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Search Retargeting: Delivering Bargains For Search Marketers In High CPC Verticals

Coupons, Rebates, Daily Deals…it seems everyone is looking for a bargain. But for search marketers, bargains in paid search can be hard to find. CPC prices continue to rise, making it harder and harder for them to expand search campaigns and achieve their goals. However, search retargeting can offer search marketers a bargain. Let’s take a look at how.

What Is Search Retargeting?

Search retargeting brings together the best of search marketing and online display. It offers marketers the precision and efficiency of search and the reach and branding power of display.

Quite simply, it allows marketers to take their existing search keyword lists and leverage them for display ads to target consumers who have already shown interest in their products or services through search. But it does so far beyond the SERP. The beauty of search retargeting is that it enables marketers to target users as they visit various sites on the Internet after they perform a search.

In other words, it gives marketers another shot to create awareness with those customers who initially searched on their targeted terms. This is key because paid search campaigns typically only yield a 3-5% click-through rate. However, search retargeting gives marketers a second chance to reach that other 95-97%.

How Search Retargeting Delivers Bargains for Search Marketers

Search retargeting offers search marketers numerous benefits, including reach, control, and transparency. And for many terms and verticals, search retargeting also provides the benefit of considerable cost savings.

This is good news for many search marketers who are frustrated by high CPC prices and/or low inventory for their most effective terms.

A quick glance at the below table demonstrates how search retargeting can help combat CPC inflation. The table shows some representative keywords in expensive verticals, along with “approximate CPCs” that Google shows in their keyword tool, and the actual eCPCs (most are bid on a CPM basis) achieved for these keywords with search retargeting. Clearly, the savings can be significant.

With that said, marketers should be mindful that their potential for cost savings with search retargeting will vary by vertical category, and can be driven by the click-through-rate of the creative.

In general, marketers will derive the biggest cost-savings from verticals with the highest search CPC costs. For example, each of the verticals in the table represents excellent opportunities for search marketers to expand click volume at lower CPC costs.



Approximate CPC per Google

Search Retargeting CPC





car dealers













online school



business school






online university



online education



online degree




















health plans



health coverage



life insurance



health insurance




injury attorney






divorce lawyer






business law







Search retargeting eCPC data is based on actual performance of those terms on Simpli.fi’s platform in October and November, 2011.

5 Tips to Get Started With Search Retargeting

Are you ready to give search retargeting a try? Below are five tips to help you get started:

  1. Start High. Not sure where to begin? Start with your verticals that have the highest CPCs. Doing so will provide you with the greatest opportunity to lower CPC costs. As noted in the table above, verticals like insurance, financial services, legal, and online education are a great place to start.
  2. Go Broad. Start out with a broad list of keywords, and include top of the funnel “category” terms that may be too expensive in search. In addition, be sure to include branded terms, and competitive terms. Fortunately, search retargeting allows you to see how each individual keyword performs, so you’ll be able to refine your list and quickly weed out poor performers.
  3. Carefully Optimize. Once you have started to see some volume, optimize the individual keyword bids and other campaign settings. This can be done manually or automatically through your DSP’s optimization algorithms. Quite often, the initial CPC for a campaign can significantly be improved from its starting point by optimizing the campaign against the keywords used, the sites on which the banners are displayed, the time of day, and various other factors.
  4. Measure Search. Search retargeting can boost your organic and paid search efforts so be sure to measure its impact on those channels. Remember, each click delivered from search retargeting also provides your company with considerable brand awareness as hundreds to thousands of banners representing your brand are displayed to users who have recently searched on your targeted terms.
  5. Test Creative. Be sure to test your creative. Try multiple display creatives with different calls to actions, images, and landing pages. What best resonates with your display audience could differ considerably from your search audience.

As any bargain shopper will tell you, the deals are out there, you just have to look for them. And that’s exactly the case with search retargeting. Because it offers marketers more available inventory and less advertiser competition, it can help to lower CPC prices and boost ROI. In short, it could be just the bargain search marketers are looking for!

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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