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Why SEMs Should Give Remarketing a Genuine Shot

Published: November 14, 2012

Author: Molly Shotwell

search and remarketing success
Today’s post is by Mark Bell, Director of Search Marketing at White Shark Media. Mark has over six years of experience in paid search, including positions at SearchRev and AKQA. You can read more from Mark on the White Shark blog
I like to share rewarding experiences in search marketing, and one of my favorite ones so far in 2012 has been running search and display campaigns in tandem. To say that I am impressed by the results of remarketing – appealing to your site’s previous visitors with highly targeted display ads – is most definitely an understatement. In one recently managed campaign, which served as inspiration for this post, remarketing campaigns helped boost conversions by almost 60%!
Remarketing Technology is Here to Stay
When remarketing was first launched, I was skeptical that it was going to work. But the more I thought of it and tested it out, the more convinced I was of its potential. Recapturing a portion of past engaged users from all the different traffic sources has helped some of our campaigns break the mold of being search-only campaigns – and has taken them to the next level of performance, particularly, as it refers to conversion volume. Remarketing done right produces a revenue boost from prospects who were initially interested in our product/service but did not purchase at the time.
Search and Display Campaigns Should Not be Standalone Efforts
For SEMs, the philosophical gap between paid search and display used to be substantial. Display has often been discarded and discredited by advertisers for its lack of transparency and low conversion rates. However, new reporting features offer insights as to display’s impact on search behavior. New features such as remarketing lists for search campaigns will also retarget a supremely high-intent audience: users who have previously visited your website.
Display-based campaign performance is now very granular, to the extent that we can now choose to exclude specific websites audiences, demographics, topics, and even categories. These targeting capabilities help give display almost the same user control as search.
Contextual targeting has long been the primary targeting method, but exploiting contextual targeting with other placement capabilities helps give a marketer greater control over the websites on which his text ads, display banners, or videos show.
That is just the starting point. Now, with more precise targeting capabilities available for remarketing initiatives, display and search have merged to achieve better user on-site user activity and next-level branding efforts.
Search + Remarketing = Powerful Results
In a recent case study we carried out in the e-commerce cosmetics industry, we ran search and remarketing in unison. The goal was to increase conversions from the previous year by over 20%. To achieve our goal, we decided to add remarketing to the overall marketing mix and assigned it 35% of our total SEM budget.
Search was pivotal in driving traffic to the client’s website and capturing conversions from these engaged users. Organic and paid search also helped in creating remarketing lists for visitors who did not convert initially. After we drove traffic to our site with search ads, we reached those customers again with tailored messages as they browsed the web, and we encouraged them to return to our site and convert.
The dynamic duo of search and remarketing helped boost performance tremendously. Our search campaign drove 40% of the total conversions, while our remarketing efforts helped drive 60% of the conversions.

CampaignClicksCostConversionsCost-per-ConversionBudget %

Another interesting takeaway was that remarketing efforts drove view-through-conversions (where customers saw our ad and didn’t click on it but actually purchased later on).
Just like in this case, introducing remarketing to an already-existing search marketing campaign will generally provide click and conversion volume that was previously lacking.
Display + Search = Lower Cost per Acquisition
While both paid search and remarketing are extremely important and efficient forms of online advertising in their own right, the combination of the two can reduce a client’s cost per acquisition (CPA). In our case study, when analyzed in aggregate, CPA dropped from $15 to $9.
By using this strategy, potential consumers who were already interested in our product were re-targeted. The targeting is so granular and refined that the boost in conversions helps have a positive effect on our global CPA.
Benefits from Integrating Display and Search Campaigns
– Greater traffic and conversion volume
– Reduced CPA
– More targeted and cost-effective branding
Advertisers can no longer afford to ignore the importance of incorporating robust display remarketing campaigns in conjunction with paid search efforts. So give this strategy a fair chance. I am sure the results will be worthwhile and will ultimately boost your ROI!
Mark Bell White Shark Media
– Mark Bell

25 E Washington Street
Suite 420

Chicago, IL 60602(650) 539-4124


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