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Ad Gab: Search Retargeting

February 03, 2021

Ad Gab: Search Retargeting
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Today's Ad Gab topic is all about search retargeting. Host Ryan Alford and co-host Josh hill dissect what search retargeting is and the best ways to utilize it in your strategy.

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Today's Ad Gab topic is all about search retargeting. Host Ryan Alford and co-host Josh hill dissect what search retargeting is and the best ways to utilize it in your strategy. 

In this bonus episode on The Radcast, Ryan and Josh first address what search retargeting is and why it's worth your time. They also share the benefits of having relevant keywords and ensuring your creative matches the overall brand.

If you enjoyed this bonus episode of Ad Gab, leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe and share the word if you love The Radcast, so we can keep giving you the strategies to achieve radical marketing results! You can follow us on Instagram @the.rad.cast | @radical_results | @ryanalford | @joshchill 

We'll talk to you soon! #theradcast #radicalmarketingresults 


Recorded Voice[00:00:05]You're listening to the Rad Cast, if it's radical. We cover it. Here's your host, Ryan Alford.”

Ryan Alford[00:00:14]Hey, guys, what's up? Welcome to the latest edition of the Radcast Ad Gab edition. I am joined, as always, by our digital media manager here at Radical, Josh. What's up, Josh? How's it going? I always feel like it's a mouthful. Yeah, your title. You know, just call me the founder or whatever, and you're like, do you have like 17 acronyms, you know.  

Josh Hill[00:00:38]Digital marketing guy, numbers reporting analyst. 

Ryan Alford[00:00:43]I’m like going through my head. All right. Okay. No, but good to have you, man. And I'm kind of excited about today's topic. 

Josh Hill[00:00:51]Me too. This is some techie stuff. 

Ryan Alford[00:00:53]I know it's a techie and it's always been at the forefront of my mind as far as the wonderful nature of digital marketing and its potential. I always thought, you know, the beauty of digital marketing has always been the ability to target, you know, versus mass media. You know, mass media, you throw up a billboard, throw up a TV spot, you know. Yeah, with cable, you can sort of target interest. But the fundamental wonder of digital media has been the targeting abilities, especially social media platforms that come along. The ad platforms. You can target interest, likes, all those things. But the holy grail of it has always been searching. Yeah, because you've got people that are raising their hand. And so that search data has always been a little bit behind the largest of walled gardens. Yeah. Be it Google, Yahoo, wherever. And let's be honest here, Google is the big player. So I have always been fascinated by how you leverage the hand razors. And so I think that's what's got me excited about our topic today. Search retargeting. 

Josh Hill[00:02:07]Yes, absolutely. It's so hard to find. The cross-channel stuff is just so hard and getting out of those sandboxes of Google's playground. 

Ryan Alford[00:02:19]Exactly. And so, you know, the search retargeting sounds potentially complicated, depending on where you are with your marketing and digital marketing language. Like what exactly does that mean? But on its surface, though, the challenge with digital marketing and any marketing is you want when you spend your ad dollars to target people that are in the market. But there's been ways at getting some of that intent that's been some of those signals that are out there and then build those. So you've got intent audiences. But the highest intent, the surest intent is always like when someone identifies themselves as being in the market. So, for instance, you know, we don't really do car advertising here. We don't work with dealerships or anything. But if you do a Google search for ‘Ford Mustangs for sale’, there's a good chance you're in the market for a Ford Mustang, or someone you know is. Maybe it's your daughter or son. You know, if it's 1990. I'm not sure Ford Mustangs are still cool like they were when I was growing up. But again, you get that signal because someone's going and they're conducting a behavior beyond just an interest-based behavior. They're signaling that they're in the market. 

Josh Hill[00:03:57]Yeah. And reaching those people. It's so difficult because it's hard to differentiate yourself from people who are just big Ford fans versus people who might work at a Ford dealership and they're not going to buy a car. They're working there. So they're researching Ford, keeping up the day on the news and stuff like that. So they're just thrown into the audience and it's not clean. 

Ryan Alford[00:04:17]. Yeah, exactly. And so to date, though, there's really only been two ways. There have been other things that have marketed themselves this way. But I think historically, though, there are two ways. SEO, yes. Working on your content, on your site so that you rank higher. And let's just stick to Google here. I'm sorry, Yahoo! I'm sorry Bing but let's just use Google. But for the blanket. When it covers 75 -90% of the market, we're just going to call it Googling and just admit that they've become the mandate of search. So there's been two ways. Get your SEO in order with content so that you rank on those keywords so that when people do those searches and they raise their hand, you are at the top of the organic listing. And then to pay per click. 

Josh Hill[00:05:13]Yes. Which is the search ads. You're paying to be up there and that gets expensive, like really fast. And then it's not always effective because you might just, depending on how your campaigns are set up, you might be paying over and over for someone to go somewhere else and buy it.  

Ryan Alford[00:05:30]Exactly. You know, I see a different data figure all the time, but universally it's somewhere around 50 percent of people kind of know it's an ad. Yeah, it says ‘ad’ next to it. Google's gotten pretty good about hiding it. You know, like if you're just in a hurry, you might jump on it. Or if you just, like, screw it, I'll you know, some people just do it because they know that people are paying for nothing. But somewhere around half the people won't click the ad. Yeah. So they're skimming over that to go to the organic listings. So, historically, you've had those two ways to get the hand-raisers. You pay the fee with Google, which is a keyword, pay per click listings ad so that you get to the top, it gets expensive, it's highly competitive. Or, SEO and SEO practice. We're not pooh-poohing that. We still think that's a good practice from digital marketing. You should be building up your SEO, getting that organic listing as fast as you can, but it takes time. And thus if you’re a new company or you're in a highly competitive field, that's just always a moving target. So today you've had those two ways with which to go after those high intent audiences. And what we've introduced here, working with some data partners that we have, is an ability to do search retargeting. I think you're going to start to see more and more as you get out there. But this is definitely, I would say, in the last 12 to 18 months, become not mainstream. But you're starting to see a few players in this with the ability with which to target people. And so, Josh, let's explain to everyone kind of at its core what search retargeting means.  

Josh Hill[00:07:18]Yeah. So what you start off with is an SEM. You build your keyword list. And from there, we collect searches from those keywords. So people who are searching on Google, people who are searching on websites, people who are searching for a specific brand, either on a search engine or like a search widget on a site. Those people are going to be kind of targeted with these if they matched up the keywords with this audience. So that enables you to reach that data through social media, programmatic display, and some OTT stuff. This kind of expands you to use visuals for targeting those people as opposed to strictly words where people know it's a search ad and again, they're not going to click on it. 

Ryan Alford[00:08:08]Exactly. So, they've done a search for 'Ford Mustang for Sale’. They've done a search for that. And instead of potentially paying for a pay-per-click ad, if you run these campaigns through, you can retarget people that have done that hand-raising. Rear time might be the wrong word. But the same day, sometimes, depending on the campaign, we can get data the same day for those searches so that you're serving relevant content to someone. So you're not, you know, sending someone who's searching for a Ford Mustang, you're selling them jet skis. You know, like, yeah, they might be interested in it. But it's at least a relevant ad to something they've searched for. And, so that when they're scrolling through their Facebook feed, it's going through ESPN.com or wherever they may have a display ad, they're getting that same content with which they have searched for within a relatively short period of time, correct? 

Josh Hill[00:09:14]Yeah. And then it helps you. It definitely helps you to not waste money, just annoying people who are researching but not in the market. We all know what that's like, where we're like ‘I'm just looking’. It's like the virtual store assistant goes like ‘can I help you buy anything?’ 

Ryan Alford[00:09:30]Exactly. And so, you've got more, instead of just a single channel of a pay-per-click ad you kind of get, you're serving up relevant advertising to something that they’re already shopping for, they've raised their hand. And really, that's always been kind of, the holy grail of what you want is a digital marketer. You know you want someone that's interested in a product or service that you have. But the biggest and best thing is knowing that they have high intent and are in the market now.  

Josh Hill[00:10:12]Yes. And again, most decisions are being made at that lower funnel like they're going to need probably multiple touchpoints before they actually get there. That's kind of why we talk about frequency so often and over and over again because we need the frequency for you guys to get ingrained. They have all kinds of research out there, like maybe a t-shirt online. Someone will need to look at it three times before they actually purchase it. But like a car, it can be in the hundreds of times they need to look at that car and look at it, the listing on the dealership website, or something probably like 50 times before they actually call them up and even show up to test drive it. So being able to get out of those gardens and kind of reach across to different playgrounds, it's way more effective and way more effective at getting like the reach and also kind of reaching those people and saying, ‘hey, we've got the product and service you're looking for. Like I know you're looking at other places, but please consider us.’ 

Ryan Alford[00:11:15]And, you know, as far as the application goes, I mean, think about it, we work with a lot of banking clients. We try to work with textiles and fabric. We've both got D2C and B2B. When you think about the application, you think if someone’s searching for a car loan, if someone’s searching for an insurance provider. Again, you've got real intent, you've got a specific product or service that you might be offering, and to be able to hit those hand-raisers, it really has dynamic capability across a lot of industries because search is used for B2B, B2C, E-commerce, almost every industry. It has applications for just about anything. 

Josh Hill[00:12:03]Yeah. And it's so cool because you can almost retarget other people's retargeting. So they might not even see your service, but like you might be the perfect service for what they're looking for, but they might never find you on the search engines. But if you catch them in the audience, like, that's the perfect opportunity for you to finally make that connection and establish that relationship, 

Ryan Alford[00:12:26]Any best practices in the creative or nuance that you would recommend when building or thinking about the creative that would support this type of campaign approach? 

Josh Hill[00:12:37]Definitely. I think if you're kind of like a product-based person, you want to be pushing the product. Let them know, like how fast you work, how quickly, with the messaging. You're getting these low funnel people and they might not have heard of you before, but this is not the time to get your Super Bowl branding commercial targeted at them. You need to be going after the kind of lower intent messaging like ‘we can provide this within this time frame; or ‘we can get to you at this price’ or like ‘our products are better than competitors because of this’ or ‘our service is better’. That's when you really want to go in for that sale. 

Ryan Alford[00:13:13]And, you know, everyone listening, you've been dying, you know, and we preach all the time to our clients, patience. Hey, you got to build the funnel, you've got to build the awareness, talk about the problem that you're solving all that. Well, this is your opportunity. We're bringing them in at the middle to the bottom of the funnel. This is the time to move all the chips in. 

Josh Hill[00:13:40]This is when you can be sure and just get to the point. 

Ryan Alford[00:13:42]Yeah, they're already looking for it. Yeah. So, you know, they're looking for those boots. You just got to tell them why your boot’s right. 

Josh Hill[00:13:49]Now, you're not sitting and sipping coffee in the morning. You're taking the shot of espresso and moving on. 

Ryan Alford[00:13:55]Exactly. So again, to kind of recap tremendous opportunity here with search retargeting, building keyword lists, much like you would do for SEM or SEO, where you're building keywords that are relevant to your product or service, for just about any industry. And you want to get those high intent keywords. So, you know, if it's something that you want, like something like if someone's looking for an online store for <insert product here>. That's usually a high intent type keyword because they're looking for somewhere to shop and that's what we want. You want to really base it on those keywords and optimize what those are. And what we'll do with the campaign is then optimize accordingly based on which ones are driving the most behavior. Yeah, and so, again, keyword lists and then having the right creative, that really aligns with driving action immediately for why to buy today.

 Josh Hill[00:15:00]Exactly. You're getting the direct content with the keywords, direct message kind of takes care of itself. It's complex but so simple at the same time. 

Ryan Alford[00:15:14]Exactly. And in our business, we're always looking for what's new and latest and greatest in our ability. And it's some ways things change quickly, but the opportunities for new platforms, new ways of targeting aren't necessarily overnight. So when something like this comes along, we thought it was key that we bring it up. Any other final thoughts? 

Josh Hill[00:15:34]I think we covered everything we've got. 

Ryan Alford[00:15:37]Cool. Well, there's your fifteen-minute ad grab on search retargeting. If we can help you with that, you know where to find us. radical.company or just ping us through the Rad Cast and we'll see you next time. Thanks, Josh. 

“Yo guys, what's up? Ryan Alford here. Thanks so much for listening. Really appreciate it. But do us a favor. If you've been enjoying the Radcast, you need to share the word with a friend or anyone else. We really appreciate it. And give us a review at Apple or Spotify. Do us a solid, tell more people, leave us some reviews. And hey, here's the best news of all. If you want to work with me to check with you, to get your business kicking ass and you want Radical or myself involved, you can text me directly at 8647293680. Don't wait another minute. Let's get your business going. 8647293680. We'll see you next time.”