Search Retargeting Arrives on Facebook’s Advertising Exchange

fbx-search-retargeting-likeSearch marketers got some exciting news in December. Search retargeting became available to marketers wishing to serve ads to 1 billion global users in Facebook’s advertising exchange, FBX.

Now the same tactics that make SEM uniquely effective at capturing a user’s intent can now be deployed on Facebook. Let’s take a quick look at what the Facebook announcement on search retargeting means.

This story really begins back in June 2012, when Facebook launched FBX. FBX, a real-time bidding exchange, was an important breakthrough for display marketers for a simple reason. It opened up Facebook’s massive display real estate to advertisers who have grown to love the precise targeting that’s possible when you can bid on each display impression based on a user’s online behavior.

But it wasn’t until December that the story really became relevant for search marketers. Until then marketers couldn’t directly target an audience on Facebook based on the searches they do within Facebook. They can now work with an FBX Partner (Disclosure: I work at Chango, which is an FBX partner) that identifies their target audience based on their recent searches on Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

Most people still think of retargeting as site retargeting, the practice of targeting users who have already visited your site in the hopes of getting them to come back and perform an action. But search retargeting is entirely different.

Search retargeting can target users with display ads based on keywords they’ve entered into Google and other search engines. It doesn’t matter if they’ve never heard of your company or product. All that matters is that they’ve searched for your campaign’s keywords and then browsed to other sites with display inventory.

Getting started with search retargeting on FBX is easy. Facebook has granted FBX access to a small but growing list of partner vendors. You’ll need to work with a vendor that has the data necessary to target your audience based on their recent searches on Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

Most search retargeting campaigns begin with keywords already being used in a PPC campaign. And just as with a PPC campaign, search retargeting is optimized at the level of the individual keyword. You bid for those keywords in a real-time exchange, just as you would in a traditional SEM campaign.

The big difference?

With search retargeting, you can get keywords at a fraction of the price you’ll pay on AdWords. And, at a moment when more and more small companies are getting priced out AdWords, that’s no small thing.

Once you’ve got a partner and have determined the keywords you’re targeting, you’ll be set, but remember that geo-targeting is also a possibility on some partner platforms. You can also consider time of day targeting, and other options that have become popular for optimizing display campaigns.

Search retargeting is a great new tool for search engine marketers. It was an exciting trend even before Facebook added it to FBX. But FBX and search retargeting together could be a real game changer.

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