to +1,000% increase in paid traffic and +80% increase in conversions when this occurs.

Key takeaway: content + search + retargeting = WIN!

Search retargeting is the happy marriage of ad retargeting and AdWords campaigns. Use your RetargetLinks account to create short links that can be added to your AdWords URL, and then start displaying ads to anyone who clicks on your link. Add third-party content to your campaign approach to see even greater results.

Happy advertising!

Alana is the Head of Marketing at RetargetLinks.