Behavioral targeting has broken off into a handful of sub-categories, including ad retargeting, where an advertiser serves ads across a network after a visit to the brand's Web site. Now 24/7 Real Media is targeting dynamic display ads based on a consumer's keyword queries and subsequent landing page visits on search engines including Google, Yahoo, and MSN, a practice called search retargeting.
Search retargeting takes aggregate search data to serve display advertising across 24/7 Real Media's Global Web Alliance network, which is comprised of over 950 sites. The practice has the ability to target more specifically than ad retargeting, which is based on a visit to an advertiser's Web site, rather than specific pages.
"Now we can target ads based on what keyword you searched on," said Brian Lesser, director of product marketing at 24/7 Real Media. "It's not a question of what category of products, but what product [a consumer] is interested in."
Since the aggregate data goes deeper than a homepage view, creative on display advertising can be adjusted based on the keyword or keyword group a user previously queried. The number of display ads is generally based on an advertiser's keyword portfolio. Display ads can target narrower product groups than ad retargeting, which is typically used for large product categories. Lesser warns that things can become unwieldy when portfolios reach in the thousands; however the system is scalable.
It is possible to target specific products rather than sub-categories, however, "depending on the client, they may not want to get too close to what somebody searched on," Lesser said.
While any advertiser can take advantage of search retargeting, the offering best serves retailers. "This makes a lot of sense for retailers who are already doing search marketing, but also retailers looking to make their banner advertising a little more effective," said Lesser. "We see a higher click-through and conversion rate on display and banner advertising when targeted based on search."
24/7 Real Media first tested search retargeting with an internal house campaign. It since began running search retargeting for clients within the U.S. and U.K. During trials, Lesser said, "You see that there is a lift when you serve banner advertising based on retargeting... for a product you know the person is searching for."
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