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Search Retargeting vs. Site Retargeting: Which Is Better?

Search Retargeting vs. Site Retargeting: Which Is Better?

According to a recent report from Chango, almost two-thirds (just over 65 percent) of surveyed brand marketers and related agencies intent to increase their Retargeting budgets over the next six months. The results from this study reveal pretty clearly that Search Retargeting is making waves in the web marketing community. As a result, smart web marketers are making the immediate shift necessary to stay competitive.

Search Retargeting

Most customers use search engines such as Google and Yahoo to find companies that offer the goods and services they need. When a user performs this type of online search, he or she is already looking for something specific: a vendor who offers particular goods or services. Search Retargeting can help direct these types of customers to your site.

Through this tactic, you are able to engage users who did not know about your site, but are looking for what you have to offer. For example, if you sell calcium supplements, Search Retargeting can attract customers who are looking for those supplements. What you are doing at this point is targeting purchase intent. If your site demonstrates that you have high quality products or expertise in a particular area, these customers are likely to buy from you.

Building the Campaign Structure

When it comes to building a successful Search Retargeting campaign, you need to have a solid grasp on what makes things tick. For instance, Search Retargeting relies heavily on a healthy combination of data and media. For instance, data gives valuable insight as how to approach the retargeting campaign, while media is simply the avenue where the display ads exist. Each of these elements have to work in perfect harmony with one another, or you’ll end up wasting lots of time and resources on a campaign that wont produce any tangible results.

Site Retargeting

Site Retargeting is another online marketing technique that many businesses incorporate into their online marketing strategy. Through this approach, window shoppers are converted into buyers and prospects into customers. Most of the time, only 2 percent of people become buyers the first time they visit a site; the other 98 percent are converted into customers after effective Site Retargeting.

The aim of Site Retargeting is engaging prospects who know about your site but have not yet become clients. Site Retargeting deals with known prospects with unknown purchase intentions while Search Retargeting deals with unknown customers and known purchase intentions.

The basic tenet of Site Retargeting is using ads to remind customers about your business after they leave your site. This might not work the first time the customer sees the ad, but it will eventually cause him or her to consider becoming a customer in your site. You need to know the right way to go about Site Retargeting in order to avoid angering or offending prospects.

Tagging Pages Relevant to the Conversion Process

In Site Retargeting, pixels are used to place small pieces of code in a website. These pieces of code place cookies in the user’s browser when he or she visits your site.

A common mistake that many website owners make is to place cookies in every page of their website. Cookies should only be used to tag relevant pages for conversion. These include download pages, shopping carts, coupons and products. When irrelevant pages are tagged, the user keeps getting numerous, pointless ads. This can cause prospects to become aggravated or to feel like you’re invading their privacy, neither of which is good for your reputation.

Using the Latest and Most Innovative Retargeting Tactic

Site Retargeting’s popularity has grown in recent years. People who use the most modern techniques tend to be more successful than those who rely on traditional Site Retargeting techniques from several years ago. This field is fast-changing, requiring businesses to always use the most up to date and popular tactics.

Currently, Programmatic Site Retargeting, or PSR, is the most popular technique. PSR depends on many more data points than traditional Site Retargeting. It focuses on:

  • Time spent on the site
  • Pages visited
  • Keywords searched before coming to the site
  • Values outcomes, such as photos or videos watched

These four crucial parameters (among many others) help decipher a visitor’s value to the company as well as determine how many times each visitor should receive targeted advertisements. For this reason, PSR is extremely helpful for building a Site Retargeting campaign.


Relying only on Site Retargeting or Search Retargeting will block your business from realizing its full potential. Search Retargeting helps you acquire new customers while Site Retargeting help you convert prospects into customers. These two disciplines combined are vital to your marketing efforts. Neither of the two strategies is better than the other; which strategy to use at any given time depends on your business’ needs. Learn to use both strategies to maximize your business’ profit.

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Ben Plomion

VP, Marketing & Partnerships, Chango
Expert in Programmatic Marketing
Ben is VP of Marketing & Partnerships at Chango, where he heads up marketing and is also responsible for expanding the company's data and media partnerships. Prior to joining Chango, Ben worked with GE Capital for four years to establish ...